Whether it’s potty training regression, or unexpected bad news, it can be difficult to keep going when it feels like, for every step we take forward we are taking 5 steps backwards.
I often imagine myself as that person pushing a rock up a hill and never quite getting to the top, but still pushing that rock. Even the visual is a trap, set up to bring on despair and tempt one to give up the fight to get things back on track. I will sometimes hear, “why even try, nothing that you do will work”. If I let these thoughts take up too much air space, it’s not long before I am ready to take a nap on the whole situation or get super frustrated and begin a pity party of one.
How did I even get to this angry and sad place? For me personally, it is when I have trouble accepting things as they are, but rather I spend my energy trying to figure out what went wrong. From there, if it is emotionally driven, it’s a downwards spiral, from who’s to blame, how did I get here, why didn’t I pay attention, to I should have known better and etc…
None of it helps and what I find is that all the while I am not getting anything done. The thing in question is still awaiting further instructions. What if, instead of getting stuck in that loop, I looked, rationally, at my options? It is important for me to take stock of my emotions, but I find if I give each it’s own space, they don’t get intertwined and put me in what John Bunyan in his amazing book, “The Pilgrim’s Progress”, calls, “The Slough of Despond”. A very dreadful place that is quite difficult to get out of. It’s where motivation gets sucked out.
In coaching as well as other areas, focusing on the goal can be really helpful in moving forward when dealing with obstacles. If I focus on where I am going rather that what’s stopping me, I find that I am more apt to problem solve, rather than get upset and offended at various hindrances. After all, when I think about it, there is nothing I can do about the unforeseen and unexpected. What I can do is keep my goal in perspective. Sometimes that means I need a good cry at first, but as soon as I get myself together, then I can look at how excited I will be to get to my destination and really build towards motivating myself to walk the difficult, yet rewarding path ahead. After all, struggles overcome, bring amazing testimonies of faith and encouragement to others that may be walking the same path.