Don't Push the River
One day, my father and a neighbor left for work at exactly the same time. They entered the freeway with the neighbor's car directly behind my father's. My father went with the flow of traffic, not changing lanes in a vain attempt to seek a faster route. The neighbor, however, wove in, out and through the traffic, trying to get ahead.
When my father finally left the freeway about 10 miles later, the neighbor was only one car ahead him. All that effort, stress, and extra gas had resulted in the gain of only two car lengths. Trying to maneuver to get ahead, she'd made very little progress, was frustrated in her attempts and irritated her nerves. She allowed her impatience to make a bad commute into a worse one.
Many times, when you try to compel a situation to move faster than it was designed to, you sabotage your efforts. It can even cause the circumstance to resist and push back. For instance, you can't convince someone to love, accept or approve of you. The more you try to persuade them, the more you drive them away.
The same is true of not being able to force someone to hire you. You have to let them make the decision to do so. A salesperson that pressures a potential customer to buy their product will alienate that customer. When you try to shove your will onto a situation, you get the opposite of what you want.
By trying to control conditions, you're tying up your inner resources. You're stressed by your efforts and it interferes with your innovation, creativity, the ability to listen and to make plans. It also blocks your subconscious from seeking and finding other solutions.
When I was growing up, my mother used to repeat the proverb, "Don't push the river, it flows by itself." She explained that, no matter what you did, you couldn't force the river to flow any faster. I realized she meant to not try to force events to unfold, because all you'll is to waste energy. For example, have you ever tried to will yourself to fall asleep? The more you try, the more awake you become. You have to let go and allow it to happen.
But, at the same time, you also can't just hope the river will take you where you want to go. You have to provide the right conditions to maximize your results. For example, to get to sleep more easily, you have to create a calm environment. There's a fine line between going with the flow and swimming with the current.
If you just drift, the water could crash you onto rocks, or divert you into another tributary. However, if you swim with the current, you're cooperating with the river and using its energy to propel you downstream. You're also in better control of where you go. If it tries to tangle you in brush at the bank, you're able to move away from the trees and back into the flow.
When it seems that no matter what you do, you get swept into eddies at the edge of the river or slammed onto rocks, assess your direction. Somehow, you're not working with the current and the results are telegraphing that something is amiss. You need to address some aspect of your vision, mindset or plan.
Check your vision. Is it clear enough? Does it reflect what you really want? If it's your business, do you have a product or service the public wants and needs? Have you communicated it in a way they realize its value? If you have a clear vision, then keep it in front of you every day.
Check your mindset. Do you believe your dream is attainable? Are you inspired to work towards your vision? Do you feel like you deserve what you're seeking? If your mindset supports your vision, stay focused on where you want to go.
Check your plan. Do you have a step by step plan? Is it right for you? Is it taking you in the direction of your vision? Are you working it every day? If your plan is on track, make sure you're taking consistent actions to keep you moving forward.
If you're constantly frustrated with your progress, take a step back and consider. Are you trying to push the river to make it go faster? If so, you're just wasting energy. Other elements may need to develop before you can get into the center of the channel. Be patient and persistent. When these three key items are aligned, you'll be in the flow and swimming with the current.
Copyright © 2009-2021 Linda Ann Stewart
As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to gain clarity, focus, and get back in control so they're able to accelerate to the next level of their business. Watch her FREE training video on Set Your Course to Success: 4 steps to strategically achieve your goals with confidence and ease. Register for the video and accompanying action planning guide at www.SetYourCourseGuide.com. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.
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