When you make a recipe do you follow it to a T, or do you add and subtract according to how creative you’re feeling in the moment?
One time, when I was running a substance abuse prevention program for our local school district, I was driving around a car full of teenagers. We were going to do a presentation, and this was when GPS’s first came out. The GPS in the car told me to turn right, and turning right was clearly a dead end. There were signs and you could even see the dead end, but I followed the GPS faithfully, and there I was turning right.
If there’s anyone who doesn't let you get away with things, it’s teenagers. So they asked, what are you doing? It was embarrassing, and it was also a lesson in following my instincts, using my brain, and using my creativity rather than just following the directions.
This doesn't mean we always need to reinvent the wheel. If someone did something in the past we don’t have to do every single thing from scratch and start over. We can learn from other people and use what they’ve done, but the people who’ve done extraordinary things and have discovered new things have all been people who have done it their way. They’ve taken the basic ingredients and they’ve thrown out the recipe and added maybe a little more allspice than it called for and perhaps a little less cinnamon and they mixed it up and saw how it sat with them. Maybe they gave it a taste, but they did it to their satisfaction. They didn’t do it to anyone else’s satisfaction.
What about those times that you didn't even mean to deviate from the directions or the instructions, and you ended up creating your own signature chili or you found a new way home that was much more beautiful and maybe even quicker than the regular route. It can happen by accident, and those are little notes from God saying, "Try something new." Look at how much more life there is than what you’re are open to.
Open yourself up.
When you don’t know the path and you are creating something from scratch and doing it your way, sometimes it is harder. There’s no path already packed down for you to walk in. You may have to trudge a little bit deeper and a little bit longer, and it may be a little bit slower, but ultimately you get to new heights that the path could have never gotten to.
Somewhere inside yourself you have a grand plan for your life. You may not know all of the details of that plan and how it’s going to play out, but you have a vision for yourself, and you know the directions. If you follow those directions and guidance you can do it your way.
You can look back on your life like Frank Sinatra did and say, “I did it my way.” And you can take a bite of your recipe and know that it tasted better than any one you could have followed.
Heather Hans, LCSW, MSW, MBA, CPIC, is a Visionary, Healer & Teacher, and the author of The Heart of Self-Love: How to Radiate with Confidence. It is Heather's firm belief that loving oneself is necessary to have fulfilling relationships and a successful life.