I recently attended a training program that met a couple days a week over several weeks. On day two the instructor asked if we had done our homework and how the process went. A young woman responded quite candidly. She had not completed her assignment. Instead she described that she had a major meltdown followed by an elaborate pity party. She was doing much better and was proud of herself for just showing up for the meeting. Everyone clapped.
I could identify with her. I’ve been there, haven’t you? Life is often a roller coaster. We have highs and lows and can land in a tough spot. So, if we find ourselves in such a place how do we make it a short visit?
- IDENTIFY AND CHALLENGE. Identify the source of the negative messages that are overwhelming and controlling us. Are they internal or do they come from an external source—or both?
- For example, consider a common belief and/or feeling that we are inadequate for the task at hand. What does the evidence of our life choices and experiences tell us? We can’t just look at how far we still have to go. We have to look back at where we started and how far we’ve come. Competency and confidence come over time and chances are we’re in a stronger place now that when we started. That’s who we are and determines what we’re capable of in the future.
- Perhaps we have a special person in our life—someone who likes to remind us we’re pretty much a loser. Why are we giving him/her permission to define our reality? Why does his/her vote count so much? We need to decline the invitation to see ourselves as less than and perhaps even remove him/her from our circle of influence.
- We may benefit greatly by scheduling time to talk and listen to people who will be supporters, encouragers, and even mentors. These folks will help us stay on the right track.
- TAKE ACTION. Create an action plan for how to get from here to there.
- Doing nothing results in nothing. “Just do it!” We’re not to let fear, anxiety, or other counterproductive beliefs and emotions win the day. Even if we go shaking and trembling, we’re to move forward!
- Don’t underestimate the value of taking even one small step—making a phone call or setting up a meeting.
- There is usually no such thing as an overnight success. Success is the culmination of many, many small steps, lots of practice, and multiple failures.
- Set realistic expectations. When we overestimate outcomes, we set ourselves up for disappointment and discouragement.
- SELF-CARE. If you’re exhausted, hungry, or isolated you won’t have anything to draw from. Take care of the basics first and maintain that level of self-care; otherwise, we work from a deficit and our goals are much more daunting.
- ENDURANCE. Challenging times may last a while. Commit to doing what it takes to make it over the long haul.
- APPRECIATE AND VALUE. Difficult times tend to grow us up. Sometimes the process is far more important than the goal. We may even determine this particular path is not ultimately right for us. That’s okay. It gets us ready for what will be.
So, have a great self-pity party if you need to but don’t let it last too long. It may be part of our journey, but we don’t want it to be our final destination!