I have an ego. Seemingly not too big or I likely could not admit it has taken residency in my psyche. Regardless of how blown up it is, my ego exists and what is so irritating, is it shows up at the worst of times and places like a bull in a china shop. Often, its deliberate cry for attention costs me time, money, sanity, and satisfaction.
On days when my mind is focused and optimistic about pursuing a goal or accomplishing a task, my ego shows up and begins acting like a know-it-all and a self-proclaimed expert. Its uninvited visit and invasive behavior leaves me no room to take my time, to learn, or to grow at a natural pace. Instead I unknowingly rush from points A to Z and then wonder why I fell short in my achievement, why the task at hand was not executed with grace, or why it did not turn out like I had envisioned.
How about you? Do you set out to achieve a goal, complete a project, or advance in a hobby or skill you know you are good at and should be able to do with ease, but find yourself screwing it up somehow? Are you sometimes dissatisfied with the outcome of a pursuit?
Life is always looking for opportunities to teach us a lesson and I’d to share my most recent ‘aha’ in hopes I can shed some light on this topic.
I was no doubt purposefully led to a yoga class last week where the devotion was to approach the flow with the mind of a beginner. As my instructor went on to describe the freedom exalted by a beginner’s mind, I felt as though the message was just for me.
I listened intently as he described how the mind of a beginner desires learning and growth and is free from binding expectations and limiting beliefs. It is always willing to try without barriers to progress. He went on to say that by surrendering your expert mind-set and instead greeting the world with curiosity, you expand, which results in you having more space to receive since you are not limited or contracted by pre-conceived outcomes.
In that moment I realized the magic of accomplishment could thrive when we avoid placing too high of demands or expectations on ourselves. When you let go and make room for exploration, rather than pre-defining what the end result will look like, real achievement can happen. Everything in your world becomes new and exciting, and a success. This was certainly true of that class as I had the most comfortable and advanced yoga session I’d had in years!
As the end of the year draws near, the season is ripe for honoring your wins and evaluating lessons learned during the past 12 months. It may be natural for you to want to identify areas of stagnation, where you have felt disconnected or uninspired, or why goals were left unattained. You may find yourself occupying precious time considering how, in the New Year, you can make shifts away from unfulfilled dreams by setting new intentions and resolutions.
Try this year to be a little loosy goosy with your goals, allowing yourself to be imperfect and leave room for exploration. You can even practice this now by approaching your next big task, meeting, project, or talent with an open-mind and ignore all impulses to do it perfectly. See what is to be learned and how you can progress to levels you never before thought were possible. Be open to every experience as if it were the first time, even if you have ‘been there, done that’ a million times before.