What Wants To Happen?
It’s a question we used often in the rehearsal room. While working through a script, trying to uncover the truth in a scene a director often asks her actors, “What wants to happen?” Or during a moment of clarity an actor will offer up, “I think what wants to happen is…”
In my theater days, asking what wants to happen was a way of removing ourselves from the equation and inviting the genius of the text to offer up the next step. It was a tool we used to find the true, authentic, nature of the story we were telling. It allowed us to back away from our preconceived notions, our so-called tricks and fallbacks, and instead approach the work in a new way. An approach that was fresh, organic, unassuming.
Recently, this turn of phrase came back into my life. I think I stumbled back upon it while reading a favorite blog. I can’t be certain, as I didn’t take note of it then. But later, I found the phrase echoing and reverberating in my head. Now, I can’t shake myself of it.
So I tried an experiment today. When I got to the point of my workday where I felt overwhelmed (which I so often do now that I’m trying to gain my momentum back and working longer hours), I asked myself, “What wants to happen?”
In that still and quiet moment, my growing to-do list disappeared. It became clear that there were three things I needed to accomplish today. Three things on my list of twenty that would make a huge difference. I needed to respond to all outstanding e-mails in my inbox, finalize & send invoices, review the latest shipment of sarongs.
Those three tasks took the majority of my day. In the time that I had leftover, I cleaned up some spreadsheets and took care of some administrative tasks. I didn’t accomplish everything on my to-do list, but I got the most important things out of the way. I did what wanted to happen.
Asking what wanted to happen let me step back from feeling overwhelmed. It wiped the slate clean and I no longer felt guilty about the fact that I’m not back to full capacity. I stopped worrying about what might be falling through the cracks. Instead, I thought about the business. I thought about what was needed to keep pushing it forward. And when those tasks materialized, I seized them. Executed them.
It might be a bit of a woo-woo approach to business, but I’d recommend it. Today or tomorrow or the next time you’re stuck, ask yourself “what wants to happen?”