Confessions of a Quick Start

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I was so frustrated. I’d spend almost two hours trying to figure out a new platform to use for my email system and had more questions than answers. It was past my bedtime, I hadn’t accomplished what I’d intended, and I could feel the tension in my back and chest constricting into knots. "I’m good at figuring things out," I told myself. What was my problem? Everyone says this system is so intuitive – why hadn’t I been able to set up this one simple thing.

The judgments went on and on until I eventually went to bed and came back to my breath and my evening gratitude practice. But I’ll be honest – it took several good breaths before I could focus on what had gone right instead of letting all that had gone wrong.

And then it hit me (well, ok...it hit me this morning as I was writing in my journal) – I am what the Kolbe A Index calls a “quick start.” My primary action mode is to “innovate” (aka dive in head first) when faced with a question or uncertainty. And sometimes, this action mode of experimenting, improvising, and defying the odds works well for me. But other times, like last night...it sucked up all of my energy and led me down a rabbit hole of wasted effort.

What is so bad about being a quick start?

Well, nothing. Except for the moments that you do as I did, and rush into something head first, gleefully even – only to realize that you were spending all of your time, effort and energy on the wrong thing.

Maybe you’ve done that too? Once or twice?

Because oh by the way…the thing that I was trying to figure out...there were tutorials. Videos. Articles on how to set things up. But guess who skipped right over those, because clearly, I would be able to figure things out on my own? Yup. That would be little old me.

Where are you spending your energy?

Imagine if instead of being so set on teaching myself, I could have watched the videos. Gone through things step by step.

Instead of hanging my head between my hands after two hours, I could have been fast asleep – with a finished product done.

Instead of getting myself worked up into a tizzy of feeling overwhelmed, I could have read the book that is on my night stand or even spent a bit of time cuddling with my husband.

I could have used my energy to focus on what really matters to my essential self, to the things that make my heart go pitter patter, instead of an email subscription form that I was so hell bent on creating because it is what I am “supposed to do” as a life coach trying to grow my practice.

The beauty of this whole comedic evening is that not one of the things that I did in those two hours was in line with my intentions. And given that I have four different intentions for the year – and am a queen of over-generalizing to make things fit into themes – you’d think I could have extrapolated some connection. But nope. Nada.

The only connection to my intention was my reflection this morning of “Seriously? Talk about the opposite of practicing determination without expectation.”

Here it is. My quick-start confession.

I like to get things done. Fast.

I often feel like I need to figure things out right away all by myself.

Asking for help, even though I have gotten better over the years, is still not easy for me. Especially if asking for help means that I have to slow down.

I fall down the rabbit hole of expectation and pre-conceived notions getting a head start on something just because it was recommended by a mentor or someone I respect – without always thinking about if it is the right thing FOR ME.

I allow myself to get sucked into an “I must do this now!!!” feeling that is steeped in expectation and probably fear. Call it control. Call it looking too far ahead too soon. Call it a lack of acceptance for the moment.

It is in those moments that I force time – where I lose track of the foundational steps that I actually need. The big and little moments that are more important than the final outcome.

But when I act with purpose? With intention? When I slow things down long enough to check-in with my inner self and make sure that my innovative ideas are purposeful...and am able to commit to something as my best self without an attachment to the outcome? It is in those moments where my quick start tendencies can be used for good.

When I slow things down long enough to check-in with my inner self and make sure that my innovative ideas are purposeful...and am able to commit to something as my best self without an attachment to the outcome?

Sometimes all it takes is a few breaths to re-center. Other times it takes a good sit with my journal or a quiet yoga practice to remember what is important. Dancing and singing out loud work too.

But it is always worth it. Because it is in those moments where my quick start tendencies can be used for good.