Sometimes when you have a choice to make it can seem overwhelming – maybe it’s about a step in your career, a project, a relationship, a business venture, a move or something else. You see this choice as something looming in front of you because you haven’t figured it out yet. You think, “What if I make the wrong choice, what if I take this step and it turns out horribly, what if I do one thing and then I have start all over?” When you get into this state, it’s easy to become paralyzed. You fool yourself into thinking that taking no action is better than making a ‘wrong’ decision (this is different than giving yourself Space). If you’re feeling like this now or ever do in the future, jumping into Experiments is a perfect strategy for you to try.
Merriam Webster (m-w.com) offers us these definitions of Experiment:1) a scientific test in which you perform a series of actions and carefully observe their effects in order to learn about something; 2): something that is done as a test : something that you do to see how well or how badly it works. Ah, now that’s interesting. When we’re experimenting, we’re not necessarily trying to get it ‘right’. Instead, we’re taking action and then carefully observing the effect in order to learn something. We’re simply testing things to see how well or badly that works. Wow – the point is just that we get it to explore and learn. How liberating, wouldn’t you say?
Jumping into Experiments can look very different depending on you and what you’re moving toward. Here’s one example to give you a taste. Say you’re feeling overwhelmed with your schedule these days – your life is full and you can’t seem to get ahead. When clients come to me in this state, they often do feel paralyzed. It’s like they can’t make a change because any change feels like it will add to the overwhelm. Also, they might think they have to overhaul their life in order to make a substantial difference – again, more overwhelm. Or they think there’s some magic answer that they haven’t found yet that will solve this challenge.
Once I invite them to see this as an Experiment, they can often feel a bit more perspective. Together, we find some small shifts they can make in the next week that they think will make a difference. Sometimes it’s just one small thing – making a list, tearing up the lists & focusing on just 1 – 3 main things a day or week, getting up 15 minutes earlier to fit in a short walk, sleeping 15 minutes later to get more quality sleep. It could be any number of things. The main point, here, is not the activity, but the mindset – they’re just experimenting. They get to come back the next week and tell me how it went and we get to add, subtract, tweak to the formula and go into phase two of the experiment.
When we jump into the idea of Experimenting, all the pressure is removed. There’s a feeling of openness and lightness and discovery. It doesn’t really matter what you do or don’t accomplish – the whole point is to just record it as part of the research for future endeavors. You’re just out to see how badly or how well something works. There are no ‘shoulds’ or ‘musts’. You don’t need all the information beforehand because that’s what the Experiment is for – finding more answers or at least adding to the Knowledge bank.
This week you are invited to play with this idea of Experimenting. Notice what it feels like when you approach things in this way. And as usual, feel free to leave a question, comment or your thoughts in the Reply box below.