‘Trust the lord and tie up your camel’ I love that saying! It’s a wonderful antidote to the claim that positive thinking is all you need to be successful. I agree that positive thinking is important but unless you’re also willing to get in amongst it and take the sensible actions (tying up your camel), good fortune will never come your way
Back in the ‘70’s I enjoyed reading Ram Dass – still like his work actually. One of his regular instructions was that we have to ‘show up’.
Sadly I can’t now find the actual quote, but the essence was that we can ask god (whatever that means for you) for what we need and use positive affirmation to align our minds so that the universe can create on our behalf. So far, so familiar. What Ram Dass added was that we have to play our part – we have to show up and take action, otherwise nothing will happen. The universe needs evidence that we’re willing and prepared to act.
I always think of the camel when people tell me how lucky I am. It’s a regular comment when people hear about our family. We’re close; we live close and we spend a lot of time together. We actually seem to like each others company, but I don’t believe that’s luck. We’ve all just kept ‘showing up’. We’ve put the effort in to make the relationships strong.
That’s not to say that we don’t mess up. Of course we do and then it seems like the opposite of luck that we’re so close. But we just have to keep on ‘showing up’ and sort it out. Tough sometimes, but always better in the long run.
Luck is hard work
Having had two major careers and built each one from scratch, I can affirm the importance of vision and positive thinking. Each time I had to work out where I was going and why it mattered to me. Holding to the vision was a perfect example of me ‘trusting the lord’.
When I set up Great Companies Consulting (GCC) in 2002, I’d already been working for a number of years as an Associate Consultant. My colleagues had been a tremendous support as I learned my craft – giving me feedback (good and bad); helping me navigate the switch from psychotherapy to business; keeping me smiling at the end of a tough day. It was a really demanding transition and hard going at times, but they were a true gift from the universe – not least because they expected me to show up and learn. By the time I left, I was working well and ready to go it alone.
One way I show up is by offering my services for free to a good cause or to let people see what I can do. I’d like to say it was all magnanimous, but I suspect there’s some self doubt in there too. Whatever the driver, it’s a style that’s makes me a good networker and opens some interesting doors.
Like the time I was asked to go and work on the Best Companies to Work For list by the person bringing it to the UK. He heard a talk I gave and thought we could work together. That one opportunity – plus a year of hard work – gave me a differentiator in the crowded field of management consultancy: a real understanding of what it means to be an Employer of Choice. The lord was certainly inspired that day, but without tying up my camel and getting myself out there, I’d never have been in the room for the offering to be made.
It’s hard to believe I managed it
As I set up GCC, I also started writing my first book. I’d developed a horror of walking into a bookshop and seeing ‘my’ book written by someone else. I realised my psychology experience plus an understanding of what it takes to be a great company gave me a new perspective. So in one of those hutzpah moments I decided to go for it.
The ‘lord’ may well have driven my moment of inspiration, but it was the ‘camel’ that kept me going as I set up a business, conducted a year of research and wrote a book in the evenings and weekends.
Inspiration is a wonderful thing
I love those moments when thoughts come together and I feel inspired to action. But I know that I need to keep showing up – day after day – to make sure the inspiration comes to life.
So yes, I am lucky and I’ve made it happen, even though it’s not always clear how I’ve made it happen. It’s not unusual to put in real effort on a particular opportunity only to find that something much better comes out of left field. I believe that’s because I was showing up – I was putting energy out, so energy came back to me.
So the trick is to keep ploughing on and tying up your camel. Take steps to realise your vision. If you’re not totally sure what to do, do what’s in front of you – just make sure you’re taking some action towards your goal. Get out and tell people about it. Be generous – offer your knowledge and expertise. Build relationships, Show the world you mean business and there’s a real chance the world will step up to meet you.
So do ‘trust the lord’
But be very clear that he/she/it won’t do it all for you. Show up, show willing and you’ll suddenly find you really are very lucky!