Here’s a story about two cancelled holidays and a flexible working request. It’s also about giving up a need to control. Difficult. I know.
My husband and I were meant to go to Cyprus in May, and Croatia in June. A total of 15 days of sunshine, sea and a change of scenery. Instead, we, like so many others, were stuck indoors in the UK. When our holidays were cancelled, I cancelled my annual leave. This left me with a considerable amount of leave that I had to use up because I can only transfer a limited amount to the next year.
It felt like a waste to use the chunk of annual leave all at once. My solution was to take one leave day every week in October and November. I chose Wednesdays. Tuesday became fake-Friday and Wednesdays mini-Saturday. I used the Wednesdays to work on Natasja King Coaching. It was absolute bliss I tell you!
In December, I went back to working five days a week. I soon realised how much I valued those non-working Wednesdays, so I applied for flexible working last week.
The application was approved within a few days and without any hassle. Why? Because my bosses and HR knew how it would impact them (not at all, as it turned out) if I wasn’t logging on on Wednesdays because I had done it in October and November. Easy peasy.
Here’s where life gets crazy
I never thought that when my two holidays were cancelled, it would set in motion a series of events that would lead to Wednesdays being coaching day. All I knew was that cancelling holidays sucked and that I was waiting much too long for my EasyJet refund. There was no way I could have known that I would benefit so greatly from having a truckload of annual leave to use up while being stuck in the UK.
Around the same time that I was cancelling hotels, I was dreaming of building my coaching business. I wished that I could have more time to spend on coaching – which is precisely what a flexible working arrangement affords me. Only now, looking back, can I see the amazing sequence of events.
This is what I want you to take away from my story: you only need to have an idea of what you want. You don’t need to know how you will get it.
During a meditating last week, I had a vision of myself opening the door to a coaching client. I was in a bright and airy space. The walls were white panelling and natural light was flooding in. There was a desk and a blue sofa in this space. In the vision, I can also smell lavender that comes from the aromatherapy diffuser on the desk. I have a big smile on my face as I open the door to my client.
When I had this vision, part of me wanted to start asking questions: is this room in a house, or a separate building? Is it in a garden? If it’s a summer house, is it insulated? In which town is this room? Is there a toilet for my client to use and where did they park?
I am proud to say that I let those thoughts go and didn’t attempt to answer the questions.
(You can tell by the “quality” of the questions I was trying to answer, that I have quite a lot of experience in needing to control and to plan. About 30 years’ worth. Hence investing time in a meditation practise learning to let go and be in the Now. #workinprogress)
Can you see how attempting to answer those questions could have made me really tense and turned a beautiful vision into a source of anxiety?
If you have a vision of the perfect partner, house, job or anything else, just imagine what you need to imagine so that you can tap into the feeling of having it. Nothing more than that.
See the business card with your name and new job title and feel how proud you will feel of yourself when that card is yours – you don’t need to see the office address, company name, and the company logo.
See the body of your perfect partner, their smile, their clothes, standing in a place that has meaning to you and feel the joy and love when you are looking at each other – you don’t need to see the face in detail or know how you both got to that place.
What I have learned is that we don’t need to control the how, when and where. Our only job is to hold the vision and believe it will come true. Life will take care of the rest. Most of the time, we can’t even see that we are being expertly guided onto a path that will take us to the realisation of our dream. That’s a good thing. Because if we saw the whole path, we may want to take back control and we end up wandering into the bushes.