What Happens When We Are Willing To Wait For An Answer?


It can feel good to be able to answer “yes” or “no” to the questions about what we should do in life. It can feel good to be decisive and know exactly how we intend to resolve a problem or situation we are facing. Sometimes, however, the impulse to immediately decide “yes” or “no” to the everyday problems and situations that we face is more about playing it safe and clinging to certainty than it is about living life to the fullest.

This is why I love the idea of Maybe. Maybe allows us to contemplate the possibilities of life unfolding in many different ways without feeling the need for action the very minute a problem confronts us.  It allows us to pause and wonder if there is something else beyond what we are seeing in the moment. Maybe we have not explored how we can be more creative or more adventurous and maybe a problem can become the chance for a new direction. Maybe it is best to wait and let the situation unfold a bit more before acting in our accustomed ways.

After our pause we may come to the same “yes” and/or “no” conclusion or maybe we will try something new and it won’t work as well as we had hoped.  But MAYBE we will expand our lives and create new opportunities, meet someone new or just have an experience unlike any we have had before.

Maybe allows us to engage life full on because instead of looking only for what we “know” we expand our boundaries to an infinite playing field of all that can be. After all, are we really looking for certainty in our lives or are we looking to live a life of fulfillment, joy and abundance?

Just Maybe.

Image from: http://11even.net/2010/04/how-to-solve-the-rubiks-cube/fun/

Maybe, it is Good!!!

The other day my client Jessica, an interior designer, called me and said, “Allison, you are going to be so disappointed in me.  My largest client called me yesterday and said it was imperative that I call her back immediately.  When I could not get in touch with her, I immediately started to worry that something I ordered was incorrect or that she was unhappy with my work or perhaps she was going to fire me.” Jessica paused for a moment and after catching her breath, she continued. “I could not sleep last night and made myself sick with worry of what could possibly be wrong.  I finally spoke to my client this morning; she was calling to tell me that she wanted to introduce me to her friend who wants to hire a designer for her new home in Westchester.” After pausing again, Jessica gave a big sigh. “All that worry and emotional pain for nothing,” she said, “and the thought never even occurred to me that Maybe she wanted to give me some good news about a potential job.”

Of course, I was initially very happy for my client that she had a lead for some new work and I congratulated her.  After that, I said that I would never be disappointed in someone if they did not use Maybe. Maybe is not about handling something the right way or the wrong way. For me, choosing Maybe as a life philosophy is about living life with less emotional pain and suffering. If a situation in my life looks bad or something unexpected happens, instead of starting to worry or plan for the worst possible outcome, I pause for a moment and enter the realm of Maybe.  Maybe is a doorway for me to see that the situation that I am facing may still turn out to have a positive outcome or Maybe there is another way to achieve my goal or Maybe I will find peace with whatever I am experiencing.  This way, instead of shutting down with fear and worry, I am able to relax my mind and open up to all that is possible.

We all have many moments like Jessica had yesterday with her client.  Give Maybe a try and let me know what happens!!

Are You Waiting For One Thing To Happen In Your Life So You Can Be Happy and Stress-Free?

So many clients tell me that if one particular thing would happen in their lives, they would be happy and stress-free. The attorney tells me he just needs to win this one big case, the advertising executive tells me she just needs this one account and the retailer tells me he just needs to increase his sales. They all believe that if this one thing happens it will be the key that will open the door on their peace and happiness. Yet when the attorney wins his case, his secretary quits and he is aggravated and again waiting for his day of peace in the future. The advertising executive lands the client, but loses another.  And the retailer increases his sales but his rent goes up significantly.

Just like my clients, I think many of us walk around with a concrete image of what must happen for us to be content. Yet this way of thinking only serves to keep us in the illusion of the future and disappointment in the present. On some level we believe that if we can just solve a few of our problems, then we will be happy and free of stress forever. But we forget that life keeps changing and offering us new opportunities and new challenges.  What if we are putting off the enjoyment of our lives for a day that never arrives?

