By Jalene Case
From playing a sport to working a job, the phrase “trying hard” implies that we’re attempting to perform at our very best, pushing ourselves harder to go beyond our limits. Why? I believe it’s because we want to be successful on our own terms.
We receive accolades for trying hard: “She’s a hard worker.” “He’s trying hard to be the best leader he can be.” Yay for us! Most of the time. The problem comes when trying imperceptibly slips from positive to negative.
On the positive side, trying drives us to go all-in toward what we truly want to accomplish. It feels light, invigorating, and clear, like we know what we want and how to get it.
On the negative side, trying forces us to do what we think we should do (a hallmark red flag!) which causes overcomplication and stress. It feels heavy, tense, and anxiety ridden with a tinge of panic, ready to explode at any moment.
What if the opposite could be equally effective and way more enjoyable? How might we try easy?
That’s what suddenly occurred to me in the thick of 2020 planning. I pressed pause on trying hard and began exploring what was already flowing easily toward me.
Here are some ways to experiment with trying easy. Take a deep breath with a long exhale, let your shoulders fall away from your ears, and give these a whirl.
Examine Energizing and Depleting
This simple step is essential. Consider every aspect of your life while pondering these questions: Which people and what activities energize and excite you? Which people and what activities deplete and drain you?
If you’re not sure, begin by paying attention to how you feel. For example, are some work projects easy to do because you love doing them? Do some tasks take a ridiculously long time because you dread doing them? Who are the people or groups you’re around that leave you feeling great, positive, energized? Who are the people or groups that leave you feeling exhausted, drained, even a bit depressed?
For this exercise, write what and who are energizing you and what or who are draining you. Follow the good juju to try easy.
Create a Sacred and Fun Space to Explore
Creating an intentional space to seriously play will loosen up that trying hard tension so it can relax into trying easy.
When I’m doing this activity, I love to take over an entire room! I stock up on flip chart paper, colorful sticky notes, and have lots of colored markers handy. Playing music that makes me want to move is a new tool for me. Its power to shift my perspective from stuck-in-the-same to anything-is-possible has surprised me. Leaving everything in place for a while means I can continue working in spurts over time and see the gestalt of the whole project.
Identify Your Support Peeps
Who are the people, groups, and/or businesses supporting you now? Those are your peeps! Make a list of people who support you personally, professionally, physically, intellectually, emotionally, and/or spiritually.
How might connecting with your peeps more intentionally help you go with the flow of trying easy?
Take A Break
This can be so hard sometimes! Stepping away for a break can unplug you from the trying hard circuit so you can make a conscious choice to reconnect with the strong current of flow. When you’re there, the buzz of electricity is palpable. Your brilliance can shine!
Capture Your Ideas
Find a method that works for you to capture what comes to you while you’re in the trying easy mode. It could be a spreadsheet, a form you create or find, colored markers on a flip chart, or an app. Documenting your ideas allows your brain to let go of them for now which builds self-trust and brings a sense of calm. You can rest knowing that your precious ideas are tucked away for safe keeping.
Experiment with trying easy and notice how it’s different from trying hard. What are the results? How does it feel? How might you tap into that easeful flow again? I’d love to hear what works for you! Drop me a line at Jalene@JaleneCase.com.