If you do X, then Y will be the result.

By on December 17, 2014

Mastering Soulful Success

To succeed in the adult world, we learn how to push, plan, set goals, strategize, and work hard. These concrete skills teach us that there is a direct link between cause and effect – if you do x then y will be the result. While this approach does get results, it has two downsides. 1) You start to believe that you can always control results. And 2) The nose-to-the-grindstone achievement approach often causes hard work to become the goal, leading you to lose sight of what you are really working for.

Fortunately there is another side to the process of creation that, if mastered along with the concrete skills above, brings achievement that marries success and fulfillment – cultivating faith and embracing flow. Soulful success requires you to have faith in yourself and your dreams while also understanding that you can’t control everything through plans and strategies. It requires the courage to have dreams even though you know that they might not turn out exactly how or when you want them to. It requires the faith that what you get, when you step into the flow is always better than what you thought you wanted to begin with. It requires, in the words of St. Francis, “the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.

One of the things I love about traditional Japanese art forms such as chado (tea ceremony) and ikebana (flower arranging) that I studied when I lived in Japan is that they account for this duality of skills that are required for mastery in any area. The diagrams of the various shapes that can be used to arrange flowers in ikebana and the number of times to turn the tea bowl are the easiest and most concrete level of learning. True mastery does not emerge until you know these basic skills so thoroughly that you can disengage your mind and adapt the application of your knowledge to the needs of the moment and the environment.

There is similar duality in aikido. In the same way that you need to learn the basic moves in aikido (punching, blocking, etc.), it is necessary to master the basics of achievement (planning, organizing, goal-setting, and pushing outside your comfort zone) when learning to create the world you want to live in. But once these basics have become internalized, the aikido student does not need to punch or block more often or harder, they need to learn to do it with more finesse. They need to learn to use the energy of what is happening around them in service of their objectives of winning the “battle”.

Mastering soulful success requires:

Mastering the basics of achieving: Goal-setting, planning, organizing, prioritizing, focusing, and creating systems are the basic building blocks of success. If you don’t have these skills, learn them. Once you learn them, make it a habit to use them.

Awareness and alignment with your true nature: If the goals you are striving for and the strategies you are using are based on “should” or aren’t aligned with your true values and strengths compelling enough to fuel and focus you through the challenges of achieving them.

Slowing down to pay attention: Tapping into the flow requires that you learn to watch, listen and to wait. Waiting makes most successful type A people nervous as they mistake it for doing nothing at all, but it is only in this space of waiting you are free to do the work of noticing –noticing the messages, synchronicities and coincidences around you that are trying to point you in the direction of who you are and what is wanting to happen. When you move too fast and are focused only on where you are going, you miss the information and opportunities in the present moment that could help you get there faster, more easily, and in ways that are more fulfilling.

Allowing: This is the hardest part. Allowing is tied up in our sense of our own worthiness. Most people find it much easier to feel they deserve something when they have worked for it. Allowing is not about sitting around and waiting for things to happen. It is about listening to yourself long enough to get clear about what you really want, and paying attention to the signs of where the energy of the situation is trying to flow. From this place of clarity, it is easier, and more productive, to take action. Allowing is not about being passive. It is about actively re-engaging with the energies of the moment to determine right action. This means loosening your grip on your plan and staying open and attentive to how the Universe is supporting you to live your purpose.

The real joy on the journey to success comes from embracing the duality, learning the science and developing your artistry in applying it, and, ultimately, seeing success not as something to be achieved, but as an adventure to savored.

About Andrea Jacques

Andrea Jacques is the founder of Kyosei Consulting and the author of Wabi-Sabi Wisdom: Inspiration for an Authentic Life (available on Amazon.com). She has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of people and businesses worldwide, five of which were in Japan. A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work integrates spiritual insight with top-tier leadership, wellness and sustainability consulting to help individuals and organizations build thriving, purpose-driven cultures where employees know their work truly matters. She can be contacted through her website at www.kyoseiconsulting.com