Trust The Pendulum

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That feeling in your gut? It matters…

I had the great pleasure of speaking at SOBCon in Chicago last weekend. Amazing event. 150 people in a room, working hard to help each other. The sense of trust, integrity and willingness to give was unlike any other conference setting I’ve experienced.

Toward the end of my presentation, someone asked me how I deal with fear.

A question that led me to then spontaneously co-opt the panel I moderated immediately after my talk to dig into the issue of fear and how it relates to aligning what you do with who you are. On that panel, among others, was my friend Wendy Piersall. In the three years I’ve known her, she’s gone from solo-blogger to blog network CEO to online marketer, now working an hour a day and earning what her past-life full-time j.o.b. gave her.

At one point, Wendy said something that resonated deeply…

She was talking about how she swings from being massively public and conversational to relative introversion. “Over the years,” she said, “I realized I don’t have to be one or the other. I’ve learned to trust the pendulum.”

Pendulum. Whaaa?

What she was talking about was that internal compass that says go big, go small, chatter or shut up, push hard or chill.

Most of us turn away from the our internal pendulums, giving in, instead, to the pull to follow whatever action, response or expected behavioral convention is laid out by the communities we seek to thrive within.

Kinda sad. Because we’d all be a lot better off if we spent more time opening to the swing of, then trusting our own pendulums…rather than waiting for the supposed wisdom of the collective pendulum to keep us trudging down a middle path…

Then wondering how the hell we got HERE when we wanted to end up THERE?!

So, what’s YOUR pendulum telling YOU?

And, do you trust it?

________Awakened Shout Outs___________


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44 responses

44 responses to “Trust The Pendulum”

  1. Chanelle says:

    Beautiful post and so true! Fear of reaching the limitations of what we perceive to be our potential moves us away from getting there. For some it’s also the fear of reaching a potential that they never knew they had.

  2. Very interesting, and very true. Nature itself is cyclical, so we fight nature when we don’t “trust the pendulum.” You can try to constantly push yourself, or you can realize that sometimes you need to recharge. It’s important to develop a sensitivity to when you need to pull back and when you should charge ahead. This can be very challenging. Right now I’m pulling back a little because I have been feeling burned out. It is tough to hold yourself back when you really are burning to charge forward, but it’s time to for me to recharge a bit so the pendulum can swing forward once again.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Sounds like a good call. Sometime it’s external pressures that push us, sometimes compulsion, one of the toughest things is to distinguish intellectual/emotional drive from intuitive drive. Sometimes they align, often they don’t. And, the former can so easily mask the latter

  3. Oh, the pendulum. Yes, it is a beautiful thing when you can allow it to be, to swing, to rock and roll. And let go of the resistance to what is. Living the journey here with you my friend.

    Despite some massive internal resistance and suggestions of insanity, my pendulum has me spending the next while of my life guiding lawyers to love and be loved.

    And I totally trust it.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      And, I seriously can’t wait to see where it’s going to lead you.

  4. Jean Sarauer says:

    I totally trust my inner pendulum. It’s telling me to focus on my core strengths – writing and community building – and grow at a slow pace vs. going for a rapid growth. Taking things at my own speed allows me to stay in touch with my own pendulum and not get distracted by the collective.

  5. Amber Jordan says:

    I’m learning to trust the pendulum. It is very difficult for this “Triple A” personalty to live and let go now and again. When I do take a break I always come back stronger and refreshed, it is just really hard to slow myself down. Always trying to outrun that “collective” will lead you straight into brick walls.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      What most of us don’t realize as we try to chase the Joneses is that, behind closed doors, those Jones people are often pretty messed up

  6. Yes! The pendulum is incredible if you can allow it to guide you gently. I sometimes feel the “fake” pull and the need to “push hard” to get things done, or to keep pace. But sometimes in not quiet moments of just listening or relaxing, it’s when I get my best ideas and intuitive nudges.

  7. Erik Proulx says:

    There are so many pendulums. Happy, sad. Money, no money. Active, docile. I am learning to trust and embrace that neither side is permanent.

    • Dave Doolin says:

      It’s that money-no money swing that’s so unnerving.

      Feast or famine, feast or famine.

