I had a clear intention at the start of the year.
If anyone asked me what I was up to, I said “I’m training practitioners in Energy Editing in March, and then after that I’m going to write my book before the next training in June.”
And that’s exactly what I did.
And it was all hunky-dory. The first training was magic, and the book got written. The June training was filling up rapidly.
I felt restless. Worried about everything, satisfied by nothing.
Logically, feeling crappy didn’t make sense, which made me feel worse.
Muscle testing revealed: “Self-esteem is oscillating between my old level of value and my new level of value.” (Apparently my subconscious uses words like ‘oscillating’, it’s very Colin Firth.)
I did some energy work to sort it out, including some fears around being depended on by a large number of people, some stress around how much time I have available, and some cracking limiting beliefs, including: “If I were wealthy I’d be unable to handle the expectations of others.”
With that sorted, I was amazed a few days later that I still felt like a bag of pants.
I was beginning to annoy myself.
Did you know you can tell a lot about your energy from the way that traffic behaves around you when you drive your car?
Bit weird if you’re new to this sort of thing, but true.
I won’t go into the physics of why this happens, that’s another blog post, but essentially, the energy around you is a reflection of your energy.
Usually when I’m driving, it’s happy days. Fairly clear roads, tunes on, a healthy mutual respect for my fellow road-users.
If it’s any other way, I know that something’s going on.
So when I drove a 20-mile round-trip, in our quiet countryside, and kept seeing police cars everywhere, it did briefly cross my mind that it was a warning of some sort. When people started stepping into the road in front of me without even looking to check the traffic, I got the memo.
THE ROAD AHEAD IS BLOCKED.
Very clever Universe, if perhaps a little bit fecking dangerous.
I got home, straight to my desk, and started muscle testing.
‘What road and what is blocking it?’
Answer: The road to my big goal – buying a big house – is blocked because I don’t think it’s possible. I don’t believe it’s possible because I don’t know what I’m going to do next in the business, at a level that will enable me to buy that dream house.
Firstly, as a lover of the Law of Attraction, I should know WAY better than to be thinking about ‘how’ something will happen. It’s not up to me,
However, in my own business and life, I’m a meddler. I fiddle about. I tinker and investigate, and constantly seek improvement. Often that’s a good thing.
And then the penny dropped.
I don’t like not knowing what I’m going to do next.
It makes me uncomfortable, lethargic, and quite frankly, a bit miserable.
So the last few weeks have been an interesting little excursion for me and my funny little human self, to a place called “NOT KNOWING.”
At this point in writing this blog post, I stopped to go to a local pub for ginger beer and ice cream (can anyone say Enid Blyton) with the hubster, kids, and my parents, to celebrate my book, Wealthology, becoming a UK and US bestseller.
As we were leaving to come home, my Dad asked: “So what’s next?”
I replied: “I don’t know.”
His reaction said it all.
“You don’t know! You don’t know. You don’t know? Ooh. That’s different.”
“I know it’s weird isn’t it Dad? I’m actually just writing a blog about it, called ‘what to do when you don’t know what to do next.”
“Are you really? Well how about that. Not knowing.”
My mum nudged him: “Give her a chance, she’s just published a book. So much pressure!”
Dad raised his eyebrows: “I’m not pressuring her. She just always has a plan. We tend to always have a plan.”
“He’s right mum. He’s not pressuring me. He’s just a perfect demonstration of why I’m programmed the way I am. My brain is always on at me to have a plan, and move to the next thing, and this time I don’t know what I want to do.”
Dad sat quietly for a few minutes whilst we rounded up the kids.
Then, with typical, understated wisdom, he said: “It’s about not knowing. The next thing – it’s to not know, isn’t it?”
“Yes! That’s what I’ve been doing, figuring out how to ‘not know’ without it doing my head in completely.”
“Take more time off, go with the flow, see what happens?”
“Yes, and finding the balance between having intentions, and taking action, and knowing when to let go. Like people have asked me, ‘how are you celebrating the book launch?’ and I’m thinking, ‘Celebrating on launch day? I’m not celebrating, I’m thinking about finishing the day knowing that I did my absolute best to make the launch a success.’ Even today, coming here is a bit like something I just needed to tick off a list: Celebration – Check. I feel like I need to plan a full celebration when things settle down a bit.”
We both laughed. Enid Blyton and irony. Such a riot, old chum!
Here I am, back at my desk, and I want to share with you what I’ve learnt that makes not knowing much easier, if you’re also a Natural Born Planner.
- Accept that you don’t know what to do.
Resistance to not knowing creates as much stress as not knowing. Find some peace around the idea that you don’t currently have a plan. This might be obvious to you, but for me personally, if I don’t have a plan, my instinct is to say ‘Right lads, we’ll solve this lack-of-plan-problem by coming up with a plan right now.’
