Be Source, Not Result: Press Pause on Shame, Anxiety, and Regret

Few things are as pleasing as when my “yoga world” and my “business world” intersect in an overt way, as they did last week.

Here’s what occurred:

I met with a first-time client who confided to me that, while he was interested in learning about presentation skills and communication methods, his ultimate goal for our work together was to leave those around him in no doubt that he was the ripe for being promoted.

“OK,” you may be thinking, “what’s wrong with that? It’s good to have goals.”

I agree.

The tricky bit is when our goal—our desire for a specific outcome—begins to inform our decision-making… and we begin contorting our answers and our actions and our inherent knowing to fit that desired outcome.

Why did I have such clarity about the minefields of this mindset?

Well, my yoga-world was deep into the Bhagavad Gita—that most-famous poem about the pitfalls of taking action from either your desire for a specific result or from your fear about a possible outcome.

How does the Gita recommend our intentions remain pure in make-or-break situations?

  1. First, get clarity on what the situation is – as opposed to what we want it to be OR what we fear it might become. This is hard. This requires relinquishing our likes, preferences, and fears.
  2. Second, ask yourself, “What is my role in this situation? Am I meant to act? If so, how?”

Why are those questions important?

Because sometimes, in the deepest, wisest part of ourselves—at our Source—we know that what we need to do will cost us the outcome we desire.

And sometimes we are meant to do nothing, and it’s hard because we think, “But if I just did this one little thing I’m sure I could fix/change it…”

“Hhmmm,” you may be thinking, “None of this sounds fun.”

You are right. Operating in this way—from the source within you that constitutes your most integrated self—does not ensure fun, or happiness, or even the outcome you most ardently desire.

What it does ensure, however, is that the action you take doesn’t leave you with karmic outcomes along the lines of shame, anxiety, regret… the wriggling thoughts that keep us all up at night.

In other words, you will have peace, even if it’s not peaceful.


For more on moving through the world in ways that might, perhaps, feel awkward take a look at “Try Softer, Not Harder”