Stress Counting vs. Time Warping

Wow. Six weeks. Where did it go?

Ever feel like you’re on a roll with a project, and then a plot twist appears to take you far away from that path that felt like the right one?

A relationship rupture.A financial fall-out.A health crisis.Or…
I see this all the time with my clients, and it happens to me quite regularly, too.

I have an inspiration and get into action and then — WHAM! BLAM! — I find myself in a series of strange, usually-very-uncomfortable scenes that lead me to a whole new stage.

I used to think the right thing to do was ignore the plot twists I could, quickly address the ones I couldn’t, and get back to the scene I was in to finish it well. But after fifteen years of supporting others and being on this journey myself, I’m pretty convinced that these plot twists are written in with divine intention.

Are they tests to see if we will be distracted from our goal?Maybe. I know that’s been the case for me at times.
Or are they portals to possibility,
answering questions we didn’t even know we had?
Definitely, yes. This happens to me all the time.
This last one was a portal of possibility.

I had my calendar set to launch a book with my son alongside a badass win-win-win bestseller campaign with a whole bunch of new content.

I got an awesome new cohort settled into a groove of retreats and st*ry-healing quests.

I wrote four change-making paradigm blogs and had a few more in the queue.

It was all moving along, quite smoothly. 

But then…The core injury I sustained on NYE refused to heal.A dear relationship ruptured and broke my heart.It became clear that it’s time for us to make a big move out of state.
And, oh yeah, a message to expand my business came through
loud and clear. Completely impossible to ignore, that one.
Fortunately, it came with the playful perspective and
people that turned my hard no into a quick yes
[Oh yeah, let’s call it a Toy Factory and invite “elves”
to build out their “toy” departments.
That sounds way more fun than “build your business.”]
As I said, I’ve learned that my only truly good option in these moments is to Say Yes to The Inevitable Mess and Ask for Help.

And just so you all know for sure that this messenger struggles with the same temptations, tendencies, and time issues you do, I asked my youngest sister to share one of our recent messy moments with you.

She is one of the handful of people helping me expand True To Intention this year — people who, as you will see, are holding the intention for not just the WHAT of expansion but for the HOW while I face all of the old wounds and st*ries that are ready to sabotage my next level of expansion and leadership.

I can’t count the number of times clients have said, “Amanda, I don’t know how you do it. You always seem so calm. You talk about messes, but I never see them.”

My answer is usually something like, “Oh yeah, I curl up in the fetal position under my desk, binge Netflix series and gluten-free donuts, and wonder what the hell I was thinking. I just try to keep those moments separate from coaching sessions. Boundaries, ya know [smirk].”
And so, here is some evidence… from my most honest “Elf.”
I’m sure you’ll see why my Co-Author put her on my team, beyond just to keep me alive and sane through this messy expansion phase. 🙂
I took a deep breath and sunk into my chair at the kitchen table while I watched my oldest sister ping pong around the kitchen — making food, grabbing coffee, running to the bathroom, answering emails, doing all the things. I wished I had a reel of the last twenty minutes of watching her try to transition between all the hats of her daily work and home life into the only quiet two-hour block we had to map out the expansion of her business. She finally sat down to begin discussing her ideas with me and my nephew.
I watched with a bit of terror while she somehow managed to keep inhaling and exhaling as she chewed her food and spoke at the same time.
I’m so confused at what I’m looking at right now.
She stopped and stared at me. “I’m sorry, do I need to finish my food first? Is my chewing totally obnoxious?”
I took a deep breath and tried to articulate this.
“So there’s this thing in the dance world
we like to call Stress Counting…” 

I proceeded to explain how usually, when you’re in a class and the instructor is leading, they carry the count for everyone in the room out loud at first. About halfway through learning a routine, they will continue to dance with you, but will stop counting and instruct everyone else to hold the count on their own. This usually starts out alright and then about halfway through the routine, you hear the collective voices count faster, louder, and more frantically as their bodies scurry, trying to catch up with the now totally-out-of-sync count. This is usually when the instructor stops and explains Stress Counting.
In mambo as with every dance, the count represents a structural breakdown of the music, a framework within which we both learn and create. The goal is, no matter the speed of the song, to be able to essentially warp time by understanding the role of counts. They set the pace. They set the momentum. They set the energy. Once you master slowing down enough to regulate the fluidity of the count, you naturally create space and room to get creative within the framework of a song.
When we stress count, we step out of the beauty of the music. We rush our bodies. We put unnecessary pressure on our brains. We facilitate stress in our energy center and throw our core completely out of whack. Stress counting is bad news for the individual, for their partner, and their team.
My sister was clearly stress counting
as she danced her way through her task list. 

She stopped and swallowed her food. “Warp time, huh?”
“Sis, I’m just concerned about you spitting or choking, or something going out or down the wrong damn pipe.”
We broke out in hysterical laughter.
So yes, this is what massive
life and business expansion looks like. 

It looks like a season of waking up at 6 a.m. and doing “all the things” until 5 p.m. every day and collapsing too early to finish “one more episode” of your favorite show with your whiny younger sister. It looks like trying to remember to feed and bathe and take care of yourself in between all your current life and work circuses. It looks like total shock and gratitude over all the people showing up to support, and panic over how you are going to figure out the revenue model to honor their contributions. It looks like mayhem, mistakes, mis-communications, and making up as you develop the structures and systems that need to be mapped out and set up in time.
As we endeavor to create a culture at True To Intention that feels nothing short of home to the incredible souls showing up to be a part of its next chapter, we remind ourselves not to stress count our way through it. 
We remind ourselves that the team comes first — that it is of utmost importance that no one is spitting or choking while juggling a whole new level of self-care and showing up powerfully for the mission. 
Here, we will not allow each other to inadvertently
break our backs for the collective mission.

We refuse to ignore miscommunications and hurt feelings that need to be addressed and resolved
We are not about to undermine our true intention to shift this industry into a new paradigm where messengers are not just sharing their messages — they are living them.
All we need to do is breathe, get present, swallow our food, and honor the counts that make up our current framework. Then, Time is ours for the warping.

~ Honest Elf