“Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought?”
Hmm. Well, yes, those are two ways. In fact I just woke from a dream with a brilliant idea for one of my businesses and I find this does tend to happen. The key is to take action in that very moment, which isn’t always practical. If you’ve woken to the alarm clock, for instance, at 7 a.m. and you’ve got to Get This Show On The Road involving kids to school and so on, it’s going to be 9.30 until you can take action on that waking thought, even if you can remember it by then.
They do say we should keep a dream diary and write down what we dream and that ultimately this will add up to some useful pointers about how we might choose to live our lives. But I’m often more motivated just to fire up the laptop in my nightie and crack on with following my inspiration. You?
Writing next. And yes, that’s also a good way to work out what I want, what I really, really want, especially if I use it as part of a daily habit or spiritual practice. I’ve been daily journaling for years now, possibly decades. A much loved friend gave me a beautiful Mont Blanc fountain pen and I have a stack of gorgeous notebooks and it would be hard to find a pleasure more exquisite than the feel of the ink nib gliding silkily across the page.
From time to time I let my writing habit segue into Morning Pages (see 750words.com) and they are very definitely a discovery tool to find out what I’m thinking. Sometimes I am surprised and even quite taken aback by what appears on the page, what flows through the pen, apparently bypassing my brain
Joan Didion is a fabulous writer. I recommend her The Year of Magical Thinking (it’s not what you think). And it comes as no surprise to me that a writer would discover her own thinking, her own messages from her soul, from dreaming and writing.
But my experience of entrepreneurs is that we think with our mouths open, that we get clear by talking. If we have a skilled coach who allows enough silence, we get to hear what we just said and the penny drops. Some of the most powerful coaching sessions I’ve been privileged to share with my entrepreneurial clients over the years have simply been a space for them to talk and to clear their heads, dump their busyness.
Sometimes, when it feels right, I just let them talk and talk and talk until they’ve emptied themselves. Then a magical little space appears in which they can draw breath. Sometimes they say to me “are you there?” when they realise the stream of verbals they’ve brought to our time together over the last forty or fifty minutes.
Yes, I am here. I’m giving you a damned good listening to. And now that you are clean and clear and empty and fuss-free, I can ask you one powerful question (if you need it) and then you’ll know what you were thinking, and how you are going to go off and be in the world until we come together again for some more magic.
But what value has all that dreaming, writing, thinking and talking if we are not listening? What if no-one’s providing that listening space to you or for one reason or another you cannot hear – or you are blocking – your own messages? Your gut is talking to you, your subconscious is guiding you and brilliant ideas just come so long as you provide the space and the silence.
Are you available?
Can you hear?
I’m going to be offering some listening sessions free and gratis to my local community in my friendly neighbourhood coffee shop. Creating a space in our busy lives enables us to be happier, healthier and more successful in business, if that’s what we desire, and it all begins with good listening.
Joan Didion has a system for discovering her own thinking: dreaming and writing. My intention is to provide a peaceful space in which we can be all be heard so that we can then hear the messages from our inner guidance systems and from our own (entrepreneurial) minds and hearts and souls.
Find out more about how we might work together in this way: Time to Think