Trust The Process

I have a confession to make.

A few weeks ago, in preparation for our trip to England, my partner mentioned in that very tactful British way that he had some concerns about my ability to tolerate Northern winters.

Being a tropical fish by birth, and having spent most of my adult life in balmy climes, he was worried that the clouds and early dark would get to me.

I scoffed. Please. I did a winter in Berlin. I love the cold. Give me a storm any day.

He graciously dropped the matter and I resolved not to complain even once about the weather when we arrived.


The countryside of Somerset is nothing like the cityscape of Berlin, and instead of knee-high snow and Arctic winds, there’s light rain, and mud.

Where I come from, mud doesn’t count as ‘weather’. I was not prepared for mud.

And while our cottage is ensconced in a beautiful, serene clearing between forest and field, the mud after just a couple of hours rain is so voluminous that I find it quite obscene.

It’s a voluptuous, sucking kind of mud that slathers itself all over you, slick and smothering.

Turns out he was right to be concerned. The mud, riding in on the Trojan horse that is our dog, might just make me lose it.

As I was scrubbing more mud out of the couch this morning, fighting down a bout of hysteria, my mother’s voice echoed through my mind.

Trust the process.

God. How many times this little phrase floats up into my awareness, bringing with it a quiet admonition to breathe, calm down, get some perspective.

It first happened to Mum during one of the never-ending bouts of childhood illness that, with four children, took an interminable amount of time to work itself out of our household.

I asked her one day how she could possibly tolerate giving the endless, repetitive care that such afflictions required, and to fractious children who were often acting intentionally to obstruct her efforts.

She looked at me thoughtfully and said that in prayer one day, despairing, she had been told to trust the process.

The advice, wherever it came from, had worked itself into her consciousness, and then figured out how to get itself worked into mine.

And so over time, I have often been reminded that trying situations are an opportunity to practice trust. Trust in the universe, trust in myself, trust in the people around me.

It’s been something I’ve returned to over and over with this project.

I’ve struggled to trust that the process is going anywhere, that it’s anything more than stroking my own ego, or that anyone will be interested in what I’m doing.

But every time I start to doubt, or to spiral, it pops up again. Trust the process. It buoys me up, and I keep going.

For many adults, putting our trust anywhere is often not intuitive. We’ve unlearned the ability to trust, protecting ourselves from the range of hurts and disappointments we all accumulate as time goes on.

But trust is often the missing ingredient when we’re trying to grow, or achieve something new.

The ability to trust in ourselves, more than anything.

It takes something special to trust your own judgement, your own ability, your own opinions, doesn’t it?

Many of us are conditioned, one way or another, to believe we’re not capable, and that anything a bit tricky is best left to people who are more qualified that we are.

But if we waited for all the ‘qualified’ people to do every interesting thing, we’d all be dead of boredom.

Frank McCourt was a retired schoolteacher when he wrote his first book. Angela’s Ashes went on to win a Pulitzer Prize, won a glut of awards and sold over four million copies. 

Khaled Hosseini had been a doctor for more than a decade before his first book was published. The Kite Runner has sold over 21 million copies.

Stephenie Meyer, whose only professional experience was as a receptionist before becoming a stay-home parent, wrote the Twilight series and sold over 160 million copies.

Every one of them could have shied away from the work they dreamed of doing.

They all could have gotten overwhelmed by the maddening process of writing something that matched their own expectations, and by the rigmarole of publishing.

But they all trusted themselves, and the people around them, and the process itself, to carry the work through to completion.

No matter what it is you want to do — whether it’s writing, or painting, or dancing, or raising awesome kids — trust is where the magic is hidden.

I can’t promise you millions of copies sold, or film adaptations, or fame, or bajillions of dollars.

But if you are willing to trust in yourself, in the universe, in the people around you?

can promise you pride, and satisfaction, and a glowing sense of your own worth, for having done something that no one else could.

So trust the process , and tell me what happens.