I have a severe case of mind-full right now. Not mindful. My mind is just full, which makes it more challenging for me to unpack everything. I have to unpack it enough to where I can finally free up a little white space--a little processing power. And so I write.
Think of it like moving day. We've all been there. It's both exciting and simultaneously overwhelming. We can't wait to get settled into the new house. But moving day is anything but settled. Boxes filled to the brim, stacked in piles, and strewn in between pieces of furniture that act like blockades. You leave one little path clear enough to walk through, but the rest of the space is inaccessible, covered in boxes that must be unpacked. One box at a time, you gradually unpack the contents and neatly sort and place them in their new home.
You're making progress, and then you realize you really need a tool or something from that box at the bottom of the pile of 5- fifty pound boxes before you can proceed. So you shift your priorities and strategy to get that one thing unpacked. Just as the the sun is starting to set on the day, you begin to see your clear floors, walls, and counters again. The full boxes are being replaced by a stack of broken down boxes, and you start to feel a sense of calm wash over you as you settle in to your new house.
My mind woks the same way when it gets full. I have to unpack one box at a time until I start to feel a sense of order. Writing is my way of unpacking boxes of thoughts. But it's a bit of a Which came first--the chicken of the egg? conundrum. It's hard for me to get started writing or unpacking the boxes of thoughts when I don't have enough white space or clear space in the room to navigate and move freely through the sea of boxes in my mind.
The current sea of boxes of thoughts started building up last week during my trip to Keystone Colorado for the Best Ever Conference (real estate and alternative investment conference). [Side note: this was the conference I wrote about last month in my post about Imposter Syndrome and I'm happy to report I didn't feel like an imposter]. I was pretty clear-headed and excited the morning I flew out to CO. I was on my own for the next 4 days, so of course I had BIG plans for my future self. If you haven't met my future self, you should. She's amazing! She always 10x's everything. 10x the discipline. 10x the productivity. 10x the clarity. 10x the ambition. 10x the time. Do you know the future self I'm talking about? Maybe yours is like mine.
Anyway, back to my flight out of town and my BIG plans for my future self. I had decided that my future self was going to be so completely mind-blown and inspired by the conference that she would be spending hours reflecting and writing about this new knowledge. She would be laser-focused on optimizing every moment and crystal clear on knowing exactly how to deploy that knowledge after the conference. She probably better write a blog post to share with others too. She would find plenty of beautiful, peaceful places at the Keystone resort to sit and write...maybe cozying up with a cup of tea in front of a fireplace, ice skaters dancing on the frozen pond outside, snow falling, and just writing for hours and hours. Plenty of free white space within the mind. Plenty of time. She would most definitely come home feeling rested, relaxed, and totally clear-headed after her 4 solo days for thinking.
Damn! I always love that future self (insert: record scratch and quick rewind to the beginning, replacing my future self with my present self). Yeah, I'm sure as you can guess that's not at all what happened. By the time I made it to the last day of the conference, I was exhausted and plunked myself down on the couch in the condo and just sat. And I kept sitting and just kind of stared into space. I had yet to open my writing journal, or sit in front of a fireplace, or watch the snow fall and reflect. What I was holding was my business journal filled with 15 pages of frantically-scribbled notes from the past 48 hours of networking, meet-ups, and speakers on every topic imaginable. All fascinating, based on my 15 pages of notes, but also SO much information. My mind was jam-packed with boxes of thoughts and information. And I had been so busy with the conference that I hadn't really cleared a path to walk through.
There was simply too much to start unpacking. I'm finally getting to it, one week later. I did, however, do one important thing. I learned this trick after attending my first Keller Williams Mega Camp (another massive conference meant to create a mind-expanding experience that can leave you in a state of overwhelm). The trick is to write down/summarize my biggest Aha's and take-aways and then identify my top 3 things that I intend to take action on; rather than attempting to do it all or remember it all. I've found if I don't do this before I head back home, I won't do it at all. My future self would be proud that I did get this one win in before leaving Denver.
I genuinely love conferences like this because they are designed to expand your mindset, provide massive knowledge, and perhaps remove some limiting beliefs so you can see new possibilities. The challenge with that is that my enthusiastic nature goes into overdrive in this environment. If you visualize the little "mind-blown" emoji, that's what happens to me. My mind gets blown up into a bunch of fragmented pieces, disconnecting from me. It takes me a little time to bring those little fragmented pieces back into alignment and start unpacking the fragmented boxes of thoughts. I underestimated that, or maybe simply didn't realize it, when I allowed my future self to set the expectations for my Best Ever Conference experience. [Side note: it really was the Best Ever and I will absolutely go back next year, if anyone wants to join me]
This blog post is my evidence that my mind is starting to clear. A lot of facets of my life are in a transitionary state right now and that is amplifying my mind-full state. However, for the most part, writing is keeping me out of overwhelm. It's truly the best way I have found to process my thoughts and unpack them. I write much less out of a desire to express myself than a desire to think. When I start writing, I don't even know where the train of thought is going; but as long as I stay on the train, I eventually arrive at my destination with more clarity and having discovered something new.
For anyone taking the time to read this, thanks for jumping on the train ride with me.
The closest I got in Keystone to a quiet moment to enjoy the falling snow outside was texting selfies to my daughters with snow falling outside the window. :-)