There’s a feeling that comes before any challenge. Something that stands between us and what we could be. I feel it right before I’m about to launch into things that I know will be difficult but that will also help me to grow.
Do you know what I’m talking about? It’s one of those mornings where you’ve shown up to yourself, you’re about to get on your yoga mat, or lace up your shoes for a run. And there’s a minute where you pause. A moment’s hesitation. A feeling less of excitement, and more of what if I just didn’t? There’s a struggle to show up to yourself.
You’ve scheduled in your week’s plans, commitments to yourself and to others. Then the day comes, the minute comes, and sometimes, the hardest person to show up for is yourself. We all know the feeling of working to meet a deadline in work, for a boss, for a client, for someone else. What about the goals you set for yourself? The dreams you hoped to make a reality.
There was a little period of a few months in my life that I spent living out a little dream of getting to climb all day every day without any other obligations. I saved up some money and stripped back all my expenses (by living in my van) so that I could devote each and every day to just being immersed in nature and showing up to climb.
And even then, there were moments, right before we set off for the day, where sometimes I would get that feeling of just not going. What if today I just stayed under the covers? Luckily I was surrounded by an amazing group of people who inspired me to get up and get out anyway.
When I shared my experience with my peers I found that many of them too knew this feeling. We imagined that even professional athletes must know this feeling. The difference isn’t that they don’t get it, it’s just that when they do, they know how to move forward through it to the other side.
Because what’s on the other side? A commitment to yourself. The accumulation of weeks, months, years of showing up. Every time you decided to be there for yourself, you add to the growing pool of experience, endurance and time spent with the best version of yourself.
What about that other feeling, when you let that moment’s hesitation arise, and then you move forward anyway. Once you’re in the flow, you remember how good it feels to have taken that step. To have gotten out the door, to have jumped in the water, put pen to paper, press publish, whatever it is. You’ve channelled perseverance, dedication and courage to get past that moment’s inertia.
I believe that a helpful way to frame our experience is as a kind of vessel. Like a ship at sea, we choose our direction by the winds that we harness. So as not to lose ourselves being tossed around by the waves of our emotions, that can change so easily and quickly, but instead to choose with intention the winds that will propel us forward. What is it that you will allow to drive you, doubt, uncertainty, fear? Or belief, courage, willingness to try? Sometimes I imagine the vessel more literally, as if my life is a container for something, and I have the power to choose what it’s going to hold.
Reflective exercise: take a pen, a journal, and 20 minutes of uninterrupted time.
What part of your life would you like to renew your commitment to at the moment? Try to be specific.
Let’s define in more detail, why is this important to you? What intentions lie at the foundation of this aspect of your life?
Now that your intentions are clear, can you name one thing that you can do this week that will help nurture this part of you?
Can you do that right now?
And if not, can you stick that on a piece of paper where you’ll see it every day until it’s done?