Life is complicated. Leadership can be fraught with complexities. Relationships can be overwhelming. Finding the way forward can seem impossible. What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

The first thing to do is to breathe. Literally. I’m not kidding. Just take a deep and full breath. And then another one. And then another one. Feel the breath coming into your body and then going out again. Then feel your feet on the floor. From there become aware of the clothes on your skin. See how many layers of sound you can hear around you–the close-up sounds and the far-away sounds. Already, the pressure may start to lift. The situation hasn’t changed, but who you are within the situation and your relationship to it is already starting to shift. And that’s the first step in finding your way forward.

When we can get fully present in the moment, we can start to listen into the moment for guidance. We can start to pay attention to the subtle (or sometimes not so subtle!) things going on around us, things that are said, signs that point to the next step. We can start to ask that question that I love: “What wants to happen here?” And even more specifically, “What wants to happen next?”

It’s amazing how much wisdom and guidance there is available to us if we just stop, breathe, get present, and focus on the moment instead of on the “problem.” Clarity starts to come, the next step begins to show itself, and we begin to find our way again.

As our problems–personal, local, global–become so complex and complicated, we get lost in trying to find the big solution. There is not a “big solution” to be found any more. However, if we focus on what wants to happen in a general sense–the general direction in which things want to flow–and then ask that potential to show us the next step, we very often find direction. Breaking the complexities down into “the next step” can help relieve some of the anxiety. And believe it or not, if we keep our attention in the present moment, ask, “What wants to happen?” and trust that there is an evolutionary intelligence that can show us the way, it gets easier.

So breathe, feel the clothes on your skin, feel your feet on the floor, listen to the many layers of sound. Do this for 2 full minutes. Literally. And then ask, “What wants to happen next?”

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