It’s a Spiral, Not a Straight Path (Tool #7, The Infinite Roadmap)

It’s no secret that I’m not into a one-size-fits-all system for dealing with the ups and downs of life. At the same time, it’s important for me to remind myself of the qualities I’ve strived to cultivate over the years: ones that have brought me a greater sense of passion, purpose, joy, and connection. This is the seventh in a series of blogs that detail how I personally incorporate the seven tools of my book, Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman, into my life.  I invite you to take a deep dive with me into the value of Curiosity, Awareness, Acceptance, Intuition, Choice, Manifestation, and Your Infinite Roadmap! Please let me know in the comments how you personally address and engage with each of these important tools in your life. 

When it comes to using the tools from my book, Your Messy Brilliance, I am the first to proclaim, “Holy shit, these really work!” I’m also the first to marvel at how easy it is to forget the tools, even though I’ve found ways to integrate them into my life on a daily basis.

Once, someone asked me, “So if I work with the tools in your book, will I stop being such a crazy-busy basketcase who’s constantly coming apart at the seams?”

My short answer: Yes, and no. (And trust me, I know from firsthand experience!)

Yes, if you work with the tools on a continual basis, you’ll discover your own resilience and capacity to respond to whatever is in your midst, using it as fuel to move you into the next stage of your life. At the same time, the tools aren’t meant to “fix” all your problems or get you to some imagined destination: a remote mountaintop where you sit cross-legged and serene, blissfully gazing into the distance.

These tools are ultimately meant to bring you into the richness, complexity, and pure messiness of your life—and (of course) your messy brilliance. We are so addicted to feeling good in our society that we forget what it means to feel whole. Our wholeness includes our neuroses, our indecision, our character quirks, and everything else that makes us so goddamn endearing!

Remember:  …You are endearing. And perfectly imperfect.

I refer to the seventh tool in my book as the Infinite Roadmap; in essence, it’s the application of all the previous tools to whatever situation we find ourselves in. We are all perpetual journeyers through this lifetime. It’s not a linear path—instead, it’s a spiral in which we continuously revisit old locations through new eyes. We circle back to the lessons we most need to learn, and we pick up new insights and gifts along the way. This doesn’t make life any less painful or take away its many challenges; it just means we are equipped with tools that empower us to deal with all that stuff differently. How cool is that?

Over the last eight years, I’ve used my Infinite Roadmap to work with the evolution of my organization, Women For One. And, it’s never-ending! But in the last two years of writing and publishing my book, I have been especially committed to living and practicing the tools in my book. In with that, I have experienced new beginnings and possibilities in my midst, even when life felt like it was falling apart.

Let me break it down for you:

Curiosity: Late last year, before the launch of my book, two of my long-term employees decided to set sail for different shores. It was an insanely chaotic time of year, and I had no idea how I was going to function, much less keep Women For One afloat. But in the midst of this all, I got very curious. I asked myself, “What message is this sending me about my business’s future? As shitty as the situation is, what are the possibilities it’s opening up?”

Awareness: The more I sat with those questions, the more I realized that things hadn’t been working for a long time. I loved my employees, but with respect to our collaborative capacity and our general vision, we were on different pages. I’d been chugging along with the status quo for a long time, but I hadn’t been inspired in months.

Acceptance: Over the next few months, Women For One had lots of different people come on board. Unfortunately, while they were all incredible assets and well-intentioned, the learning curve was difficult. I was putting a lot of time and energy into simply holding my business together. It was extremely frustrating and time-consuming, but I had to keep reminding myself not to push too far too fast. This is where we were, and I had to simply slow down and accept it, rather than letting my perfectionist tendencies and ambitions lead the way.

Intuition: When I had a dozen different people insisting they knew what was best for my organization, I really had to slow down and listen to that still, small voice within. I had to trust my gut, even though I was being pulled in many different directions by people who seemed to believe they knew what they were doing. This was hard at first, because part of me felt like I didn’t know what I was doing anymore! But when I came back to my core values and the entire reason I started Women For One, it became clear that I already knew what I wanted to do and where I needed to go. I just needed to tune in.

