Have you ever been asked a question and responded with, ‘I don’t mind?’ There are many layers in these three words and they have a significant impact on our lives because of the lack of focus they bring. The reason I’m writing every day, making videos, running events and coaching writers is because I got clear about what I wanted. Ten years ago, my writing practice was fraught. The idea of running my own business felt impossible, even though it was a secret dream.
Focus and clarity didn’t turn up at my door one morning with a bagel and say, ‘surprise!’ No, they were both states of mind I had to practice first, and which I continue to practice.
When I think about my previous habit of, ‘I don’t mind’, I see why it never got me anywhere. Perhaps I said it because I didn’t want to come across as demanding.
‘What do you want to do this weekend?’
‘Oh, I don’t mind…’
It would lead to me simply, mooching around, not minding that nothing much was really happening. Now, I understand how behaviour is not isolated, because I see how I had grown accustomed to mooching around with my writing, my career ambitions.
For me, ‘I don’t mind’ was another version of ‘I don’t know’ as well. In the time I spent training as a Life Coach, I didn’t find it easy to formulate my dreams at the beginning. Focusing felt hard. My practice of ‘I don’t mind’, not pushing myself to make a specific decision if I felt I didn’t have one, meant that I wasn’t developing the skill of knowing what I wanted and making damn well sure I got it.
Sometimes, I used the ‘I don’t mind’ because – even though I knew – I was afraid to say what I wanted.
‘Do you want me to leave?’
‘I don’t mind.’
Here I was, showing my heart that it couldn’t have what it wanted, that the ‘yes!’ it craved to say was wrong. I had to put up with the situation and go about trying to get what I wanted in a subliminal way. So again, I learn that in order to get what I want, I can’t go about it directly, but step into an uncomfortable, oblique dance.
When I began to practice ‘I do mind’, I opened a door. My true desires didn’t burst forth immediately – they were so ingrained in withholding. But, slowly, they crept forward, until they eventually stepped through.