“I’m just trusting the process,” someone says–and maybe “someone” was you, recently.

So how do we know when that’s true–when you’re trusting the process, and you’re grounded in that, versus when you’re toting the line, but it’s really a cop-out, an excuse to not move until you feel no fear (a futile exercise)?

 

The Little, Niggling Feeling

“I’m trusting the process,” you say to people who are asking you about the business you just started, your difficult relationship that’s on the rocks, the health crisis that just came up.

And somewhere, deep inside? There’s a little niggling feeling as if you just lied. You aspire for that statement to be true, yet you know it’s not.

Complicating matters might be an inner critic chorus: “Trusting the process is bullshit; it’s an excuse. Let’s see action–now!”

You want to “trust the process,” yet some part of you–as weeks, perhaps even years–start to knit themselves together, you wonder.

Wouldn’t I have seen a result, by now?
Shouldn’t something have changed, by now?
If trusting the process really worked, wouldn’t it be different, by now?

 

Waiting For Fearlessness

When Inner Critics aren’t running amok, there can be a flip-side of either stubbornly staying the course, because that’s what “trusting the process” is supposed to mean–or not starting at all, because you’re waiting to “feel right” before making a move.

People who wait for things to ‘feel right’ before they make a move spend a lot of time waiting. And waiting. Waiting for an absence of fear and then call that “trusting the process” is trying to avoid feeling fear, a futile effort. People who rigidly attach to how it’s “supposed to look” may or may not get what they want–though they’ll definitely have less fun along the way.

And perhaps you’re vacillating between all three:

Door #1: Inner Critic tells you not to trust the process, to just MAKE IT HAPPEN.
Door #2: You’re “trusting the process” by waiting for it to “feel right,” and not in a way that has ease and flow–deep down, you know that you’re resisting taking action.
Door #3: You’re “trusting the process” by refusing to move off of a planned course, even though you aren’t seeing the results you want.

Let’s just be frank. All of these options suck.

 

Truly Trusting the Process

When I’m trusting, I’m not attaching to outcomes, which means that I’m not in a state of anxiety.

The person whose Inner Critic is driving them to act is not trusting the process. They’re trying to bend the world to their will.

The person who is waiting for it to “feel right” (aka, not feel any fear) before taking action is not trusting the process–they’re trying to control the process.

The person who is rigidly sticking to a goal is not trusting the process, they’re living in scarcity, thinking that whatever they have planned for themselves is as good as it gets, so they’re not opening to the possibility that with ease and flow, a bigger and better game could be played.

“Trust the process” is about trusting that any time something is born, there’s a process to it that gets acted out, and some parts of that process proceed more cleanly than others. It’s the mantra of remembering that lives don’t shift in neat, clean, 1-2-3 step plans. It’s a surrender of all pre-determined attachments, a surrender of the rigidity that it must look a certain way.

The beautiful thing about this sort of surrender is that when it happens, a great wide expanse of fear-less-ness (fearing less) opens up.

Whether or not the business succeeds becomes less important–because trusting the process gets you curious about who you are and who you’re choosing to be as life unfolds in its own perfect way. Whether or not the relationship succeeds becomes less important–because trusting the process gets you curious about what there is to learn.

Really, to even use a word like “succeed” is strange in this context. How can anything “fail” if your entire mental mindset is one of excitement and curiosity, to see what’s next?

Trust that there’s some value in seeing what comes your way as opportunity, not disaster. Trust that it’s okay when the messy parts show up–no one is getting a “get out of jail, free” card here, even the people who look like they “have it all together.”

And, by the way, I’m not suggesting that trusting the process is about uber-conceptualizing pain, trying to rush to turn pain into some kind of life lesson. Sometimes life fucking hurts.

Trust in that process–the “life fucking hurts” process–as well. There’s gold for you there, too.