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Check in with yourself

Check in with yourself

Posted on 03. Jun, 2010 by gilly in Coach's Wisdom

Can you think of a situation, in recent weeks, where you needed to make an on-the-spot-decision? Where you were suddenly stuck and possibly uncomfortable? You know, that tugging sensation of arrrghhh, what do I do here? Or even: arrrghhh, someone, please, just…tell me what to do? I’m not talking about life or death decisions necessarily, though sometimes the outcome of an in-the-minute choice can be life altering.

So how do you get past it?

Time to share a trick I learned from my wise friend Judy.

The first time I saw her do this was when she co-led a group of 22 people, in the context of a very unique leadership training. The formal trainers had, as they often did during this 4-week-training program, surrendered their “leader chairs” to us (the participants) and we had to work with that, lead in rotation and basically draw on our own leadership/facilitation skills, common sense, intuition and initiative.

At a particularly messy moment (that’s code for: the group has lost the plot, there is no clear sense of where the group exercise is headed, something might happen or things may careen and everyone will lose motivation and disengage completely), as Judy was tossed an idea of how we might proceed as a group, she suddenly put one hand over her eyes, elegantly raised the other for a little silence, and simply said “hold on a sec’ please, I’m just checking in with myself.”

Little did she know then, that these words would go down in our group’s lore forever.

We all waited for 5 pregnant seconds and then she smiled (beamed, in fact), stood up, and led us into an impromptu exercise that totally shifted the mood and restored everyone’s enthusiasm, instantaneously. Magic, really.

What she did, specifically, is irrelevant now.

What’s important is that Judy knew (as in: had a deep sense of self-trust) she had an answer, and certainly the resources to handle anything, even if she didn’t know WHAT it was exactly she was looking for. By “checking in with herself” Judy consulted her intuition, listened to her gut feel, and took a momentary break from her mind’s gotta-solve-this-problem-stranglehold. I should mention that Judy is a brilliant, highly cerebral thinker. At the same time, she is also incredibly wise and knows how to create a solution in the moment, as warranted. And now, she also knows that, in many situations, she can’t rely exclusively on her mind to do that.

You with me so far?

Good. Because this is the point of this post: when you find yourself in such a bind—sensing an almost physical pressure to choose, decide or make something happen now—do what Judy did: check in with yourself.

Here are tricks that work (for Judy, for me, for friends I’ve consulted with):

Hit an imaginary, mental pause button and make time stand still for a few seconds.

Close your eyes, or look at the sky, tune out any noise, distraction, other people. Now ask yourself one of these questions:

“What’s important here? What really matters?”

“What’s the most natural thing to do here?”

“If I wasn’t worried, what would I do, right now?”

Try also:

“Am I ok with this?”

“What’s my intent here?”

“What’s in it for me if I choose x?”

“How does this choice sit with me, here, in my belly.”

I am utterly convinced that all of us have the answers to practically everything that life throws at us; it’s just a matter of accessing them. Most often, this involves bypassing the supreme force exerted by our brain, dodging the mental dictates in order to consult the other sources of wisdom we carry inside us. And the cool thing is: those sources are always available, in every moment. If we simply remember to check in.

6 Responses to “Check in with yourself”

  1. gilly

    01. Jul, 2010

    you are definitely her groupie!! that’s for checking in to my blog!

  2. Beth

    01. Jul, 2010

    Love it – great prompts to remind us to keep on checking in! There is another question that Wendy Palmer uses as a prompt ‘Where is the power in this situation?’ which I like

  3. gilly

    25. Jun, 2010

    very funny! keep checking….just in gays you end up lawn bowling!

  4. Eli

    24. Jun, 2010

    Just checked in with myself… Yup going to play golf… Putain ça marche!!!

  5. gilly

    08. Jun, 2010

    Well Thank you oh lovely starfish! Have always been a proponent of saying it like it is, naming stuff, putting it out there, skipping the BS and being uber-clear…about pretty much everything!

  6. Tina de Meeus

    08. Jun, 2010

    Gilly – I love that you have the amazing capability to see the power in these kind of things and bring them to paper (or “to blog”) in a way that is clear and not fluffy at all! – Tina

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