That’s how I’d spent the previous few days before I realised I’d got a (hopefully return) ticket to Notknowingsville. Brainstorming, pushing, forcing, researching, determined to decide what I wanted to do next. But nothing felt right, nothing aligned, nothing clicked.
In true Serenity prayer style, it was time to ‘accept the things that I cannot change’. Confession: I’d always thought that part was a lovely bit of wisdom, very useful for other people, and that I was totally brilliant at it. HA! I’d just never really hit upon something I couldn’t solve with a bit of planning and execution, in my business before.
It took me a fair amount of energy work to release my addiction to knowing what’s next, and I’m still peeling back layers on my love of hustle and grind. (Is that a dance move?)
Here are some fears and limiting beliefs to look out for, that might be messing with you, like they were with me:
Fear of failing
Fear of not trying hard enough
Fear of being accused of not working hard. (Because apparently it’s 1849.)
Fear of not doing my best for my family
If I don’t have a plan it will all go to shit. (Yep, that’s a limiting belief.)
When I’m not pushing I’m being lazy
If I don’t hustle I won’t succeed
I should know what I want to do
With the resistance and stress beginning to reduce, the inner battle cooled down and I stopped annoying myself. I still had no idea what to do next, so I tried all sorts of things. What, you didn’t think I was just going to just find peace and stop there did you?
- Separate your Big-Big Goal from your business
If you’ve established that you don’t know what to do next in your business, then what would you like to achieve in your personal life? How would you like to feel?
There is so much advice about goal setting, and personally I think it’s down to your own preference. I think it’s great to have a Big-Big goal, and I also think it can be very stressful to link it to a particular component of your business, and as entrepreneurs it’s natural to do that.
It looks like this:
I want to own a big house. I want to buy that big house now. It’s going to cost $1,000,000. I must make that money in my business.
And off I go, down the rabbit hole, pushing for ideas and stressing out because I can’t see where that money will be created, and what if my family think I hate them because I haven’t worked hard enough to buy a big family home.
How about this instead:
I want to own a big house. I have no idea how that’s going to happen. I’m excited to see how it does happen. In the business right now, I’m doing everything that feels aligned, to the best of my ability, and I’m excited to see what happens.
Feel the difference?
There’s so much relief in separating your Big-Big Goal from your immediate actions. Check in with yourself and see what extra pressure you’ve added to your business, and how it’s really affecting your mindset.
- Sit quietly.
If you don’t call it meditation, it’s less likely to trigger your inner Busy Monkey. Essentially, just sit the hell down, use ear plugs or white noise if you’re distracted by noise, close your eyes, and just stop.
Stop talking, stop moving, stop looking at stuff.
If you haven’t done this before you might feel like you want to axe someone’s head off for the first few minutes. Push through!
No time to sit quietly?
Bollocks, we’ve all got 15 minutes a couple of times a week.
It’s not a time issue, it’s a resistance-to-sitting-alone-with-no-distractions issue.
Why are we sitting quietly, you ask?
Well guess what, when we cease all activity, the Mind Monkeys go MENTAL, and then, just when you accept that they won’t shut up, they tire themselves out. The second that happens, you’re no longer being driven by that funny little human brain. The real ‘you’ gets to take over.
Yeah, you’re not a brain. You’re a spark of fricking light that broke off the sun and went through a billion evolutions, before deciding to give this life a go, and zipping yourself into the human suit you’re currently wearing.
And when you get really quiet, and take all the stimuli and distractions away from the human suit, the spark of light takes over.
Then guess what?
You’ve got a billion-year-old ray of wisdom in charge.
It’s basically like having Morgan Freeman making all the decisions.
Here’s an example of the difference between me and my Inner Morgan Freeman making decisions.
Me: “What to do, what to do? Must have a plan. I know, I’d like to make $1,000,000 and the way I think I can do that is to…”
(Confession: I muscle tested the energy of that particular idea, and it was ‘arrogant’. HA! I’ve never been insulted by the Universe before. It was followed up with this explanation: ‘It’s lacking my essence and what my heart wants to do next.’ Which was true.)
Morgan: “It’s lovely and peaceful in here. I feel lovely and calm. It’s great that $1,000,000 is on its way. What would be the very best thing that I could do? The most inspired, creative fun thing. I know, I’ll…”
Morgan’s advice is always a winner. Having been around a billion years, he knows stuff.
I jokingly call my Dad the Guru. Did you notice I mentioned that he sat quietly before speaking? He does that a lot. He’s one very chilled out, wise, funny dude, who gives brilliant advice, and can find a solution for anything. Him and Morgan? Best mates.
- Baby Steps
These are the small, easy actions that are right in front of you. Now, this doesn’t mean those evasive actions like cleaning the back of cupboards, or any of those things that we do, when we don’t want to do the things we need to do.