      • Jonathan Fields says:

        That’s the circumstance pendulum, bigger challenge is to tap into the source pendulum

        • Maggie Maurer says:

          More on the difference between circumstance pendulum and source pendulum and techniques for differentiating between the two…please. 🙂

  8. Interesting. I never thought of it as a pendulum but yeah, I follow my gut, pretty much. But I’m also on the lookout for what mistakes I may have made when following it (or maybe I wasn’t), and what lessons were learned from that experience (sometimes I feel like the universe is just allowing me to make mistakes or I attract them/make them because I sorely needed to learn something so in a way they aren’t really mistakes, just a process)

    This is cool: “massively public and conversational to relative introversion.” Totally me. Nice to hear about someone else who is just like that. I go for months and months at a time in isolation, pretty much, while on a creative roll. Other times it’s like dancing in the sunlight with crowds and crowds of people. All depends on what I need to get done.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      I’m betting there are a whole lot of us who are situationally social. Count me in that group. Love being on stage (once I stop shaking), but that doesn’t mean I’m up for the afterparty…

  9. Dawna Jarvis says:

    As always, thanks for the great insight and giving a visual to a process that I have been going through in the last month. I got very quiet and couldn’t get out to virtually mingle. Then I swung back into action and started communicating again. My visual was the wind up toy cars we had as kids that had to be rolled backwards in order to have momentum to move forward.

    I will stop fighting the pendulum and just go with the swing. Thanks again for the insight and I will now check out Wendy Piersall.

  10. Dale says:

    Phew, it’s just the pendulum swinging?? Too cool, everything’s OK! Great article.

  11. Shannon W says:

    I’m in the midst of a huge swing – about to become an empty-nester at 42, assessing all that I’ve assumed of whom I am and what I do, and planning a year of reflection and re-creation. And at times the swing feels so dramatic I am literaly nauseated. Yet I know that all thereis to do is ride it out and to know that my sons will be safe on their own rides. Thank you, Jonathan, for a graceful image. Your timing is impeccable.

  12. Kelli Wise says:

    I am very introverted (but not shy). I am also, as Robin Williams labeled it “situationally gregarious” and am very good at speaking to large groups. Most people who know me and have seen me speak in public don’t realize that I’m very introverted. I have learned over the years to listen to the pendulum and seek solitude after a big day of socializing. It is how I recharge and keeps me from getting grumpy or burned out.

  13. Jay Zenner says:

    Of course there’s no pendulum. It’s a metaphor that is possibly useful. Overcoming fear sometimes involves pushing yourself into an area where you aren’t comfortable. It’s worth it for something you really want to do. Other things not so much. It is wisdom, knowing your heart, knowing when you’re ready that guides you, not a pendulum.

  14. When you work for yourself, your inner shifts and wings express themselves directly in your business. Learning to flow with the ups and downs, ins and outs, expansion and contraction is essential for both personal and business growth. The beauty part is that these cycles are the essence of creating from seeding to gestation to growth to harvest and then to fallow fields. When you can recognize and cooperate with where you/your business is in the cycle, you flourish. It doesn’t always feel like flourishing, but flourishing it is.

  15. That feeling in your gut? It matters…

    It sure does! Unfortunately (and I think unwisely) most of us keep overriding with our “intellect.” We recently did a workshop of about 50 people on trust and only 1/4 said they are in touch with and listen to their intuition. Most people don’t see it as a value to them in their experience.
    That has a great deal to do with living in a culture that really doesn’t understand or appreciate emotions. We often call it a neck-up culture.
    So thanks for the much needed reminder in this post!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      And of those 1/4, I’m betting half answered with what they aspire to, rather than what their reality is.

  16. Jen says:

    wow. just wow. This concept of the pendulum is resounding with me so strongly, and answering a question I felt was unanswerable. In wanting to make changes in my career towards self-employment, I’ve long been trying to figure out which ‘me’ is the real ‘me’ – the fearless, big idea maker with big dreams in her big boots, or the scared, worrywart holed up at home imagining unimaginable worst-case scenarios. Neither extreme felt right, even though the big dreamer always felt like the one I ‘should be’ – the “expected behavioral convention is laid out by the communities we seek to thrive within”, as you so well put.

    The possibility that they are both important parts of me, and parts I can flow between is so profoundly reassuring. It is possible to do and be one, without losing the possibility of the other.

    Thank you.

  17. I’ve realised I have a 2-3 year swing between consumption and creation. I’m always doing both, of course, but this past month I was powerfully conscious of my need to stop reading and watching and observing, because my brain is full and I need to relieve the internal pressure by massive creation for a while.

  18. deborah says:

    Good question. Instead of the pendulum and fear, I think more about what gives me joy. I move in the direction of joy and passions. Although it can be scary, the outcome is worth it.

  19. caitlyn says:

    I’m wondering about the wisdom that is distributed by many of the “wealth gurus”. One that I respect very much, Harv Eker, regularly reminds others to act even when you don’t feel like it.

    I understand pushing through fear, limiting beliefs, etc., but I do believe that sometimes the pendulum is swinging toward nap time, or a consolidation plateau. I usually trust my gut (it never goes well otherwise) but I am not financially free. Sometimes, I wonder if my intuition is listening to an unhelpful song, rather than hearing the ebb & flow of my power song … as it were.


