Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Process

We are obsessed with outcomes. We look for muscle tone immediately following workout one. We weigh ourselves after eating our first healthy meal. We expect to feel better after an initial physical therapy or counseling session. Focusing all of our attention on outcomes causes us to miss what develops along the way and what we gain in the process is often more beneficial than the outcome we desire.

I recently had to initiate a difficult conversation. Its difficulty was multifaceted. It was over a sensitive, emotionally charged matter with someone I love. It was one of those conversations that had the potential to forever change the relationship. I dreaded making this call. Dreaded! The trepidation was attached to the sensitivity of the discussion, but mostly to the outcome. What if made this difficult call and it didn't end with the action—outcome—that I felt was fair?

Prior to making the call, I thought out my points. I tried to anticipate reactions and build arguments based on those anticipated reactions. After imagining every possible scenario I realized that no matter how intellectual, emotional, or persuasive I could be, the possibility existed that nothing would change. My words, well thought out, clever, and emotionally charged, might not change a single thing. That acknowledgment changed my focus. I shifted from a place of persuasion to a place of reconciling from within. I was no longer trying to deliver a pitch. I was trying to release what I felt so that I could be at peace. During the process I learned to release myself from the outcome.

I have no reason to believe that the conversation will change the circumstance. In fact, I have every reason to believe that all will be just as it was prior to our talk. Still, in the process of preparing for it, I relinquished my need to convince for a need to be at peace. The moment I freed myself from the outcome I grew and growth should always be the ultimate goal.

Maybe you recently started working out. Not seeing a hint of muscle tone or definition should not deter you from continuing to workout. Similarly, if you have engaged in better eating habits, a lack of shed pounds is not reason to give up. In your quest for physical or emotional healing you may not recover as quickly as you prefer, but during your therapy sessions you will become stronger. It is during the pursuit of an outcome—muscle tone, weight loss, healing—that you develop a new lifestyle. In your pursuit is where you experience movement, develop strength, build character, establish emotional intelligence, and make progress. In the process is where you become whole.

Read last week's post, Life Storms.

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