So how can we find some peace today wherever we stand? It can change with a fundamental understanding that life is not about arriving somewhere but instead it is about being here right now (wherever here might be). When we give up this belief that one day it will all work out, we allow ourselves to appreciate what we have.  Does it mean we won’t still strive to make it better? Of course not. But we can give up the resistance to “things are not right” and the illusion of “if I could just get this one thing then I would be happy.” If we start to accept life as it is, then maybe we can start to make peace with our circumstances and can find joy with life in each moment.

And DON’T WORRY – with that newfound peace and joy, you will work even more effectively towards the future that you would like to create for yourself. Let’s not forget – MAYBE is always at play!

How Can We Have Faith When Things Don’t Look Good In The Moment?

Businessman jumping

A few months ago, I spoke to an old friend named Ben who has been struggling with his business.  He owns a computer consulting firm and has lost many of his big clients over the last year to bigger consulting firms.  He must have told me at least ten times how the computer consulting business has changed.  He then told me he is a dinosaur in his industry and is just waiting for the month that he can’t pay his rent. No matter what I asked or suggested to him about pursuing new opportunities or technologies, there was a reason he gave me that it would not work out.   After speaking for thirty minutes, Ben said to me, “I wish I could have more faith that things will work out but I don’t.”

Ben has definitely encountered some bumps in the road the past year and is seeing his lack of success today as foretelling the worst for his future.  All of his past experience has created a belief that things won’t change and will likely keep getting worse.  How can Ben find hope and opportunity when he has no faith and his beliefs are filled with doom and gloom?

Often our beliefs offer us a path to certainty about our future. Our beliefs make assumptions about what tomorrow will look like, how it will feel and what it will mean for our lives. Faith, on the other hand, doesn’t create our reality according to our fears and desires.  It doesn’t decide how we are going to see a particular situation, but instead gives us the ability to move forward in our lives without judging the future and offers us the opportunity to embrace the unknown.  Often people tell us to just have faith that a situation will work out but we can’t find it in that moment because our past experiences are haunting us and the future is scaring us.  We cling to our fear and worries of “what will be” instead of letting go and embracing uncertainty.  As much as many of us would like to have faith, it is a road that can be difficult to travel.

But the good news is that when we lack faith the idea of Maybe can really help us.  Maybe is a connector between belief and faith. Those who have faith may have no use for Maybe, but for those of us who get stuck when circumstances seem dire or we don’t know what to expect or do next, Maybe provides us comfort.  Maybe enables us to question our beliefs (e.g., Maybe our beliefs are not true? Maybe something else will happen? Maybe this is good? Maybe things can get better? Maybe everything is okay?), and open our hearts to allow us to experience space and light in the midst of a crisis. In a way, Maybe creates a kind of “cognitive” faith that can help us get us through an unexpected situation.  And if we work to continuously experience this open space of Maybe, we will start to embrace the unknown as the unfolding of all possibilities.

With this in mind, Ben and I have been playing around with the idea of Maybe to try to alleviate some of his stress and negativity. Ben has been trying to admit that Maybe things will work out, Maybe he will get some new business, Maybe he can branch out into new technologies, or Maybe everything is okay right now and he will figure the rest out in time. The idea of Maybe is so effective for Ben because it continuously offers him more than that one possibility that was keeping him up at night and filling his mind with the fear that his business would fail. As Ben realized through Maybe that there are infinite possibilities ahead even though he can’t see them yet, he was able to relax at times and stay open to whatever life has to offer in his future.

I spoke to Ben yesterday and he has landed a few new doctors’ offices as small clients over the past few months.  He was so busy looking at getting large corporate clients he never considered that many smaller professional offices have many technology needs that he could service.  It is more work for him because he has more small clients instead of a few big ones but he is content that money is coming in and there is hope on the horizon.

Who knows, Maybe this experience will lead Ben to have some faith after all?  Just, Maybe!