  20. I feel like I’m finally learning to trust my pendulum, even when it sometimes takes me in the opposite direction from where I thought I was headed! There’s an inner resistance the pushes back when I try to force myself toward something my gut/soul/higher self knows is not my true path.

    Sometimes that path feels like it *should* be right, so it may take me awhile to really listen to the voices telling me that it’s *okay* that I’m resisting. But when I trust that inner wisdom, despite how scary it sometimes is in the short run, in the long run it never steers me wrong.

  21. karen gunton says:

    i love the image of the pendulum! i think about the idea of trusting my gut all the time – it is what lead me to start a photography business instead of going back to teaching, and is now what is leading me to try to help other mum’s get started with their own little businesses. it is still hard to reconcile what i think the world thinks i should be doing with what i have chosen to do instead – but i am sure glad i am giving it a go!

  22. Trusting the pendulum is great and how I prefer to work– most of the time. I do think it’s important to devote a bit of headspace to monitoring the pendulum though. Sometimes it can get stuck at an extreme and that can be dangerous if not handled proactively.

  23. Sali says:

    This pendulum posts really speaks to me. I’ve given myself some time to reflect and am realssing that I have been feeling’at the mercy’ of the swing back and forward between a couple polarities (I don’t suffer from turning away from it towards the ‘collective pendulum’ – nice phrase by the way) but have been feeling the discomfort of the swing and now see it differently… of course (dohh!!!)the swing is important and requires attention which I now intend to give it.
    Thanks for a great post.

  24. Jonathan, I usually have no trouble trusting my inner pendulum, with the exception of blogging – which is relatively new to me. I find I have a tug of war going on inside over whether I need to create a “cookie-cutter” version of my site mirroring the “big blogs,” or to just trust that I’ll grow eventually, maybe more slowly but my way. Thanks for the insightful post.

  25. Steve Errey says:

    Spot on Jonathan. I often have the pendulum swing one way or the other, whether physically or emotionally, and I’ve learned the hard way that the best thing for me and for what matters to me is to listen to it and trust it. Even if that means a period of introspection. Often, especially if that means a period of introspection.

    We don’t have to be productive, motivated, get-thing-done machines constantly – that’s not what we’re designed for and trying to be those things will eventually lead to burn-out. That’s what the pendulum is there for, to tell us what we need for our own best interests.

  26. Love it.

    I don’t know how much time I waste double/triple checking based on what’s “expected” or what the norm is rather than trusting myself and immersing myself in whatever it is, I MUST do.

  27. Tom says:

    My pendulum regularly swings between selling all my stuff and traveling the world with just a backpack, to picking out crockery for a house I don’t own yet. As I’m currently living in an apartment in South Korea, I’d say I’m pretty much in the middle of my pendulum swing right now!

  28. Paul says:

    I have been ready the blog for almost 1 year now and this is the first time to comment. I agree with this but often find the pendulum AFTER the event I needed it most – I need to practice “tuning in”. Wouldn’t it be interesting to research ways to ‘start’ the pendulum as every pendulum needs an energy/force to get it moving??

  29. Tammy says:

    I don’t think we saw that one coming did we? That technology would be the thing that plugged us in to to our inner-voices and instinct again. And it was pretty painless, no helmets or masks or probes like in the movies!

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  31. Marcia says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    It was great to meet you at SOBCon, and be on the panel with Wendy. Yes, that is such smart advice she had: to trust the pendulum. Thanks for blogging about this topic again. It’s a great post-conference reminder.

    Even when I don’t feel 100% confident, I can “make” things happen and act courageously to step into the fear. However, I’m not so good at trusting that inner voice inside me. On my better days when I can remember, I write down the ideas that bubble up or I make a point to capture dreams I have at night so I can later think/process more of this inner direction.


  32. ryan says:

    People will ridicule you for responding to the pendulum swing; especially, I think, nominal friends who assume they are familiar with your situation. Forgive them the first time. Forgive more slowly the second time. Delete them from all contact lists the third time!

    (Bye, Gary) That was personal. Sorry.

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  34. Dan Perez says:

    As William Shakespeare wrote in “Measure for Measure”: “Our doubts are traitors, And make us lose the good we oft might win. By fearing to attempt.”

    However, as someone who quit a very well-paying sales & marketing job to start a video production business, I will add that we also need to consider a strategy when our inner pendulum tugs in the entrepreneurial direction.

    Many people find their dreams shattered after a few months because they had the passion and the drive but failed to develop a marketing strategy or business plan.

    Social media makes it so much easier to promote one’s business if your efforts are concentrated to the ideal prospect. And there is so much great information freely available to the new entrepreneur.

    So don’t fear to attempt – just have a plan.

    Nuff said.

  35. BabyShaman says:

    Loved this article! Once you learn to quiet your voice and listen, feel and sense your true divine self, you will start to realize that all the answers lie within you. Quiet your mind and trust.