“You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path”
You may recognise these words from Steve Jobs’ famous Stanford Commencement Address, in 2005. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it as a speech full of wise nuggets:
Diane came to see me for coaching. She’d been offered two different senior executive jobs, and couldn’t make up her mind which one to accept. Both jobs ticked all the boxes that were important to her – the right geography, were a good fit with her values, she liked the people she’d be working with, the right money and so on. She felt grateful and appreciated the opportunities life was putting her way.
But she was fretting – because the decision just wasn’t clear to her.
After she’d explained the situation to me, Diane said: “I don’t know why, but my wisdom just isn’t speaking to me this time… I keep going back and forth, first deciding I’ll go with job A, and then job B. It’s driving me crazy!”
I tend not to give advice or offer strategies, but I broke the rule this time.
“Toss a coin” I said. “When you do that, you’ll either get a strong intuitive message to comply with what chance decides, or a strong intuitive message not to. Then go with that.”
You see, I think the reason wisdom was silent for Diane on this occasion is that it didn’t matter. She’ll be fine, whatever decision she makes. In fact, she’ll be fine with or without both or either of the job offers.
For most of my adult life, I was a “make it happen and control everything” kind of gal.
If it’s to be, it’s up to me.
I now see that – whilst there’s nothing wrong with being proactive in the world – there are some things that are just ‘above my paygrade’.
There are things I can control (except I find I don’t want to as much), there are things I can’t control but can influence, and there are things I just don’t have any say over at all. And that’s perfectly OK.
The reason it’s OK is back to what Steve Jobs says in his speech. Life has a way of making sense only when you look back and see how the dots connect.
How meeting that person on that day brought new possibilities. How reading that book changed the way I saw the world. How making that decision that seemed illogical and stupid to those around me – but just felt completely right down to my bones – created the space to allow me to find what I’d always been seeking.
I don’t have to know what’s going to happen. I can enjoy just playing the game, hanging out in the unknown – confident that I’ll have my share of ups and downs, victories and failures.
In one sense, it doesn’t even matter much WHAT happens – because it’s not my circumstances that impact on my well-being or happiness anyway.
In other words, I finally learned to trust in the unfolding of this glorious adventure called Life.