When Trusting the Process Goes Wrong
As I go into month four of my new job, it’s safe to say that the newness has worn off. It’s been replaced by a good amount of frustration, fulfillment and insecurity that comes with a steep learning curve and a perfection complex.
The things I’m doing now, I’ve never done before. It’s exciting to be rounding out my skills in an environment that embraces learning at a company that I love. At the same time, I’m longing for that sense of stability that comes with practice. The newness may have worn off, but I am definitely still green skillswise.
During one of my regularly scheduled venting sessions, a friend gave me some time tested advice: trust the process. It really got me thinking.
When we spurt out the cliche, “trust the process”, is it about surrender or empowerment?
The answer to that question dictates what happens in your waiting period. It’s the difference between 40 years and 40 days in the wilderness. Trusting the process isn’t just about surrendering to the notion that everything happens for a reason. On the contrary, the process must be trusted because it is the only thing that will mold you into the person you’ll need to be in order to flourish in your destination.
It’s one thing to make it to the mountaintop. It’s another to survive there. I’ve imagined what it’ll be like to accomplish this goal or that one in more variations that I can count. In all of those imaginations, what I didn’t envision were the burdens and responsibilities that come with them.
You’re not just magically going to land into your blessings and suddenly be the person you need to be too. There’s a duality “the process” grooms us for that we miss because of our tunnel vision.
In short: you have to become the person who lives on the level you’re reaching towards in order to actually get there.
You have to become the person who lives on that level in order to get there. Sounds backwards.
Seriously -- where did we develop this notion that we’ll magically adapt once what we asked for manifests? Where did the idea that one day you’re in the valley and in the blink of an eye, problems erased, now you’re in breakthrough. Where’s the growth in the silver platter we all dream of?
LIVING IN THE STRETCH
A life of purpose, of achievement, of fulfillment demands a mode of sacrifice called stretching. It’s reaching towards something you’ve never touched before and filling in the gaps so that you can finally lay hold of it. Rinse. Repeat.
So, how exactly can we trust the process in the active way we need to in order for it to mean something? By living in the stretch.
The preparation period between waiting and receiving is where you need to get ready. It’s where you work like you already got the promotion. It’s where you manage your money like you already have plenty of it to spare. It’s where you become before you are so that your gifts can make room for you.
A CALL TO EXCELLENCE
The most helpful part of my journey has been the shift in mindset that’s occured where I no longer look at the path ahead of me as something that will inevitably happen to me, but instead a call to excellence and a service to God. When I know that the way I use my gifts is both a form of worship and an act of obedience it makes excellence the only option. It makes old habits easier to break and the stretch easier to live in. Easier is obviously relative and there’s a choice to be made in mindset and in action every day. These 3 things make that choice easier to make:
The problem with most of our goals is that they’re ideas without strategy. Before you can work towards your best self, you need to tangibly decide who that is. Spend time thinking about that person. Grab a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side write out those qualities. On the other side write down what you’ll need to do to get there. Be realistic, set boundaries. Clear up the clutter in your brain.
Once you know what you’re working towards, find ways to pour into yourself along your journey. Change is hard just how old habits die. Part of edifying yourself is developing the new habits you’ll need to succeed at this thing though. This is where your discipline and consistency muscle kicks in. The more comfortable you become in these new changes the easier it’ll be to build yourself up in them. The other part of this journey is grace. Allow yourself a decent margin for error, dust yourself off, keep going.
You lay a foundation brick by brick, not all at once. That means you’ll have to work at this every single day. What are some small ways you can contribute to the success of your ultimate goals. When I made my vision board this year, I purposely broke it up into sections for this very reason. When I see all of the categories I can go through them and think about how I’ve worked towards them.
This even applies to goals that it feels like you have no control over. One of the things I am finally ready to attract is a loving partner. I obviously don’t know when or how he’ll step up, but opening my heart up for it is one step. The other is making sure that I am the kind of partner I’d want. It is a victim’s mindset that says you have no control. There’s always something you can do to move forward and that action is what the creator of the Universe rewards, big or small.
A promotion before its time is a burden in disguise. Approaching this process we all talk about as something that happens to you vs. something that happens for you is where we take the wrong fork in the road. Mindset dictates performance almost every time.