I’m filled with giddiness that looks like champagne bubbles rising to the surface. I smile every time I imagine myself immersed in the experience I’ve been awaiting. I jump out of bed, motivated to set the stage for my own success. The excitement of the possible is filling me with joy. And instead of dipping my toe, I plunge into the waters of my intention, knowing that as I do so I am creating the reality I crave.
As we round out this Thanksgiving weekend, I have extreme gratitude for feelings of anticipation. The faith that is embedded in anticipation is at minimum an enjoyable feeling, is frequently an outstretched arm when we’re having a tough time, and, at its most powerful, can be life saving. The difference between hoping something happens and having it happen, is oftentimes the power of imagining the feelings you’ll feel when it happens, while it’s still just a dream. When we believe that this is coming to us, and we can envision how it will smell, taste, sound, and feel, we are creating a powerful force that will turn that dream into our reality.
I have been blessed to witness and even experience this many times in my life. Today I am in awe of one particular friend of mine who is painstakingly rebuilding their life, based solely on anticipating a completely different kind of existence. It feels like watching someone build an Egyptian pyramid. I watch them start from the most basic level to place just one row of building blocks. Those blocks, sitting on the ground, might be easy for some people to place. No standing on scaffolding is necessary. But for this friend, these stones are the heaviest of all of the stones in their pyramid. They are forming the structure for an unknown life experience. The anticipation gives them the energy boost they need. When finished with the first step, they sit back, exhausted, and experience the progress and the change that comes to them from that first platform. Once they get used to the new elevation, they see the life that’s possible if they can create one higher level of foundation. And I watch them painstakingly make another change. I used to share with them how I would sometimes do things for ‘future me.’ They told me that they didn’t do that. They weren’t able to picture ‘future them’. Now they do, anticipating something better than what they’re experiencing now. And this inspires them to prepare their physical and mental spaces for the joy that they are hopeful will follow.
Sometimes their progress is so small that most people would miss it. I don’t. I am the bystander who is observing every win and I can observe how the bigger bricks in the pyramid don’t necessarily equal the most change. What I’m noticing is that the more this friend can look at every change as a triumph, the easier it is to anticipate accomplishing the next goal, and that’s the most powerful indication of progress for them.
For most of us, when life is going well it’s easier to imagine and feel excited about the next good turn of events. For some of us, however, it’s hard not to get stuck in a rut of anticipointment, which is our mind’s way of undoing the faith of anticipation. It ruins the joy and intention. Doubt replaces motivation. Insecurity replaces confidence. We are still visioning, yet this time we are seeing everything that might go wrong. We become afraid to bask in the excitement of anticipation, hoping to protect ourselves against the pain of possible disappointment. What we fail to realize is that disappointment is less likely when we believe in the success. So much of this is in our heads and in our control. I’ve learned, through practice, to become aware of anticipointment and to purposefully change my thoughts. I ask myself, “What would someone who is excited, without doubts, be thinking right now? How would they be feeling?” And I try on new, more motivating and joy-filled thoughts. I repeat my new thoughts as many times as I need to, until I have replaced the hesitation with anticipation.
The choices we make about the way we envision our next activity, or the grand scheme of our future, will determine our life experiences. The way we do anything is the way we do everything. Try it out! Dream with utter abandonment! Revel in the anticipation instead of anticipointment. It takes practice and I’m here to help you if you need a partner.