Setting aside the How

One of the most important aspects of getting clear on what you want is to set aside the how. At least temporarily.

What I mean is, you need to think about what you want (in life, work, whatever) first, without worrying about how to make it happen.

You probably want some pretty big things. Like a business you look forward to spending time with. One that supports you without draining you.

Maybe it’s really big. Like world-changingly big.

When you want something that big, it’s easy to focus on the distance between where you are now and where you want to be. Big things often come with (what seems like) a big distance to travel. It can feel overwhelming and hopeless.

There’s nothing wrong with you. And it certainly doesn’t mean you chose the wrong thing to want.

The reason it feels overwhelming is because the You who will get there is not the You of today.

You-Today isn’t quite ready for all that’s involved in arriving at your destination. And that’s perfectly fine, because you’ll be ready by the time you’re there.

A metaphor might help

You’ve walked in the dark with a flashlight, right? Or maybe you’ve even gone scuba diving at night?

The flashlight shines a certain distance. Beyond where the beam ends, you can’t see anything. Because it’s dark.

If you want to see something that’s beyond the beam of the flashlight, you need to take a step forward. (Or you need to kick your fins a bit.)

When You-Today is thinking about your dream business (or dream whatever-it-may-be) and starts to worry about the How, it’s like you’re trying to look past where your flashlight is shining.

Of course that’s going to be scary because you have no idea what’s there in the darkness.

And if every time you think about what you want you feel scared because of the How, it’s won’t be long before you stop trying to think about it.

Or maybe you’ll choose a smaller dream.

Once you do that, you’re not getting clear on what you want anymore. You’re getting clear on what you think you can have.

So what to do instead?

The way to keep the What separate from the How is to create a container.

It sounds mysterious, but it just means to give yourself a safe place to think about those big dreams, without looking out past your flashlight beam. The container lets you get clear on what your dreams look like without worrying about how they will happen.

A simple place to start?

When you’re thinking about what you want, keep reminding yourself that it’s just information. And that you’re not committed to following through on any of it.

You can also let your body guide you. It knows what you want, and if you can put the How aside, it will help you stay on the right path.

Creating a container is also what the No-Brainer Scenario does. It gives you a way to feel safe while you explore what you truly want.

Once you’ve spent time with what you truly want, only then should you start thinking about the How.

The key to working on the How without going into freak-out mode is to make sure the steps in your plan are manageable. And appropriate for You-Today. (If you’re not sure how to translate your big dream into You-Today-sized steps, I can help.)

How about you?

Have you experienced the “shut-down effect” of worrying about the How too early in the process? How did it affect you?

Do you have a favorite way to create a container for exploring those big things you want?

The No-Brainer Scenario: A Simple Tool for Powerful Clarity – an ebook to help you know what you want so you can make it happen – will be available January 24.

5 thoughts on “Setting aside the How

  1. Lori-Ann

    “The reason it feels overwhelming is because the You who will get there is not the You of today”

    huh. I have never quite thought of it this way before. You are so smart! Thank you.

    I worry about the “how” all the time. And often stop mid-dream because the “how” seems impossible. Insurmountable. But I just thought of something. When I was learning to downhill ski, the runs seemed totally overwhelming from the lift. But at the top, especially on a cloudy day, all you can see is, well, all you can ski. You can only plan for the 50 feet or whatever of what you can ski. And then you change your plans as you are able to see more.

    Why have I never transferred this brilliance to the rest of my life before? This is why I need you, Victoria. Thank you!

  2. chicsinger simone

    Wowsers! You are queen of the smartness this week. I love the container idea and am going to make a mental “jar” to hold my dreams while I step along the path. I can still see them but they are safe and as I progress I can take them out and try them on to see if they fit.

    Whee! Thank you !

  3. Victoria Post author

    @Lori-Ann – Yes! Skiing is another great metaphor for this. So glad this post was helpful for you!

    @Simone – Ooh…a mental jar! I love it!

  4. Grace

    Yes, exactly! Or as I sometimes point out to my clients when they are struggling with a decision…you don’t know right now, but you WILL know eventually. Tomorrow, next week, next month – whenever it is, there IS a “you” out there that knows the answer.

    The universe tends to operate in “just in time” mode. (Funny how the manufacturing and programming and training industries are only just understanding what the universe has demonstrated since the beginning of time…) You’ll know what you need to know WHEN you really need to know it. It’s only your fears and thoughts and beliefs that make you think you “need” to know now. If you know your next step … why would you “need” to know any more? :-)

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