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What Wants To Happen?

May 27, 2010

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?”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2010 1:55 am

    You just make me love you more with each post. I need to print this one out and paste it to my wall for sure. ❤

    • May 27, 2010 5:12 pm

      Aw, thank you Delia! It’s been a hard month and a half. Trying to stay positive and see the good in all of it!

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