Every now and then, we get a listener question on the podcast that is so good I have to write a blog about it. This is one of those cases.
This question actually came up a few months ago on our 4th episode, but it’s one that I get asked in one form or another quite often. So I’ve had this blog in the back of my mind for a while and am happy to say that I’m finally getting to write it. Ready? Let’s go!
Here’s the question from Susan in Georgia:
"I retired in April and am having some difficulty deciding what to do with my life now. For 34 years, I was a dental hygiene educator at the college level and for five years I worked part-time as a hygienist in a private practice. I have been pursuing a diploma in Residential Planning and will finish after the New Year in 2012.
I know the point in The Final Summit is to do something, but I don't even know where to begin. Any suggestions? Thank you."
Basically, Susan wanted to take action, to do something, but she just didn’t know what to do.
I relate to this question because I can think of many specific instances in my life when I just did not know what to do. So when I came up with a question I could ask myself to move past the mental block of “not knowing what to do,” I was very excited.
This is a question I have used over and over again and it has always eventually led me to a satisfying answer or clear “next step.” Now, before you read this, promise me that you will not roll your eyes. Because, at first, this question is probably going to seem silly. OK, if you’ve promised not to roll your eyes, you may proceed.
Here is the question:
“I know I don’t know what to do…but if I did know, what would I do right now?”
You read that right. And I know it seems completely ridiculous—but it works. Trust me.
Even though it may seem silly, this is a very important question that gets us off the dime. This is a question that I ask myself when:
- I don’t feel like moving
- I don’t know what to do
- I’m hesitant to take action
- Or all of the above!
And it’s an important question to ask, because if you ever want to move forward in any aspect of life, you have to defeat the inertia; you have to get moving!
This question is designed to generate movement. Don’t necessarily expect to get hit with an answer right away, but do expect to be led to more questions…to better questions. (Because when we ask good questions, we get good results!)
For example, when I ask myself this question, my first answer might be, “Well, I would call somebody…but I don’t know who to call.” That thought might lead me to ask, “OK, I know you don’t know who to call, but if you did know who to call, who would you call first? Who would you call right now?” Before I know it, I’m on the phone with a wise person I trust and moving toward my answer.
Again, I know this question sounds silly, but it’s specifically designed to get us moving, to get the conversation inside our head flowing.
In order to succeed at anything, we have to discipline this ability to be the teacher in our own lives and push ourselves out the door. This has to exist. We have to learn to communicate with and listen to that inner self we all have.
So next time you’re struggling with inaction, no matter how silly you may think it sounds, repeat this question in your mind. I think you will be as surprised with the results as I have been!
What do YOU do when you're not sure what to do? What strategies have you used for pushing through inactivity and forcing yourself to act?