I think there are two main types of baby steps, and I’ll tell you the difference, using me as an example – knowing I want a house, whilst not knowing what I want to do next in my business…
- Steps towards the Big-Big goal – looking at houses online, viewing property, talking to the hubster about what we’d like.
- Steps that relate to current commitments – marketing the book, preparing for the training in June, rebranding my website.
And here’s the secret sauce.
The steps that relate to the Big-Big goal are done with joy and excitement, not taken too seriously, and are a gift to yourself.
The steps that relate to current commitments are done with joy and excitement, taken very seriously, and are about using your gifts to serve others to the very best of your ability.
If you apply these principles to your baby steps, you’ll be amazed at what unfolds, because they create two different types of energy that attracts success and opportunity.
You can walk a surprisingly enormous distance using teeny-tiny, wobbly baby steps, and that’s not all – baby steps always lead to your end goal, even when you can’t see the next ‘via’ point.
- Take a gestation vacation
Just stop needing to know what you don’t know, and give yourself a week or two of not thinking about it. Give yourself official permission to stop.
During this time, write down every idea you have. Every inspiration, business idea, day dream, aspiration, blog post idea, person to contact, place you’d like to go, thing you’d like to learn. Just write them down.
You’ll start to see how many more options are available to you than you realise, and all sorts of ideas will download.
This is one holiday that will be much more beneficial if you spend a lot of it hanging out with Morgan Freeman. This blog post was one of his ideas, when we were sitting by the fire one evening a couple of weeks ago.
- Switch off social media
Seeing what everyone else is doing when you’re not doing anything can be really stressful.
Think of yourself as pregnant with an idea. You have to start nurturing your baby way before it’s born. Peace, calm, wholesome connection, good food, lots of water and lots more kindness. Not hours spent scrolling your phone screen like a rat hitting a button and hoping for a shot of social media dopamine.
Extending your energy into the vacuum of ‘what everyone else says they’re doing’ is not good for the idea-baby.
There are too many tiny jolts to the system in between the hits of dopamine. Take Facebook off your phone, limit the time you spend at your laptop, and believe me when I say that you really won’t miss out on anything that important. If the world breaks, someone will call you.
- Have fun connecting with other people
Arrange to see your funniest friends as soon as possible. Hang out with a toddler who just started forming sentences. Anything that makes you laugh. Spend time with people you love, put the focus on them, and enjoy yourself.
This is perhaps the easiest one to do… and also the hardest. I am notorious for spending too many hours at my desk, withdrawing when I’m busy, and not knowing when to stop working. I also know without doubt that connection and laughter have a very particular energy, which attracts only good things, and sparks the most unexpected, marvelous surprises.
Earlier this year, I spent a remarkable amount of time (for introvert me) connecting with people on Skype when I usually would have been working. I remember thinking at the time, ‘This is weird, I really like it, even though it doesn’t really seem to have a purpose, I guess it’s ok that I’m not really working’. And guess what? I can’t tell you how many brilliant conversations, ideas, friendships, and support have resulted from those calls.
- If too much choice is a problem
Feel like you don’t know what to do because there are so many options? If you’ve tried getting quiet, and you’ve checked in for resistance and cleared any fears that might be blocking you, and you still don’t want to move forward, then it might be that none of the choices you can currently see are the right ones.
Write down your options. Let’s call them A,B,C. Now do you love any of those options? If so, then fear is the only thing stopping you, and you really do know what to do. If not, then here’s the good news. There’s an option D. You just don’t know what it is yet.
And here’s what we know about option D: It can be whatever you want it to be.
What’s your ideal option? What does it look like, feel like, sound like? Who is there with you? When you think about your ideal option, it’s likely that the mind monkeys start kicking in with reasons why it isn’t possible. That’s not the same as not knowing. Open your mind to there being a perfect solution that feels completely aligned, that you’re just not aware of yet.
And one final secret for you – Option D shows up a lot faster when you practice the first six steps I shared.
There you have it.
My guide to what to do when you don’t know what to do next.
Accept that you don’t know.
Separate your Big-Big goal from your business.
Take baby steps.
Take a Gestation Vacation.
Switch off social media.
Remember there’s always an option D.
These are the things I’ve been up to for the last few weeks, and although I still don’t know what I want to do next, I’m totally ok with that. I’m showing up, and I trust that the Big U has a plan, even if I don’t.
What are you going to do right now?
Let me know!
The Energy Editor
PS – If you like my writing, you’ll probably like my book – it’s free right now on Amazon – find it here.
When I was a kid, my parents re-decorated our bathroom.
On the wall they hung a photo.
It was a photo of a grey sea, with a whale’s tail lifting out of the water.
Underneath, it said:
“He roams the sea in freedom, with no enemy – save man.”
