One of the themes that runs through my work is the distinction between the creative power of thought and the resource-depleting practice of wishful thinking. In other words, how does the Law of Attraction work, really?
And how can we use it to manage for happiness?
There’s a paradox at the heart of the Law of Attraction. On the one hand, thought has the power to bridge current reality and a dreamed-for outcome. 100% of our experience of the world is created by our thinking in the moment. Where things get screwy is when we imagine that we can and should control our thoughts.
Worse, the Law of Attraction can be an invitation to ungrounded wishful thinking. By definition wishful thinking keeps us and what we wish for separate. The wish is always a distant dream.
The risk is that we will reject or even resent current reality in favor of what we think would make us happier in the future. In that moment we forget that it’s thinking itself that produces our experience of happiness or unhappiness, not something in the outside world.
With this in mind, here is a quick reality check. After all, your possible dream begins here and now, not there and then.
You will make mistakes
Hello! Mistakes happen. If you position yourself as a know-it-all, mistakes can be fatal. Position yourself instead as a human being, a learner, an adventurer, and your mistakes become platforms for next steps.
Not everyone wants or needs what you have
That’s good news, because odds are that you can’t serve everyone anyway. Cultivate the courage, integrity, and clarity to listen deeply to prospective clients. That way you will tune yourself and your offers to the people you are meant to serve. You can concentrate your efforts on refining your offers and selling to people who do want what you have, and you can let go of the rest.
Obstacles are essential to creating
Opposition is an essential shaper of the creative process, closing off some choices and pointing in new, sometimes completely unfamiliar and unexplored, directions. Think of it as putting banks on a river. Without those banks, a river’s flow loses force. Add banks, and you focus and direct a powerful flow.
Humbly welcome opportunities to profit
Remember the Marianne Williamson quote, “We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?”
Who are you to not profit from your work? It’s simply wasteful not to harvest, use, and recycle the gifts we’ve been given. Let’s get a clue and stop starving ourselves and our businesses of the oxygen they need to thrive.
Clients have bad days, too
Some times they’re going to take it out on you. That doesn’t mean you have to slink home licking your wounds, nor does it mean you get to strike back. It certainly doesn’t mean you have to accept abuse.
When you feel unfairly used, take a few deep breaths, notice what you wish were different, and remember that we’re all human. Maybe it’s time to do some boundary maintenance. Are you pretending that you need to please everyone or that everyone needs to like you in order for you to thrive? Look to yourself, not because you are to blame, but because you are the only one whose behavior you can manage.
Sometimes whole systems go wrong
Or you find out too late that a new project was not quite ready for prime time. (Tell me about it.) At times like this you get to practice being available and responsive to client needs while also taking care of yourself.
Sometimes you won’t (yet) know how to solve or resolve the problem, and you may resent the time you’re using to reassure clients instead of getting things on track. Breathe. Learn to say, “I don’t know, and I do care, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.” Practice saying it with dignity, conviction, and patience. Take some time to wonder what you would need to believe in order for all of this to feel right and true.
It takes a village to succeed at self-employment
Self-employment doesn’t mean we don’t need or want support, though we may be the last to realize it. Spend some time wondering how other people might want you to thrive. Let your imagination run free as you speculate on what kinds of collaboration could work for you. Turn your complaints about networking into dreams of your ideal support system. What would your business look and feel like if you knew you did not have to have it all together because there was lots of help at hand?
Manage for happiness
In any given moment 1oo% of what we experience is the product of our thinking. That means that happiness and success are functions of our thinking in the moment.
But that doesn’t mean we have to wrestle with negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Our default setting as human beings is innate wellbeing. That’s why I say manage for happiness. Tune into the experience of wellbeing whenever it occurs. Allow it to expand. Whenever possible make your decisions from there.
It begins with what is, in this moment
The secrets to creating the possible dream are all related to accepting what is, which includes accepting the support that is everywhere around you and accepting your own desire to build a business that adds real value in the world and allows you to thrive. Some days it will be easier than others to believe that reality and your dream can co-exist. But if you persist with humility, passion, and trust, your dream itself will teach you how to make it real.