Creating effortless momentum

As smart and strategic as I like to think I am, the fact is, I lose a lot at games ... board games, dice games, role-playing games, tile-based games, word games, you name it. However, there’s one exception. It’s a card game called „Solo“, a variation on „Uno“ which I found in the game section of a Swiss toy store a few years back.

I almost always win at „Solo“! :-)

What makes „Solo“ different from „Uno“ is that it has one extra rule that speeds up the pace of play significantly and two extra cards that can cause you to loose your whole hand to someone else in an instant.

I think I’m successful at „Solo“, because the game moves so quickly that I don’t have enough time to overthink my next move. And since I can lose all my cards at any moment, I don’t get attached to the cards in my hand and just play full on and fearlessly.

(When I’ve got a steal card in my hand, I jokingly taunt my fellow players with: „Your cards are not your friends. Be ready to let them go!“)

For me, playing „Solo“ is exhilarating. Because as the game get’s going, I slip into a sort of effortless momentum, engaging fully in the moment and not thinking any further than my next play. Why should I think too far ahead, when the game could completely change any second?

Maybe you’ve observed a similar phenomenon in your life or business?

In fact, I’m pretty sure we’ve all had times, in which we were completely engaged in our most obvious next step and free of all superfluous thinking that might hinder us in playing the game of life successfully.

Allow me to share a very personal experience with you. And please don’t worry, it occurred years ago and the healing process has taken place and brought with it its many gifts. As life’s big events always do.

In July of 2004 I received a phone call from my sister who was calling from a local hospital in the town where we grew up. My mother had had a sudden and unexpected heart attack and was in a coma.

At fifty-two, my mother was quite young but had also been in quite bad health over the years prior to her heart attack. So, I wasn’t sure at all which way things would go.

The only thing I knew for sure is that I wanted to get her as soon as humanly possible. My obvious next step was to book a flight from Munich to Atlanta and drive from there with a rental car to Tennessee.

Once my husband and I arrived, my face swollen from all the tears I had shed on the flight and the adrenaline and weariness in my bones from the long trip, I focussed on the next most obvious step. That step was to speak with my mother’s doctors personally and find out her status.

Unfortunately, the ambulance had been called too late and her brain had gone a long time without oxygen. Her doctors weren’t sure how much damage had been caused during that period. They informed me that the next seventy-two hours would be critical and that they would be looking for certain signs that she was recovering … or not.

So we waited, all of my immediate family and some of my extended family and friends together. And astonishingly, we moved through those next three days in a calm and peaceful way, all of us simply focussing as best we could on the "next thing".

One "next thing" was the question, are the pupils of her eyes dilating when the doctors shine light in them? Another "next thing" was the question, are her brain scans showing any signs of activity? The final "next thing" was the question, do we want to extend her time with life-saving measures should she go into cardiac arrest again?

The answer was „no“, as we knew she wouldn’t want that. And so my mother Ginger Stephens passed away four days after her initial heart attack had occurred, having never shown any signs of recovery.

While this example of „life happening“ is incredibly sad, for me it was also an eye opening experience. Here was the most terrible thing I could imagine actually unfolding and yet, we were incredibly well-equipped to deal with all of it. Moment by moment, step by step and from one next thing to another in a chain of – as strange as it may sound in such a situation – natural and effortless momentum.

As life unfolded in front of us, things were just getting done …

Signs of recovery were observed, family and friends were comforted, my mothers hands and feet were massaged, hospital breaks were taken, sandwiches were eaten, doctors and nurses were consulted, important decisions were made etc. Each step so clear and simple.

Now, this was a considerably big occurrence in the game we call life and, of course, the aftermath also brought a great deal of grief and pain. At the same time, the natural unfolding of this very real life problem demonstrates our innate ability to engage in our most obvious next step, even amidst the most difficult of circumstances.

In the game we call business, the same ability and the same rules of engagement apply. At least as far as I can see, the effortless unfolding of life is universally at play in all of the areas in which we give our time and attention.

So, why might this matter to you as someone in business?

Because the opposite side of the coin is also something we are innately amazing at, and that’s getting lost in and slowed down by our thinking.

In my experience of life, at any given time we are in one of two places, more or less.

Either we are aware of, focussed on and engaged in the natural unfolding of life and our obvious next step. In which case we are profiting from the effortless momentum that comes with that state of being and doing.

(We had the great fortune to be in this space as my mother passed.)

Or we are aware of, focussed on and engaged in the energy of Thought. In which case, we are very likely to be self-consciously overthinking things and probably doing more talking, planning and action-taking than necessary, or engaging in feelings of doubt, guilt, pressure and worry.

The image that comes to mind is a sail boat being naturally propelled by the wind on its sails (= effortless momentum forward). Or in contrast, a sail boat with sails tied down, being slowly propelled by a human who is trying to row the boat with his hands (= effortful momentum forward).

Back to „Solo“…

Just like in „Solo“, in the game of life and business, we tend to do better when we are moving with the natural pace of the game, with little attachment to our current hand of cards and simply engaging in the next thing we know to do.

That’s the effortless momentum on offer for us all, a universal gift.

What can you see about this that is new and fresh to you?

CU again soon online :-)

You virtual coach,

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