It touched my heart every time I looked at it.
And I thought: “One day I will see that for myself.”
Over the years I’ve thought about it from time to time.
One day I will see whales in the wild.
Whenever the bucket-list question comes up –
Whale-watching is on mine.
When we’ve been planning holidays before, it seemed out of reach.
Either a long way to go to focus on something that might not happen.
Or that the weather would be cold, and as a Brit I chase the sun whenever I can.
This summer we had another bucket-list holiday planned.
The whole family.
Highway 1, up the coast, San Diego to San Francisco.
As it came nearer it seemed too good to be true.
I was almost afraid to think about it in case I jinxed it and made it not happen.
We started planning what we’d do.
As I looked at the places along the route, I found Monterey.
Home of an amazing Aquarium.
But also, home of whale-watching expeditions.
I did some research.
I wanted a wild experience, not a Sea-Life-esque one.
Two years a
I flew First Class from the UK to the USA.
The cabin was FULL of men.
There were four women in total, including myself.
The other three were travelling with their husbands.
The rest of the First Class passengers were men, travelling alone.
When I realised this, I ran through some emotions.
Where all my sisters at?
(I’d had a couple of cheeky Bucks Fizzes by this point.)
(Ironically, not proud to admit that, but a little part of me went ‘ooh I’m doing something out of the ordinary here, flying alone First Class under my own steam’.)
Seriously. Where all my sisters at?
I didn’t manage to vet the intentions of all the male passengers (that might have looked a bit dodgy).
But I started eavesdropping, engaging in conversation and innocently finding out what they were travelling for.
(Especially easy in the queue for immigration when I got to Atlanta.)
Being sent by their company.
It got me thinking.
Maybe this was a one-off, isolated incident and the First Class cabin is usually full of well-paid, high-flying women being spoilt as they jet off on international business.
Assuming it wasn’t (and I’d love to hear from you if I’m wrong in that assumption) I wondered…
Are male-dominated businesses the ones that operate internationally?
Are jobs that require international travel dominated by men?
Are women travelling for business but flying in a different cabin?
On my connecting flight from Atlanta to Cancun I chatted to a fascinating British chap who lives and works in the US.
I told him what I had seen.
He told me of a statistic that women only apply for a job if they meet 100% of the requirements – whereas men will have a crack at it if even if they only meet 60%.
This Hewlett Packard report found that women didn’t apply for the same reasons as men – but the men who DID apply, despite not meeting the requirements, were aware that other factors would come in to play, and that they were still in with a chance.
Women tend to believe that unless they’re 100% perfect, they don’t have a chance.
Men are way more likely to speak up, talk about their skills and apply for a job, promotion – and probably a coveted foreign assignment too.
There is such an important lesson here.
Wherever you’re at, whatever you do, make sure you push yourself forward.
If you want something, DON’T list the reasons / excuses / arguments why you’re not good enough to do it or unlikely to get it.
Don’t point them out in an application, conversation or interview.
(Clearly, common sense applies here, I’m not suggesting you go all Catch Me If You Can and start pretending to be a doctor.)
Don’t even list them to yourself.
Instead, list the reasons why you’re exactly the right person for the job.
Then throw down your cards, get scrappy and put some effort into getting what you want.
You might meet 77% of the requirements.
You don’t apply because of the missing 23%.
And the prize goes to someone else who DID apply even though they met 64%!
The percentage doesn’t even factor the unlisted, conceptual requirements: personality, professionalism, likeability, relevant experience and commitment.
This also applies if you have your own business.
The client you want to win.
The course you want to create.
Are you waiting to have everything 100% perfect before you step up?
Screw that my friend.
If you want anything – clients, customers, gigs, interviews – ASK!
Make it clear that you are available, interested, eager AND qualified.
Don’t list your flaws, shortcomings and weaknesses.
Focus on your strengths.
Don’t write yourself off before the race even starts.
Do you fear being rejected?
Then look at it this way.
You put yourself forward for something.
You put energy, hope and time into it.
Maybe you don’t get the result that you wanted.
But you gain two vital things…
I guarantee you, everything you did to move yourself forward is a lesson well learned.
You will gain something from it, even if you don’t know what. I wrote about this here.
2. The Unexpected
Every step you take, every door you knock, every connection you make (no this isn’t a song) creates exponential shifts in the world around you – both seen and unseen.
It might be as fast and obvious as someone you spoke to recommending you to someone else.
Sometimes, it might not be fast and obvious.
That doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
Every time you move forward, the Universe takes a hundred steps on your behalf.
Dots are joined, plans made possible, paths cleared.
Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
You don’t know what will come from every opportunity you seize to do something different, fun, exciting or challenging.
Don’t decide for someone else that you’re not right for an opportunity.
Show your worth.
And I’ll see you in the First Class cabin.
The Energy Editor