“North Korea has shut down all of its universities for 10 months so students can work in factories. Or, as they call it in North Korea, ‘spring break.’” -Conan O’Brien
THE TOP 10 WAYS TO STICK WITH IT WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH
1. Know that you are exactly where you need to be. Part of moving towards your goal or vision involves coming to, and walking through, the difficult places on the path. Remember times from your past when the greatest learning came from challenging life events. Knowing that this is a process, a journey, and not about “getting it right the first time” can free up mental, physical, and emotional energy.
2. “Don’t push the river.” Working harder or longer will add suffering to the process and not move you any closer to your goal. Let go of having to make things happen when what’s needed is trust.
3. Be kind to yourself. This is not about your inadequacies, but about the natural progression towards mastery. Let the critical voices go; they impede the process.
4. Become curious. Curiosity differs from analysis in that there is no judgment and no desired outcome. Simply notice where the tough parts are. What’s happening? What thoughts or actions make the process easier or tougher? Challenges offer us the greatest opportunity for learning and growth when we take the time to notice.
5. Choose. Know that you have choices around how you will react or handle these tough parts. Here’s an idea: on an index card write one thing you will say “no” to (working on weekends, kids not helping around the house, staying at the office past 5PM, etc.). On the other side, write one thing you will say “yes” to (taking a walk each day, delegating that report to my assistant, hiring someone to clean my house, having a weekly date with my husband, etc.). Focus on making these two things happen (let all others go for now) and notice the energy and confidence boost!
6. Ask for help. As a Hopi Elder recently stated, “The days of the lone wolf are over.” Gather supportive and resourceful people around you who will assist you on your journey.
7. Switch gears. Take a break from perpetual “doing” and let yourself “be with” what’s happening. Get out of your head, if that’s where you tend to go, breathe deeply and let the mental machinations go for awhile.
8. Take time each day for pure pleasure. If you had to choose one item on this list, choose this! Taking time to enjoy (”in joy”) the pleasures of life renews body and spirit profoundly.
9. Keep your vision alive daily. Knowing your life purpose helps you put the tough times into perspective. Ask yourself if what you are doing (or how you are being in the world) brings you closer to your goal or vision. If it’s not moving you closer, then shift your energy to things that will. Focus your mind and your actions in service of your life purpose.
10. Create a ritual. We tend to celebrate wins, and are at a loss as to how to deal with challenges and losses. Take time to acknowledge and honor what’s happening and notice how the painful or negative energy around it begins to lessen. A ritual can be as simple as sitting in a favorite chair each day with a cup of tea, soothing music and a candle, or as involved as gathering friends at a special place, reciting poems and meaningful readings, and burning a symbolic object.
Wishing you peace and clarity on your magnificent journey!