I used to write about things like big visions and impossible futures.
And while I still believe in both, my experience is that many people tune out when I write that way. It feels too daunting. Life is already hard, and now you’re asking me to dream bigger?
Maybe my “impossible future” is that I want things to be just a little bit easier. A little less overwhelming.
That’s where “What if?” comes in.
My experiment with “What if?”
My experiment with “What if?” is actually a pretty big one. (At least if feels big to me.)
“What if I could create an abundant life in a beautiful place doing work that I am passionate about with people I love?”
Your “What if?” might involve moving across the company and changing careers at age 50 (as mine did).
It might be bigger. It might be smaller.
But “What if?” conveys a sense of play that seems to work a lot better than planning.
The folly of five year plans
For one period of my life, early in my career, I would wake up every morning and think about my five year plan—where I wanted to be, what title I wanted, how much I was going to be making, and so on.
And it only took me about fifteen years to figure out that I had no idea what was going to happen in five years. When I was a partner at a global consulting firm, I had eight jobs in 15 years. Sometimes, I left home one day with one job and came home with another. I planned for very few of those jobs. One day I actually came home with the news that we were going to be moving across the country.
What’s that quote? “People plan and God laughs?” Somehow, the universe always seems to provide what is needed, yet it does so in ways that I could never predict. (See my “what if” above.)
“You don’t need to know how.”
I recently had an insight that felt, in my bones, one hundred percent true, while at the same time going completely counter to my past tendency to come up with five-year plans every morning.
You see, I’ve felt compelled to write, to share, to dive deeper and deeper into these topics of how we find our way in the world, how we become more human, how we lead from a place of authenticity and even love.
And yet there are days where I send email after email to total strangers and have no idea what to do next.
There is still that muscle in me, still that tendency, to want to know what to do. To want to make sure that I am “working hard,” so that I can “earn” this thing called “success.” I want know how things are going to turn out and when I am going to have “made it” down this new path, this “what if” experiment that, seemingly at the universe’s urging, I created for myself.
But the insight was this—
“You don’t need to know how.”
I don’t need to know how this is all going to come together. And, when I can trust, there is great peace in this.
Your invitation to the universe
I believe that this system that we are all part of is perfect at bringing us exactly what we need exactly when we need it. And when I look at the biggest gifts in my life, I had no idea when or in what form it would come. I did what I felt I was supposed to do, and then the universe, time after time, did its part.
“What if?” is your invitation to the universe.
“What if?” is the invitation that every one of my clients has made.
“What if I can make more money working for an organization with a mission that inspires me?”
“What if I can create new line of business while my employees take over the existing one?”
“What if I can be the leader my organization needs?”
“What if my team can be as committed as I am?”
While the universe never seems to answer in exactly the way that I (or my clients) expect, it does always seem to give us exactly what we need.
And if you’d like a guide as you live out your version of this mystery, I’m happy to help you in any way I can.