Earlier this week, I posted this on my Instagram:
Success is the product of listening to your inner wisdom and taking courageous action.
I was inspired by the barrage of formulas we’re force fed every day.
Eat these three things and you’ll instantly lose weight.
Follow these five steps and increase your income in a matter of weeks.
Drink this drink, dance this dance, and say this chant…and you’ll attract the love of your life in minutes.
I’ll confess: I’m tired of all these formulas. Don’t get me wrong - there are plenty of 1, 2, 3 solutions that absolutely work - but life and all of its complexity cannot possibly be reduced to the “5 Success Principles You Must Follow” or the “18 Spiritual Laws of Attracting Lasting Love” or “Eat These 8 Foods and Be Forever Slender.”
BTW, I made those up, but if you find them, let me know so I can link to them and boost my SEO.
Meanwhile, frustrated with formulas I turned inward for some sanity, and my meditation produced the ONLY success formula that has EVER gotten results for me sustainably and consistently.
Success = (Listen To + Act On) Your Inner Wisdom
Where are my math friends? Y’all like that one?
Now that we’re clear, let’s talk about the one ingredient (variable, if you’re still into the math thing) you’re missing. The truth is I DON’T KNOW. I’m not in the business of knowing people’s answers for them; I’m in the business of putting you in touch with your own and bringing those answers into the world.
So look at the two ingredients:
Listen to your inner wisdom - Are you taking the time to tune into your natural rhythm and expending the effort to get to know your own cues, triggers, signals, language, preferences, desires, and essence?
Act on your inner wisdom - When you hear a prompting or an urging, do you act on it? Even if your brain thinks it’s the craziest notion, do you take the action that feels right in your gut?
In both cases, the fix is simple: Just do it. But you and I both know it’s not that easy.
In the case of listening to your inner wisdom:
If you don’t have a meditation practice already, I highly recommend starting one. Get an app - Headspace, Insight Timer, Calm - there are plenty out there. Get on YouTube and search “meditation.” Go to a class. Hire a teacher. There is no shortage of opportunity for meditation instruction. Making time for it could be difficult, so know that just three to five minutes could make a world of difference.
Take any fitness class that inspires you - yoga, barre, cycling, HIIT, whatever makes you happy. Or just go for a run or a walk. Get moving and tune into the rhythm of your breath and the sensations of your body. Again, if time is a challenge, pay attention to your rhythm when driving. Use the time of going from the car to the building to pay attention to how you’re walking. Sneak in time to pay attention to yourself.
Take up a journaling practice. I do morning pages from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. There are books with writing prompts, journals with all kinds of themes, and various other methods. Get writing about the stuff that’s inside of you. Put your word vomit on paper and then move along with your day. Time sensitive? Keep a “Notes” page on your phone and type in your random thoughts while you pee. Seriously.
For the practice of taking courageous action on your inner wisdom, I suggest human contact.
Join a support group of people who are trying to get to the same goal you are. All the research points to having social support as crucial in sustaining change. Social media outlets are full of online communities. Use them, and watch yourself experience faster and lasting change.
Regularly meet with a counselor or coach. You’re going to come up against some major inner obstacles when you’re taking new actions. Our little gremlins inside get the best of us just as we’re about to make a breakthrough. Plus, unresolved trauma often shows up as repeated patterns that produce frustration and overwhelm, so having an ally who can help us sort through all that has positive long-term effects.
Recruit a friend to be your accountability buddy. This is that person you can text at 9:53 p.m. on a Tuesday and say, “Oh my gosh, I just did this.” They’re a soft place to land when all the vulnerability starts to come up. And by the way, it often surfaces as shame. That’s a REALLY hard emotion to hold on your own, so having someone makes it just a little easier to handle. Plus, when you have a soft place to land you’re more likely to try again because you know you’ll be received with open arms whether you succeed (learn) or don’t hit the goal exactly (learn). Notice there’s nothing about “failure” in that sentence. Failure is a judgment and an illusion. There are only results. Either they are what we desire or they aren’t.
Comment below and let me know what key success ingredient you’re going to get…and what success you’re aspiring to achieve. I’ll bet you’re a lot closer than you think.