We live in a society obsessed with controlling outcomes. In fact, we’re so convinced that we can make sure everything goes according to our plan that even our design-y motivational prints and totes and coffee mugs reinforce this message.

Glance at Pinterest or Instagram and you’ll see what I mean.

Hustle harder! Make sh*t happen! Get stuff done! Kick ass! Get after it!

These messages are everywhere. They all imply that we have to work really hard … and that we can force things to happen the way we want. That, in fact, we’re slackers if we don’t.

There’s nothing wrong with holding big visions and doing things that challenge, fulfill, excite and move you. That’s awesome. The problem comes when we convince ourselves that we need a certain outcome — and that it has to happen on our timeline, in the way we’ve pictured it.

When we try to control outcomes, we cut ourselves off from the loving energy of the Universe and let fear call the shots. Fortunately, in any given moment you have a choice. You can choose to reconnect with the Universe.

Follow these steps to remind yourself of this powerful connection. Grab a notebook or open a Google doc, because you’ll be doing some writing.

Step 1: Be determined to see with love.

What are you saying, out loud or to yourself, that’s disconnecting you from your power? Identify your low-vibe story. For instance, maybe you tell yourself that dating is really hard and full of disappointment. Or maybe you come home every day and vent about how much you hate your job.

Once you’ve identified your low-vibe story, take a moment to get real about how it makes you feel. Recognize the way your words and beliefs block the support of the Universe.

What is the number one low-vibe story that you have on repeat, and how does it make you feel? Write it down.

Your honesty here is everything — it’s what opens the door for you to remember and accept your hidden power. Take a moment to reread your low-vibe story and how it makes you feel.

Once you’ve read your story, immediately say out loud: “I am determined to see this with love. I surrender this story and let the Universe do its thing.”

Be the nonjudgmental witness of your fear and surrender it to the Universe.

Step 2: Let your feelings navigate your path.

The next step in unlocking your hidden power is to get clear about how you want to feel.

What does it feel like to be in a place of joy? What do you want to manifest into your life and how do you want to feel?

Write about it.

Step 3: Ask for your sign.

This is the fun part! Asking for a sign means that you’re willing to collaborate with the Universe. It means that you’re committed to releasing structure and control to instead be led by a power greater than you.

Asking for clear guidance is an exercise in receiving good, orderly direction that is unrelated to what you think is right. Remember and trust that the Universe has a better plan than you do. (If you don’t get your sign, that’s a sign too!)

You can ask for a sign to guide you toward anything you desire. If you’re unsure about a decision or you simply want to know whether you’re on the right track, ask for a sign.

And don’t get hung up about what your sign should be. Just choose the first thing that comes to your mind. Maybe you think of an animal, a number sequence, a song or a book title. Just let whatever comes to your mind become your sign.

Without overthinking, decide what your sign will be. Write it down now.

Step 4: Turn it over to the Universe and be patient.

Now turn over your desire to the Universe with a prayer: Thank you, Universe, for offering me clarity. Show me my sign if I’m moving in the right direction.

After you say the prayer, be patient.

Try not to control your sign. Your sign will be crystal clear if you’re going in the right direction. And remember that if it’s not clear, that too is divine guidance. My friend Colette Baron-Reid, a powerful psychic medium who first introduced me to the concept of asking for a sign, says that your sign needs to be like a billboard, so clear that you cannot deny it.

If you don’t get your sign right away, don’t worry. There may be some personal fears you need to clear up, or perhaps faith you need to strengthen, before you can get it. If you’re not getting your sign right away consider that your impatience may be blocking it.

Often when we’re impatient it is because we don’t trust in the outcome. @GabbyBernstein (Click to Tweet!)

When you try to control an outcome or even a time frame, you cut off communication with the Universe and disconnect from all the infinite possibilities that could occur. Surrender to the Universe and remember that nothing can take away your true power: the love and peace within you.

The Universe loves and supports us all. We just need to remember to realign with the energy of love so that we can receive it.

Step 5: Welcome creative possibilities.

Of course, asking for signs is just one way we allow the Universe to support us. We should also be open to creative opportunities. When we’re willing to design our life from a creative place, the Universe can come out and play.

If you’re ready to receive creative possibilities, say this prayer: Thank you, Universe, for transforming limitation and doubt into creative possibilities.

Use this prayer when your logical mind gets the best of you, and stay open to receive new ways to perceive your circumstances. Be willing to let go of what you think you need and allow the power of the Universe to lead you to something wondrous and unexpected!

Remember that joy is the ultimate creator. Fun, joyful energy is right in line with the love of the Universe.

What would happen if you chose to be more playful and have more fun? This concept may bring up resistance because we’re taught to live in the opposite way. We’re taught that we must struggle to achieve. We learn that good things don’t happen without a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I challenge you to move beyond these beliefs of limitation and suffering. I challenge you to accept that you’re here to have fun.

Get psyched about your capacity to connect with the Universe. You have denied your power for far too long. Now is your time to receive love, light and a sense of deep connection.

My book The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith comes is out now! To celebrate I’m offering an incredible bonus. When you order the book you can get my brand new 5 hour online course for free! Check out all the details here www.gabbybernstein.com/newbook.

Gabrielle Bernstein has been named “a new thought leader” by Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. She appears regularly as an expert on The Dr. Oz Show, and was named “a new role model” by the New York Times. Gabrielle is the New York Times best-selling author of the books May Cause Miracles and Miracles Now. Her other titles include Add More ~ing to Your Life and Spirit Junkie. In the fall of 2016 she will release her fifth book, The Universe Has Your Back. Gabrielle teamed up with Deepak Chopra to co-host the Guinness Book of World Records largest group meditation. The Oprah Winfrey Network chose Gabrielle to be part of the “Super Soul 100” list, a dynamic group of 100 trailblazers whose vision and life’s work are bringing a higher level of consciousness to the world. or more on Gabrielle’s work visit GabbyBernstein.com.

Image courtesy of Chloe Crespi.