In coaching women to work towards new goals or strive to accomplish something they have always wanted, we encounter lots of roadblocks along the way.
Time is often a hurdle. Finances. Lack of support. Being pulled in too many directions. Carrying baggage around from the past is a big one too.
What I have learned in my own life and what I have watched play out time and time again in my work is that the hurdles and roadblocks aren't actually holding us back. They aren't really preventing us from moving forward.
Some of them certainly provide challenges and they can require great effort, energy and perseverance to overcome but they are, at the end of the day, just hurdles. You can go over a hurdle. Frankly you can go under a hurdle, around it, you can push it down and walk over it.
Too often we come from a mindset of helplessness. We develop a helpless mindset across a lifetime of disappointment, trauma and difficulty among other things. We see every hiccup as a hurdle. We view every setback as a catastrophe. We can actually begin to believe that the world is against us.
In a helpless worldview we approach a hurdle in defeat. As soon as we spot it our shoulders shrug. We kick the dirt and we hear the first few chords of our favorite, "poor me" soundtrack. It's not a conscious decision to feel helpless. We have been conditioned in one or another to give up and accept defeat.
Grit, however, is a conscious decision. We can choose to change that reaction within ourselves from one of helplessness, to one of determination and grit. I love grit. I love the word. It's simple and yeah it's a four letter word, which I find hilarious and ironic. Grit makes you scrappy. Grit makes you stubborn and ornery. It doesn't take no for an answer. Grit says, "hold my beer".
If we ever expect to experience a different life, a different outcome in facing our obstacles we will have to address our helplessness. Our helplessness can look like:
"I would exercise if I had more time."
"I wish I had the money to start my own business."
"I'm not happy but I don't have a lot of options."
"I can't keep up, I'm overwhelmed."
We believe, incorrectly, that there is something holding us back - a person, a circumstance, realities, some force working against us.
-----> Brace for a paradigm challenge <-----
There is nothing holding us back. There are things we refuse to let go of that keep us from conquering the obstacles but nothing actually HOLDS us back.
If we don't have time for the things we want and need to do it's because we have made decisions about how we will use our time, or how we will others to use our time. We sacrifice our time at the altar of our martyrdom. "I can't do what I want do because (fill in the blank) needs me and there is no time leftover."
This leftover thinking, applies to the way we think of limitations around money, taking care of ourselves and much more if we are willing to take a hard look.
The truth is we choose. Ultimately despite all the protestations to the contrary, we chose. Maybe we aren't strong enough yet, to stand up for ourselves. Maybe we aren't creative enough yet to come up with solutions to obstacles. But whatever we have, whatever we experience, make no mistake - we choose.
Nothing holds us back, we are holding on to something.
It's the good news and the bad news isn't it?
We much prefer to think of ourselves as being restrained as opposed to be choosing to hold on to something.
Examining what you are holding on to and why, will begin the process of shattering your old helpless paradigm and beginning to construct able-minded new one.
Challenge the way you think. Of all the things that can most profoundly impact the results people experience in life, challenging the way you think, is the most critical.
The specifics in the obstacles don't really matter. I know, we really think they do. We think they are unique to our situation and insurmountable. But they aren't. There are always solutions when people are ready to let go of what they're holding onto an embrace them.
I know this helpless mindset well. It was my own when I was in my early twenties. Then something happened that broke my paradigm. I mean shattered it, like into a million little pieces. I caught a segment on a news magazine type show about a young woman. She was only 5 years older than me. Like me she was a busy mom taking care of a small children, working. We wore a similar hairstyle, we even looked alike, though she was a bit more blond. The key difference between us, she didn't have arms.
She was born without arms.
There she was bathing her child with her feet. Driving a car with her feet, using a curling iron and applying mascara...with her feet. Her child was well cared for, her home tended, she cooks and cleans and does everything. She managed everything in life, just like me, but without arms.
Everything about her life was more complicated, more difficult than mine. There wasn't one thing in her life that was easier than mine. But there she was determined, happy.
Her obstacles weren't imagined. Neither were mine. But I was holding on to how I had allowed those obstacles to define me. She was not. Nothing held her back. Everything held me back. 26 years later I remember that night so clearly. How I went to bed in awe of her. I had real obstacles too. The real difference between us, I realized as I contemplated it that night, wasn't about the fact that she did not have arms and I did. It was our paradigm.
In her paradigm no obstacle was going to hold her back from having all the things she wanted out of life. In mine, at that point in my life, everything had held me back.
It's not easy letting go of what we have allowed to define us but it's possible. Challenge your paradigm, I'll help you. Nothing is holding you back if you are just ready to let go.