Aikido, Confidence, Procrastination

When a break is not a break…

As I woke up yesterday, I really thought I would not get through the day. So much resistance!
“I don’t know what I need to do to find more work. I have come to a wall. Nobody wants to hear me or work with me anyway! How can I convince any of the 10 companies on my list to enlist my services? How can I find other companies? Who needs to increase their confidence enough to want to want to actually do something about it? No one I can think of.” Those were the kinds of thoughts that were going through my head.

Then I had to go into town to take my son to his swimming lesson, as my wife was not feeling well (oh the joys of working from home!). I therefore could not shut myself in my office and pretend to be working, even though the only actual work I have done these last couple of days was change my desktop image (see this post). And after that, I decided, on a whim, to go and hang out in town. I was not going to do any work at home anyway – who was I kidding? Only myself. I ended up in a shopping centre, where I suddenly felt bad about all these shops being there and me not even having the courage to ask them whether they could use my services.
“They are only one outlet of a national chain. If anyone is going to take a decision, it is not the salespeople, but the manager. But they won’t be there. And they are only retail shops – the people who work there don’t need more confidence: people either buy or they don’t. Nothing to do with the employee…” Those were the types of very convincing, logical arguments coming from some part of my rational brain.

But there was one door I had never seen before. The management of the shopping centre. They need to find businesses to come and lease the spaces. They need to have confidence to negotiate the best possible rent. Maybe there I could give someone my card and create a good excuse for spending the day in town rather than behind the computer… So I walked in, armed with desperation and a business card.

As it turned out, they don’t think they need more confidence. But the Security guard, whose office is also in this area, was interested and took my card. Security guard! Of Course! Why didn’t I think of that before! They need confidence. And lots of it! When they patrol a shopping centre at night, it is all about confidence and the difference between fear and danger…

Suddenly my whole day was turned around. I was energised, had a reason to go back to my office and a whole new area of business that I could offer my services to.

Aikido to overcome resistance

Leave an empty space where resistance is trying to attack you.
Photo by: Kesara Rathnayake

It reminded me of what I do at Aikido. Whereas Karate is all about confronting the opponent, Aikido is about using the energy of the aggressor, taking away all resistance, confrontation, leaving an empty space where their attack is going, only to change the direction slightly, taking control of the movement, to be able to pin them to the floor.
That is what I did to the resistance I was feeling. I went with the resistance, going into town, rather than trying to confront it, leaving an empty space where it was trying to attack me (it was trying to convince me to not go to the office, but do something useless and it thought it had won). Then changed the direction slightly and took control of the movement, using the opportunity of being in town to find clients in a different manner than from home. And finally pinned it to the ground, by finding a whole new type of business I can pitch to, thereby renewing my enthusiasm to go out and find more clients.

So when you feel a really strong urge to do something different (and presuming you can), follow that urge. It may well be that the urge is actually trying to help you find something you did not know existed. It may well be that you will find something you have been looking for in the last place you look.

(Food for thought: You will always find something in the last place you look. Why would you keep looking, if you have already found it?)


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