I saw something great today.
On my way to work this morning I noticed a mum with pram and little girl about to cross the road. The mother was pushing the pram and pulling on her little girl’s hand, trying to catch the lights when the little girl reached out her other hand and grabbed the light pole pulling them all to an abrupt halt.
Then the mum did something wonderful.
Firstly, she turned to the little girl and was obviously a bit frustrated. She may have even scolded her a bit. But when she saw the light had changed, she simply stepped back and sat down and waited. The little girl then came closer to her and I am not sure what they said or did but it seemed the little conflict was resolved. The woman stood up, took the little girl’s hand and walked forward in time to cross the road when the traffic lights next changed.
This all took less than five minutes, but it made my day.
Sometimes when we try to move forward, we see an opportunity that seems too good to miss. We rush forward but for some reason we don’t quite make it. We don’t apply for that job or course. We miss the closing date for a scholarship or competition. We see a moment where we should speak up, but then it passes and we never get to make our point.
What stops us might be the usual demands of time, other commitments or simply not believing we are good enough. But there might be something sitting underneath that we just have not noticed or want to ignore.
When this woman made the choice today to take a step back and connect with her little girl it reminded me of the importance of paying attention to the things that hold us back.
Our fears, doubts and uncertainties might frustrate and annoy us, but when we deny them and push them away we just cannot get very far.
Imagine if this woman had chosen instead to argue with her little girl or just pick her up and carry her across the road. She would have had a screaming, angry, squirmy child on her hands.
Instead she drew back for just a moment, took a pause, listened to what was going on and stayed connected to her little girl. And then just moments later they went ahead, in unity.
In their book Switch: How to change when change is hard, Chip and Dan Heath liken managing sustainable change, on a personal or organisational level, as aligning the elephant with the rider. That is, no matter how hard the rider (our logical brain) wants to go somewhere if the elephant (the emotional brain) is not aligned you will stay stuck.
So next time you feel held back from moving forward consider making another choice. Take a moment to check if someone in your internal space is hanging back. You do not need to try to fix, analyse, convince or change anything, just stay connected to your inner messages.
In choosing to stay connected to your inner self you will find the power to move forward with confidence, happiness and grace.