Have you ever felt like you’re scraping, crawling and inching your way toward a goal, only to find it more and more elusive?
Have you ever kept digging and digging…only to get into a deeper hole?
Whatever it is we’re working on – cutting back on sugar, saving money, knocking out debt, searching for a better job, trying to eat healthier, gaining muscle, losing fat, improving athletic performance, writing a book, supporting a family, trying to keep a business afloat, getting out of bed when the alarm first goes off and whatever else we’ve got going on – sometimes the best thing we can do is pause. Breathe. Take a step back.
When we take a moment to step back from something (bear in mind, stepping back is vastly different than walking away from it), we get to see things from a wider perspective. We see the bigger picture.
We do this in roller derby as officials. When the pack is spread out, the action is happening in various spots on the track, instead of one specific, focused area. We skate back to see the wider, bigger picture, and it gives us a much better perspective to see more things.
The same is true for life. Sometimes, life gives us an opportunity to breathe. This is necessary to refresh, re-calibrate and refocus. When I say breathe, I mean it literally and figuratively. We’ve covered breathing a bunch of times on here, and as always, this should be a daily practice. Whether we’re taking a moment to just take 5 deep breaths daily, or meditating regularly, it all comes down to slowing down if we want to get ahead.
Why? How does that even make any sense?
Our brains and our bodies are incredibly capable, and we are designed to perform, to grow, and to push ourselves to new levels. However, if we want to work for something AND also get there, we must find a balance between work and rest.
Our minds need a chance to chill. We can actually do way more and perform at a higher level by taking care of ourselves, and by giving ourselves a break.
It seems almost antithetical to preach the importance of slowing down, backing up, and taking a pause, but as always, I’m not coming at you from some lofty “I read about it here so do it” perspective – I’m coming at you from personal experience AND from being pedantic 🙂
Four and a half months ago, I spoke with two of my mentors back-to-back, and both sessions resulted in tears. I was about to do something that I thought was the best option I had, and they tried talking me out of it. Stubborn me, I did it anyway. I was digging and digging, and it brought me to a bottom that I couldn’t even fathom. I’m still recovering from it, and thank goodness, I’m getting back up.
However, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Several years ago, I broke my ankle at a roller derby practice. Even though it sucked and the surgery, healing, and expenses were a bear, I’m grateful that it happened. The entire experience galvanized me as a person and motivated me to become a better skater (and to improve my basic skills, especially falling). It gave me time to reflect, to adapt, and to focus on what is important.
Any time we do something, there will be pros and cons. Every step we take embarking on a goal is beneficial, for it will both bring us closer to the goal and teach us something in the process. Even setbacks and failures serve us well, because they teach us a lesson that we would only acquire in the pursuit of a goal.
There comes a time that we should pause. This doesn’t mean stopping. It just means to take it easy. Try easy. Keep reading, keep studying, keep doing, keep watching, keep learning, keep networking, keep moving forward, but take a less aggressive approach.
When I came back to skating after each injury, I was actually a better skater than before. Leading up to the injuries, I was obsessive and tried WAY too hard, resulting in stress, frustration, and discouragement. Each recovery period gave me a chance to learn patience. Once I was back on skates, I was much calmer. Each time I’d bout, my energy was lighter and lighter, and miracle of miracles, my skating got better and better.
Often we hear from massively successful people that talk about hustle, the grind, and relentless work. Let’s also keep in mind the most successful people took a break and came back incredibly strong – Michael Phelps, Arianna Huffington, Lionel Richie and Steve Jobs, to name a few. These are folks at the top of their game who hit a point of exhaustion, fatigue, and overload. They came back, stronger than ever, and have become legends.
Let’s give ourselves the opportunity to pause, reflect, take an assessment of where we are, how far we’ve come, and who we’ve become in the process. If we can take a moment to celebrate our successes, we’ve already won. After all, success isn’t about smashing a goal. Success is about creating goals, embarking on them, and rising with each fall. Success is about mustering the courage to get started.
Have you given yourself credit today for how far you’ve come?
Wishing you all the best, today and every day,