Where do you fall on the spectrum of goal-setters to manifesters? SMART goals? Manifesting? Somewhere in between? Or, none of the above? I have a new frame to help you navigate the tough road.
What is Your Goal Setting Style?
Where do you fall on the spectrum of goal-setters to manifesters? Do you set highly specific “SMART” goals and lay out the step-by-step actions that you need to get there, never wavering from your path?
Do you put together a vision board and pray on it daily, setting an intention and manifesting your desires?
Do you fall somewhere in the middle?
Or have you given up on goals and dreams entirely, because no matter what you do, it never seems to be enough to turn your vision into reality?
I’ve experimented in all camps, and lately, I’m trying extra hard to stay out of the last one. This year, so far, has been rough. Like: I’m ready for this life to be over, rough. It’s been really hard to keep going some days.
Ironically, I’ve never been more clear on what I want to create. My purpose is strong. I spent a month refining my vision and mission and creating a focus for each area in my life. Some days I wonder: did I waste my time? What’s the use of planning when you feel inept in implementing?
Navigating the Rough Patch
When you work so hard, taking consistent, daily, action, and the results don’t follow, your core becomes a breeding ground for doubt and despair. Maintaining a positive mindset can be tough when you feel like everything you touch disintegrates in your hands.
It can be hard to get out of bed, to take the steps, to do your daily rituals.
And yet, somehow, I do. Every day. I hit the gym. I move my body. I sit for meditation practice. I write, even if I don’t always publish. I walk my 10,000 steps. Every evening, I complete a daily journal exercise in which I express gratitude and identify wins (among other things). Day after day.
No. Matter. What.
Many people ask me how I keep myself going. They wonder how I can stay calm amidst so much uncertainty. I don’t know that I always stay calm. I would say that through weeks, months and years of daily practice I have expanded my capacity to hold space for uncertainty.
I recently learned a new frame to help me in this regard.
The Foundations of Faith and Trust
The story of the Exodus from Egypt looms large in the cultural identity of the Jewish people. We are called to remember it not only on Passover, but in the context of daily and weekly prayers and rituals.
Why are we called to remember it daily?
It seems obvious that the Exodus lays the foundation of our faith and trust in God. But the call for daily remembrance is not only about what God did for the Israelites. The events of the Exodus teach us three lessons in how to act when we find ourselves in tough times.
(1) Cultivate Faith
The key events leading to the exodus was God’s infliction of the Ten Plagues on the Egyptians. Through the plagues, God showed the Egyptians that He controls all aspects of creation, including the objects in nature that the Egyptians worshipped as gods, like the Nile River and the sun.
God delivered the ten plagues to show His power not only to the Egyptians, but also to the Israelites. The Israelites witnessed the Egyptians suffer while they remained unharmed. They began to believe in the Divine and cultivate faith in God’s presence and power.
(2) Trust Divine Timing and Process
Even when you have faith in a higher power, it’s easy to lose trust when you find yourself continually struggling. Living in circumstances that don’t seem to improve naturally raises the question: where is the Divine?
We might wonder, if God is so powerful, why did He not simply decimate the Egyptians and rescue the Israelites immediately? Why drag out the process over Ten Plagues?
Of course God could have created this result on a faster timeline. But the drama of the plagues was instrumental to God’s plan.
If the Israelites hadn’t witnessed the process unfold, they might not have cultivated the necessary faith to leave the comfort of their homes in Egypt and venture into the uncertainty of the desert. This wasn’t obvious in the moment; we can recognize it only in retrospect.
We often find ourselves in a similar situation: eager for a result or a goal that we have in our sights. It’s easy to have faith when everything is going well. When we find ourselves not making progress, we can be quick to lose faith and wonder what we are doing wrong. The lesson we learn here is to trust the process. Much of life works on Divine timing, and not on our preferred timing.
(3) Take Action
Through the first nine plagues, the Israelites were automatically protected. This changed with tenth plague. If the Israelites wished to protect themselves and their first-born children, they had to sacrifice a lamb and spread the lamb’s blood on their doorposts—on the outside of their homes—where it would be visible to all.
This would offend and anger the Egyptians, who worshipped the lamb as a god. The Egyptians might retaliate.
Thus, this instruction tested the Israelites’ faith.
The lesson here is that merely professing faith isn’t enough. Faith is demonstrated through action. We learn from this that we must participate in our own rescue.
This is Circular, Not Linear
These three elements are not linear. They work in tandem. At any moment, we might find ourselves lacking in one or more.
We may start by cultivating faith in a higher power, in whatever form you want to call it: God, the Divine, the universe, etc. Armed with that faith, we may take action. When we find the action isn’t working, maybe we lose trust. We begin to doubt ourselves and the Divine. We might feel hopeless. In this case, we must remember to trust Divine timing and surrender to the Divine process. We are not always in control.
We may start with the belief that results depend only on our actions; there is no role for a higher power. Then something happens that shows us our actions alone won’t give us the results. We begin to cultivate faith. We see and trust the Divine hand in the process.
Or, we may be firm in our faith and skilled in our ability to surrender to the Divine timing, only to wonder why we can’t seem to manifest our desires. In this case, we must remember to participate in our own rescue by taking action.
I am finding this to be a helpful frame through which to view life. In any moment, I can ask myself: where am I strong, and where do I need to build?
This is the daily practice
Cultivate the rituals that support you. Create space for your best work. Nourish your body, mind and soul. Without them, there is no purpose for action.
Trust the process.
Cultivate and your faith.
Participate in your own rescue.
Trust the Divine timing.
Keep on keeping on.
Every day. No. Matter. What.
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