Choice: Trusting my intuition made it clear that I had to make some bold choices. The first was in the wake of recognizing that I tended to give the people involved with Women For One the benefit of the doubt—which is a good thing, except when I was doing it to the detriment of my own intuitive knowing. I had to make an important choice: Take the advice of so-called experts on what I should be doing with my business, or take the leap of faith and move in an altogether different direction. I chose the latter.

Manifestation: This was when the magic started to happen. Almost overnight after making that important choice, I manifested my Managing Director—a woman who shares my bold vision of taking our Truthteller Revolution around the country and world, and creating more opportunities for community-building and connection. Although my business had mostly been focused on building a digital audience, it was clear that the new and improved Women For One was asking to be birthed into the world. Along with it came a kickass staff, as well as the beginnings of our Truthteller Tour.

As most of us know, a business is always in the process of evolving—and sometimes, the seemingly disastrous setbacks are catalysts for meaningful transformation. Using the Infinite Roadmap helped me to recognize the power of saying goodbye to certain aspects of Women For One’s former identity, and saying hello to new ideas and tactics that were more aligned with what I truly desired for my global community…and what I knew so many of my tribe members would also resonate with.

The Infinite Roadmap is so awesome because it can be applied to the big parts of your life (for example, major decisions regarding your business, an important relationship, a big move, etc.) as well as the small parts (for example, planning a vacation, resolving a small conflict, etc.). I challenge you to think about a source of stress (good or bad) in your life right now. With that situation in mind, let’s walk through the following process to see how the infinite roadmap can offer you greater clarity.

  1. Get curious about your situation and your feelings around it. How are you reacting? How are other people involved reacting? What might be behind your surface-level reactions and attitudes?
  2. Gain awareness of the habits, beliefs (limiting or otherwise), and thoughts that are running the show here. For extra credit, take a look at the bigger picture. Are you acting out a pattern that’s familiar to you? What other situations from your past are mirroring the one at hand?
  3. Exercise acceptance of where you are right now. So often, we want to speed ahead to the “good” parts and leave behind anything that feels painful or challenging. Offer yourself compassion here and simply breathe into the moment instead of trying to change it. Ask yourself how you can open even more to the reality that’s right in front of you. Remember, transformation comes through surrender.
  4. Consult with your intuition—which might be felt as a gut sensation or that still, small voice within—to connect with who you are and what you need to do. We often make this part harder than it really is, but when we slow down to simply listen, our intuition is unmistakable.
  5. Make a choice. It doesn’t have to be a huge choice. In fact, the big choices in our lives are the culmination of many baby steps. Simply ask yourself: What is one thing I can do now to move in the direction of my intuitive knowing? Then, don’t hesitate. Make your move.
  6. Manifest limitless possibility. Honestly, this part is easy once you get out of your own way and go through all the aforementioned tools. Manifestation is about embodying what you most desire, and also leaving room to co-create with the mystery of it all. First, ask yourself what you really want. Don’t focus on shallow specifics, but on the essence of what you desire. Know that the clearer you get and the more you move in the direction of your inner knowing, amazing things will happen!

The Infinite Roadmap allows us to notice turning points in our lives and to respond from a place of integrity and confidence. The snafus and setbacks allow us to course-correct because they become opportunities to reflect on who we are and who we could be. This reminds us that life is an unfolding journey, and we can always dip into our bag of tools to approach it with fresh eyes and an open heart.


To find out more about the Infinite Roadmap and the other tools, be sure to check out my book,  Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman. Also, let me know how you’ve explored integrating all the tools in your own life! How can you connect with your own Infinite Roadmap this week? (Hint: Maybe there’s a situation in your life that you feel super resistant toward. How can using the previous six tools—Curiosity, Awareness, Acceptance, Intuition, Choice, and Manifestation—help you redirect your attention and course-correct? How can you integrate the wisdom you’ve already amassed into this challenge?)

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About the Author | Kelly McNelis

Kelly McNelis is the founder of global community, Women for One, a speaker, coach, facilitator, and bestselling author of Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman. With more than 25 years of experience as a nonprofit and small-business consultant, Kelly empowers generations of women around the world to build the relationships, community, and confidence they need to achieve their wildest dreams. She finds daily inspiration in spending time with her husband and children in her home outside of Seattle.

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