I dare say, most of my conversations, accepted contracts, supervision/consultation requests, and job duties focus on achieving potential. Achieving your potential as an individual, family, or system is also quite challenging and for certain, a much larger and longer dialogue.
For the purposes of specificity, I am going to focus on how it feels right before you achieve. Actually, not the moment right before you achieve, the moment right before, right before you achieve. Those are the moments that are most important in the process.
Right before you achieve feels like a high. The finish line is in sight and you can coast on adrenaline, lack of sleep, hypomanic elation, or the fumes in your tank. Anyone can cross the finish line when it is in sight, figuratively or literally.
I am talking about the phase before that, the part of achievement where you are bone tired, can’t see the finish line, still have nothing but fumes with no end in view. That is the part of achievement where you have to believe you are almost there because you don’t have the data that proves you are almost there.
- Writing a Dissertation: That place where you are still writing in the Results section and not nearly to the conclusion or defense.
- Training for a Marathon: Still running those 10 miles, but not in your last few weeks or close to race day.
- Relationships: Maybe, being mostly close to your partner but withholding the topics or vulnerabilities that are most important for them to know in caring for your tender spots.
These are all examples of being in the hardest part of the work, not reaping the benefits yet, and having to sustain or maintain the grind. It hurts. It is hard. It is uncomfortable.
We are growing out of our shell and it is too tight. We are trying to break free of the chains of old patterns without knowing how good the new patterns are going to feel. We are burnt out busted up but have to be reckless in finding energy to continue. It is a critical juncture to push through and at the same time it is the worst part of pattern change.
So, what I tell individuals, families, and systems is that these are the moments to dig deep inside. Search for faith in the process and commitment to their better selves. This is not the moment to focus on how things feel but rather on how they could feel.
It is not the moment to spend a lot of time internally reflecting but rather on fantasizing forward and reflecting backward on what hasn’t worked. Stay forward facing and commit to the change. Take a friend or buddy who can reflect back to you motivational and positive support, especially when you feel like giving up.
Decorate your walls with dreams that you can look at when you feel like you want to be done. You are going to need new and different coping mechanisms to get through this stage. If what you had been doing prior was enough, you would already have made these changes.
Remember, if you are feeling terrible, that means you are trying something new, you are almost there, you are trying to bust through walls and become. This phase of becoming feels painful and uncomfortable because it is the moment prior to the moment you see the finish line.
For me, when I am in these moments I think of Go Go Gadget. Go Go Gadget patience. Go go Gadget pride. Go Go Gadget stick-to-it-ness. What do I need to acquire for a skill so that I can bring the finish line closer?
- Try new and different coping skills
- Find a buddy what who will reflect why are doing this and who you can become
- Stay focused on forward facing imagery
- Avoid conversations with yourself about how you are feeling
- Do not get sucked into internal dialogue about whether you can really achieve this
- Remember if you are feeling uncomfortable, that is right
- Use sensory stimulation to refocus and re-invigorate
Use sensory stimulation to refocus and re-invigorate