Spontaneity is an idea I’ve been playing with for years, and it really helps me live a calmer life. I’m one of those people that is always thinking about things. My mind latches on to ideas, plans, and imagines.
I truly do want to be spontaneous…and it’s not easy for me. I’m often thinking more about the next thing than the current matter. One of the really great parts for me about becoming a coach was learning how to be really present with my clients. Precisely focusing on hearing what they are saying. Asking leading questions without having the ‘right answer’ to the question in mind. It feels like magic to me! I get in a zone when I’m coaching. One of my personal clues that tells me I’m truly in the zone, is when I find myself out of my chair, moving around the house. When I’m unmistakably ‘hot’, all of the perception and filters are off. I say what comes to my mind without judgment. My perspective is that whatever comes up in conversation is somehow needed, even if it’s just there to disagree with. In the heat of the moment, I may say “An image of a bird just came to me” and when my client responds to that notion with “I’m thinking of an otter” we will then talk about the otter. The otter will have meaning to the client.
All of that good fodder comes from being authentically present in my conversation with the client and all the other things going on at that moment.
My genuine trick to being able to be present with the client is behind the idea of “Planning to Be Spontaneous.”
If I’m taking a trip I know there are certain things that my brain will fiddle with incessantly if I don’t have them planned out. Elements like where am I going to sleep? Do we have a map (No, I do not want a smartphone) is it likely to rain?
I don’t want to keep rehashing something I’ve already learned. What I really like is to be able to enjoy being present in the moment and not worrying about the details. For example, when I used to go camping I had crates already set up so we could ‘grab’ and go. There was a list, and I’d make sure the items I thought might be helpful, or even fun were packed. I didn’t have to start from scratch each time.
One of my clients has a particular gift in this ‘being in the moment/spontaneous’ thing. Recently he had an appointment to ‘pitch’ some possible investors on an idea. As the meeting got started he realized that they were ‘pitching’ him, not the other way around. Many of us might have been so focused on our ‘needs’ to not even notice what was really happening. He was clever enough to set his notes aside and just listen.
Here are some suggestions on how to plan for that ‘spontaneous’ perspective:
- Plan specific pieces that might make things easier
- Like writing out lists
- Think about how you want to ‘be’ more than what you want to have happen
- As in, the meal doesn’t have to be perfect, what you want is to have fun!
- Check your general anxiety level, and give it a number.
- If it’s low, great! If it’s not, do something you know will soothe your nerves
- Find ways to inject some fun or humor into something stressful to break the tension
- Singing, blowing bubbles, etc?
Personally, I had a childhood fraught with anxiety and odd things happening in many different directions all the time. That experience without a doubt led to a correlation between that and my Plan to Be Spontaneous perspective! It has and will continue to serve me well.
You might find it a good idea too?
Shell Tain, The Untangler
I love spontaneity! I just wish I was more open to it. For me, it’s a great way to learn new things and have the new experiences I frequently crave. No doubt, spontaneity would be SO much easier if I planned for it, like setting aside “mad money” and snacks in the car (particularly for my kids who have natural curiosities). Thank you for the idea of planning, Shell! Planning is also something that brings me peace.
Great reminder to focus on presence and FUN. Thank you
Love it! Thanks, Shell, for sharing this insightful and valuable tool for living!