Growing up, my grandmother would often read coffee cups, a divination practice dating back thousands of years. Many people today turn to tarot cards, numerology and stream-of-consciousness writing as a form of divination. Divination is a form of energetic communication. It’s a practice of seeking guidance, insight or inspiration from a spirit or higher consciousness.
Of course, not all believe in divination or they might not seek it out intentionally, but it’s worth recognizing many are drawn to the process for various reasons.
As business owners, we realize our customers come in all shapes and sizes, believe and support different things and often seek answers to questions. How they get there and how you get there will differ and no one way will work for everyone.
Every morning, I start my day with Morning Pages. This is a daily ritual and I honor the time and space with a beautiful journal and writing instrument.
I don’t always approach the day seeking answers through the journaling process but what I’ve learned over the years is when I’m struggling with something, writing it out helps. It helps me focus on the issue at hand and allows me to work through ideas, options and possible ways to approach a solution.
A solution doesn’t always come easily or the same day. Sometimes I need to write it out and think about it throughout the day or the week but, more often than not, I find the answer I’m seeking.
Journaling is a tool more people could benefit from practicing on a regular basis. There is no need to be precious about what you’re writing or feel that it needs to be perfect. It’s not writing meant to be read by anyone. It’s simply a way for you to write it down so your mind can get it out of its headspace and allow more clarity of the issue at hand.
What you write about doesn’t even have to be an issue at all. You could journal about how your day is going, how things have been going all week, share gratitude for something that’s been going well or a project you’ve completed and happy about how it came together.
Research has shown that the practice of journaling helps with mindfulness because it allows the writer to remain present while also offering perspective.
The Power of Retreats
Another powerful way to uncover answers or insights is through retreats. Being in our daily grind can be a slog. No time for introspection, opportunity to consider new ideas, ruminate new projects or approaches. Yet we all know how necessary getting away is and how refreshed and ready to tackle things we feel when we return from being gone from the daily work — whether it’s visiting a new trade show or going on vacation.
Taking time to retreat, in whatever capacity is available to you, is not time wasted. One could argue it’s necessary to run your business well and will benefit you personally, too.
Every season, I allow myself a one-day retreat. Depending on the season, I might use the opportunity to visit an art museum or take my laptop to a new coffee shop to consider ideas I’ve been setting aside for the retreat. It’s planned in advance and while it’s somewhat structured, it’s not so overly structured that ideas can’t percolate or be allowed to surface. Sometimes ideas come to us when we least expect it.
While a retreat might not be the time new and exciting ideas show up, setting aside that time and being intentional with your approach can be the catalyst for things to appear when they’re ready. I’ve never once had a retreat that didn’t benefit me personally and professionally at some point in the months that followed. Had I not set aside that time to take stock of my situation and landscape, I wouldn’t have allowed myself to dream and see more possibilities that just aren’t possible to see when you’re in the thick of things.
Running a business is demanding. While it seems counterintuitive to set aside time to reflect when there is not much extra time in the day, it’s actually the time you need to perform at your best. Whether you’re turning to divination or some other way to seek answers or insights, give yourself permission, time and space to explore. You never know what might appear at the right time.