I was on the phone with a client yesterday, and she was in complete overwhelm with her business. I walked her through my priority process, which helped greatly, but she still needed some clarity around making a major decision about a next step.
“I feel like I’m out of control and I don’t even have time to spend on making sure this is the right decision,” she said.
“Do you want me to tell you what to do?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said.
“Okay then. Go for a walk. Even better, go sit on the beach or in nature for a few hours. And take a day off. A FULL day off—no work or email or anything.”
“Ha ha, it’s a joke, right?” she responded.
“I’m dead serious. How can you HEAR the answer if you keep swimming around in noise? Most of which is your own making.”
After a bit more conversation, she got it. And adding a daily practice to support her business with this “space” has changed her life.
We spend a lot of time dealing with what I call “the mice in our heads”. We beat ourselves up for things we’ve done in the past, worry about how to do things perfectly in the future, and obsess about all there is to do in the NOW.
To relieve ourselves from the internal chaos, we dive headfirst into as much busywork as we can. And then, like my client above, we feel completely out of control, or worse, out of touch with our true desires. This is why—although I’m a huge advocate of getting things done—I also believe the MOST important time of any day for entrepreneurs is your quiet time.
Let me share a secret with you: I NEVER get true clarity, great ideas, or brilliant answers while sitting at my desk or while working on my computer. They ALWAYS generate when I give myself space and silence.
In order for me to receive what I call my “Divine Downloads”—the answers or a-has—I need to clear some RAM in my brain. Just like on your computer, if you have 20 applications open and running, they will use up all your energy. You won’t get what you need. A reboot is needed! So clearing your head and opening up for answers is the key. Below, a few steps to gradually cultivate a daily quiet time practice of your own…
STEP 1: Identify How You Can “Connect” Best
Quiet time doesn’t mean you have to sit and meditate. If you can do that, awesome. But I have trouble with being still too long! (Unless I’m sleeping!) What works best for me is joyful movement… a walk along the shore, paddling in the ocean on my board, a hike, or going for a rollerblade. Or if I don’t have much time, even just a quick walk around the neighborhood.
Look at what is meditative to YOU. Find something you are good at that you don’t have to think about, so you can get into a zone. Many people have these moments while driving, playing an instrument, knitting, dancing, etc.
As I have grown spiritually, I’ve come to call this practice my “Daily Devotion”. It’s my time to connect with Spirit, give thanks for my blessings, and ask for help with any challenges in my life and business. (If you don’t use the word “Spirit”, insert your word of choice in that place—God, Source, Universe, your higher conscious, etc.)
When you are in this meditative state, you open your heart and your mind and truly connect with your spiritual nature. Call it what you will, but for me it’s connecting to Spirit. It’s surrendering your mind in order to connect with something deeper.
STEP 2: Make Your “Daily Devotion” a Daily Habit
Most people say they don’t have time for quiet time. That’s just an excuse though. Every one has the same 24 hours in her day. Yes we all have different circumstances and responsibilities, but the question is: How do you spend the time you have?
If you can’t find 20-30 minutes a day to get out of busy mode and connect with Spirit, it’s likely you are out of alignment and are reacting on a daily basis—and that’s not the best space from which to run a business.
The truth is, it’s not really a time issue, but a priority issue. You don’t have time for everything. No one does. You just have to make time for what really counts.
Even if you are short on time, if you start to put Spirit first in your life, I guarantee you’ll come to find that you have MORE time. Just try it.
If you haven’t done this in a while, just start to make some quiet time for yourself every day. Start with 5 minutes, then extend it to 10 minutes, then 20, until you find your personal sweet spot. For me, it’s in the mornings, after I answer some emails and have my coffee. 😉
STEP 3: Start a Dialogue… as Much as is Comfortable to You
Once you’re comfortable with your quiet time, you can start to add in a bit of dialogue— whatever aligns with your beliefs or faith.
Back in 2004, I picked up the book Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. In the book, Walsch shares his experience of how an angry letter he wrote to God turned into a back and forth dialogue. Answers from some inexplicable source came to him.
A similar experience kicks off the best-selling memoir in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Who can forget that torturous scene in the bathroom where a voice from somewhere saved her from absolute despair?
Quiet time allows you to hear answers. You just write down a question, and listen, and see what comes up. At first, you think you’re just making it up. But then, you realize later that what came to you was a FLOW of ideas.
Remember, how you tap into Spirit can change from day to day. One day you might need a 10-minute walk around the neighborhood. Another day, you might need a few hours to reflect and make space for your ideas to flow.
The point is to get into the HABIT of connecting with Spirit. And once you master the art of being quiet, you can start to hear the whispers of the Divine—the voices that have been trying to reach you all along.© Copyright 2012 Ali Brown