I just recently started up a new, ‘bigger and better’ turtle tank for my daughter’s two red-eared sliders. The tank is huge and spacious and has a floating platform at the top so that there’s plenty of room for them to swim about below it. These guys have it made!
Or do they? While they had all kinds of space not to mention that snazzy new platform, they seemed to migrate to the only plant in the tank so they could rest a foot on it or swim around and through it. All this unblocked, free-flowing space, and they keep running into the fake plant in the corner. I think they must be bored and want a challenge. This resonates with me.
I was disclosing to a group of clients the other day that I have hardly landed the plane on self-improvement or self-development. I haven’t yet arrived or cross the finish line. I asked, “Does it make you nervous that I’m still dealing with my stuff just like everyone else?” Laughter erupted, a combination, I was sure, of empathy and ‘oh sh*t.’
The reality is that with my experience I have kick-ass tools in my toolkit, but I’m a work-in-progress just like the next J. I embrace this, and I think I’d be bored out of my mind if there weren’t challenges that tested and stretched my ability, my faith, and my inner and outer strength. I need those plants in the corners of life from time to time.
There are a few points I’d like to make.
- Challenges can and should be exciting and fulfilling . . . unless they are not. (See next point.)
- Too many challenges or the wrong goals can feel overwhelming and make us feel as if we are never enough. That robs us of our energy and self-confidence.
- There really is no finish line. We are never ‘done.’ So if the goal is completion, it can leave us feeling unsatisfied. By ‘enjoying the ride’, we allow ourselves to be fueled along the way, which should feel just as good as the destination.
- Obstacles become the way. When obstacles are in our path, we get to go with the flow just like a stream of water peppered with boulders.
The common thread of all of these elements is your attitude toward goals and the milestones along the way. You can choose how you want to play.
Here are some do’s and don’ts for these points.
Do: Pick challenges that feel good to not only accomplish but also give you joy along the way. Appreciate each milestone as if this was all there is.
Do: Allow enough on your plate that keeps your energy high.
Do: Choose goals that are juicy and exciting to you.
Do: Know that you are amazing just as you are and are adding value to your life right now even with no other letters behind your name or certificates on the wall.
Do: Embrace obstacles as a lesson to highlight what’s important that you be aware of, learn, or uphold in the process.
Do: Focus on what you do want to create or be and how you want to feel each step of the way.
Don’t: Fall into “I’ll be happy when” syndrome, and miss out on enjoying the process or journey.
Don’t: Allow complacency to the point of boredom.
Don’t: Choose challenges in quality or quantity that do not serve you or energize you.
Don’t: Believe you need to wait for perfection or completion in order to shine.
Don’t: Let obstacles stop you from pursuing what you want.
Don’t: Allow self-sabotage to be your coach on the sidelines.
My wish for you is that you will use energy as your metric for success, rather than focusing on whether or not you’ve arrived somewhere. You have so much to offer this planet. Allow your light to shine through each step of the way and know you are enough.
Abraham-Hicks says it best here:
People say, “The joy is in the journey,” but they rarely understand what they are saying. You are in this focused time/space reality with goals and objectives that call you because as you identify a desire it literally summons life through you. Life summoning through you is what it’s all about –it’s not the completion of anything.