Do you ever find yourself in a place where, despite your best efforts, nothing seems to be working out the way you want it to?
Maybe you have an amazing idea that you just can’t seem to get off the ground. Perhaps you have made progress toward a goal and suddenly feel stymied and blocked or unable to gain the resources or support you need to move forward. You might be navigating some kind of transition that has left you wondering whether that next thing for you is ever going to materialize.
When obstacles seem to be coming from all directions and you just keep running into walls, it’s easy to lose hope and become consumed with frustration.
Sometimes it seems that the only options are to throw in the towel or buckle down and try harder. We are conditioned as a society to do the latter, and sometimes that is what it takes to bust through the barriers that confront us. But when we continue to run into setback after setback, it may serve us better to stop for awhile and survey the territory before we take action again — as we may find that what we thought was a frustrating delay is actually integral to getting us where we want to go.
Have you ever had a customer that wanted something that required a great deal of preparation but didn’t want to take the time to build the necessary foundation? If you proceeded as directed, in time the solution could go up in smoke leaving that customer worse off than they were before — or in the very best case, less than satisfied. But the customer wasn’t interested in hearing about why the delays were necessary and instead kept pushing and pushing for results.
Sometimes when we force things to happen, we are like that customer who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and insists on powering up the engines before they are finished being built. He creates so much noise and distraction that it makes it difficult to focus on what truly needs to happen in order to get back on course. That’s what our frustration and anxiety does to us when we get caught up in it.
There is a part of you that knows exactly what you need to do to succeed in any given area – a part of you that has knowledge of a bigger picture and all the moving parts necessary to bring your grandest goals and visions to fruition.
While the part of you that is like the impatient customer that wants what he wants, this bigger part of you knows intuitively that things are happening in just the right way to yield the best results. The bigger part of you can only communicate to you in nonlinear ways — through feelings and flashes of insight that leave your logical mind wanting more details. And it only communicates in the present moment.
To tap this bigger part of yourself, you must learn to become attuned to what is going on in this moment, trusting that in the midst of frustrating delays and setbacks there may be something right in front of you that needs your attention. If you do not give it your attention you may continue to experience even more resistance and frustration. But if you move into it, you will find exactly what you need in order to move forward.
When I was writing my book, The Pinocchio Principle: Becoming a Real Leader, I hit a wall and experienced the dreaded writer’s block. I powered through it, forcing myself to write in spite of my lack of inspiration. Before long I realized that I simply couldn’t continue and put the manuscript away for awhile. In the months that followed, I had a number of experiences that were critical to writing the book. When my inspiration was renewed and it was time to return to my writing, I ended up throwing away everything I made myself write under my own duress, as it was flat, mechanical and uninspired. I replaced it with stories about the previous months’ experiences. As I wrote, the words seemed to fly onto the page and I was back in my flow again.
You too may be in a state where before you are ready to move onto the next phase of your greatest vision, goal or initiative, you must experience something that will give you just what you need to succeed. So when you feel that frustration, see if you can look at your situation with eyes that see beyond what appears to be limitation and perceive the gifts it is bringing you. It could be the very springboard you need to get you back in your game.
And if you’d like to learn more about how to ride the waves of life’s challenges and setbacks with greater effectiveness and less stress, consider enrolling for the fall session of The Pinocchio Principle Unleashed: The Real Leader’s Guide to Accessing the Freedom & Flow of Your Authentic Genius, kicking off the week of September 23rd.
This 13-week leadership development program is designed to help high achieving professionals bring out their very best performance in such a way that fills them up rather than depleting them – and allows them to make a bigger impact doing meaningful, inspiring work while leading others to do the same.
Have you experienced a disappointment or setback in your recent past that left you reeling? Have you found it difficult to get excited about things and maybe even felt like you needed to make a drastic change in order to bounce back? If so, this week’s video post is just for you. Below is a written version of what is in the video.
If you live in Phoenix, you may have noticed that a lot of shrubbery and trees froze over the winter. They look like they are dead — all dried up and prickly – ugly. I have a bougainvillea in my back yard that froze — not a pretty sight. It’s tempting to pull the whole thing out. Because it looks like it is dead. But I know that it is not, because this has happened in the past. And I know that once we trim all the dead stuff off, in the coming weeks, it will come back fuller and even more beautiful than it was last year.
That bougainvillea is a lot like us. I think a lot of us have experienced what we would call a freeze in our lives at some point – maybe a layoff, a reorganization, or just having the rug pulled out from under you, where you think that nothing is the way you want it to be and you wonder how you will ever recover. And I think some of us have been in a freeze for a really long time. We’ve lost the passion in what we do. We’ve lost the lightness in our step and maybe things have become a bit of a drudge.
You may think you have to change everything to bounce back, just like you might think you have to pull this tree out. But really, there is wisdom in realizing that sometimes we have the opportunity to trim the dead stuff away and to recognize that there is something underneath it just waiting to break through. And the freeze is neither good, nor bad. It just is. Whatever it is that may have happened to you or me in our past — it’s not good, it’s not bad — it just is. What we need to realize that there is something within needing to break though and we have an opportunity to trim away the stuff that isn’t working anymore and have faith that in the spring we will bloom fuller, brighter and bigger than we did before.
For more on bouncing back: