Just Do the Next Right Thing
I imagine Ms. Overwhelm in my head. She’s in a huge gaudy neon pink prom dress from the 1980’s and way too much tulle to be cool, sitting right next to my todo list. She’s got a terrible New Yorker accent that makes my eye twitch, “Gaahhhhead, sweetie. Add just one moooore’ thing to that list.” As I add on, yet again, she laughs more maniacally than Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Night. She think’s she’s gonna take me down with that todo list.
Not today, sister.
I’m working on doing the next right thing.
I listened to this interview with Glennon Doyle Melton and Jonathan Fields a few weeks ago. In it, Glennon shared that she no longer plans six months or a year in advance. She waits for the knowing to rise up in her body and then DOES THE NEXT RIGHT THING.
How often do we get caught up with #allthethings? In DC, it’s frequent to hear that someone has weekends booked through spring of 2018. Ooooooooof, no thanks.
Doing the next right thing builds our self-trust, but when we’re not used to to listening it’s hard to hear. I asked a client recently to tell me what the next right thing was for her.
She sighed. “I don’t know, Jess. It’s too big.”
Women Suffer From Perfectionitis.
We can not answer the question about the next right thing, because there’s too much that might not be “perfect”.
Perfectionitis, a term coined by Dr. Amy Shah, has women display perfection in their image, academics, and relationships. She notes in this blog that the rate of anxiety in women is 50% higher than men, as a result of the inner turmoil that accompanies attempting to achieve outward perfection.
We are suffering from perfectionism. Our culture has taught us well. Do your hair, your makeup, and heaven help us if you say something that might offend someone. Perfectionism blocks us from determining our personal next right thing. Instead, it makes our todo list “Queen” of our lives AND external expectations become demanding leaders of our mind, our body, and our hearts.
We need a DTNRT (DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING) revolution.
Doing the next right thing is a radical act of soulful rebellion. And it’s essential that we start practicing doing JUST the next right thing if we want to be able to be able to live a life of purpose.
So you ask: WAIT! I’m craving donuts right now, like a dozen. Doing the next right thing suuuuure sounds like eating a donut.
Our cravings are different from our knowing.
Cravings are like the tide, they whoosh in and they whoosh out just as quickly. Sometimes, they are there to let us know that we are sad, mad, lonely, etc. However, our knowing is from the depths of our being. It bubbles up from our body, our mind, and our heart. As you do internal work of knowing yourself, trusting yourself, (I refer to it as building an internal compass) you begin to know how to identify the next right thing. You learn to distinguish what is a passing spark and what actually wants to be born. You learn how to sit with the first thing that comes and ask if that is really the thing to do. Often our knowings about the next right thing can not be ignored.
DTNRT as a Practice
This DTNRT is a practice. It might be honoring the simple things in life, like doing the laundry, making dinner, or running errands. It might be finally starting the book you’ve been thinking about writing. It might be redoing your resume to make a job change.
My next right thing is finishing this blog. Just this. This is all. Just this next thing. Which is why Ms. Overwhelm in her tulle is just hanging out with my todo list. All my energy is here with this blog.
2016 has brought events and changes and conflicts to a head that I just didn’t see coming. I believe we’re being called to stand and witness AND bring change. Our Ostrich days (burying our head in the sand) are over.
To do that, you must be willing to get slow, to listen in, and then to do just the next right thing. Leave the 2,324 things that come after it. You’ll get to them.
For now, do the next right thing.
You’ve got this.
What is your next right thing?
This post was originally published on JessicaLeighLyons.com and shared with permission.
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Jessica Leigh Lyons is a seeker & facilitator of joy with young professionals and one of Bossed Up’s featured Bootcamp Trainers. She is a Certified Life Coach through the International Coaching Academy and holds a masters degree in education from the University of Colorado, Denver as well as a bachelor of arts in international relations from the University of Delaware. With a decade of varied experience teaching & leading youth in a multitude of learning modalities, she has been coaching young professionals since 2013.