The Gift of Discernment – Taking Aim

Is it possible to have too many opportunities and ideas?  Absolutely, if you have more ideas and opportunities than you can handle. And this can happen when practicing curiosity and audacity.  These two behaviors are associated with one of my favorite Tom Peters’ concepts – “Ready, Fire, Aim!” 1   Curiosity gets you “ready” and then you “fire” with audacity.  The resulting plethora of ideas and opportunities is ready for you to curate and that requires the next practice, discernment.   Discernment is the “aim” piece. You become the Curator of your ideas so you can focus on the opportunities most likely to yield success.  Increased clarity and focus are the gifts that a good discernment process will bring.

When your mind is churning with ideas it can be quite a noisy place.  It is easy to get carried away and find yourself overwhelmed.  Remember, just because something is a good idea  doesn’t mean it is a good idea for you.  Find your way to a place of discernment, a place of silence, and give yourself the gift of clarity.  There are so many ways to practice discernment; alone, with a trusted friend or advisor, even in a group.  The critical elements of discernment are silence and openness. This process moves you out of your head and into your heart.  Not the emotional heart but the heart of your being, your core.

Journaling has been one of the most fruitful discernment practices for me.  The great thing about journaling is that it is for you and only you.  Poor grammar and spelling, ill-conceived ideas and rants are totally acceptable.  Just write.  And write some more.  Write at least three pages at a time to move yourself from your head into your heart.  Find a time in your day that works for you and try to journal daily; it takes as little as twenty minutes.  Follow the flow of your thoughts and allow them to speak – even if they sound ridiculous. Play around with “what if” scenarios to get a sense of where you have reservations or where you feel your energy rise.  See where you get stuck.  Pay attention and be compassionate with yourself!!

Your deeply held beliefs and values will speak to you out of the silence.  Listen and process what you hear.  Share what you are learning with a trusted friend or advisor.  Understand that when your closely-held values are honored in your work it naturally becomes more satisfying. Working outside of your values or in direct conflict with your values will leave you spiritually bankrupt and exhausted.  It is imperative that you walk your path with integrity and authenticity.  I’m not saying it is easier, I’m saying it is more life-giving to work in alignment with your deeply held values.

Working with individuals and groups in discernment is one of my favorite things to do.  It is a privilege to bear witness to the process of birthing and developing new dreams, ideas and processes.  Having a facilitator who is not a stakeholder in your dream can be extremely helpful.   Contact me and let’s talk about your process.

1 In Search of Excellence, Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies, Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.

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