Finding Connection through Struggle

images

Did you ever have a time where you didn’t quite show up in a situation the way you wanted to?

Perhaps, it was the interview that didn’t go well, or a conversation with a loved one where you chose every word but the ones that made the situation better.

Did those times leaving you feeling overwhelmed and disconnected, maybe even depressed or anxious?

Each of us has moments of brilliance when we might feel unstoppable, which can be  counterbalanced with times where nothing goes as planned. These ups and downs are something every person on the planet faces. Of course, some navigate the challenges with greater ease, while many stumble over the same lessons time and again.

The good news is that you are not alone…EVERYONE struggles with something.

My own struggle took some time to come into focus. By 37, I had built a life that many spend a lifetime aspiring to. I’d achieved the “American Dream.” Professionally, I had been to the mountain top with the expected hallmarks of success…houses, cars, world-class experiences, growing retirement fund, and numerous other trappings. Yet, just beneath the surface I was nearly paralyzed. The roller coaster of self-imposed expectations left me feeling perpetually insecure, unworthy and trapped in a world that wasn’t meant for me.

My ascent to the mountain top had been swift and steady, but my stewardship of those vast resources wasn’t built to last. Like many, I was not well prepared for the downturn in a failing economy. I told myself that riding things out a while longer would ensure safe harbor, but the anchor never materialized. My life didn’t unravel all at once, rather through a beautiful and unfortunate series of events. I had failed spectacularly and what came next was beyond comprehension.

Think about that idea for a minute… Everyone Struggles with Something.

No one is immune. As humans, 100% of us desire something different or better than what we have. It could be as simple as losing a few pounds or trying something new. Maybe it’s more significant, such as pursuing that degree, manifesting a new job or the right relationship. Regardless of the desire, the roadblocks that stop us, real or perceived, is struggle.

What do you desire most and what stands in your way of getting it?

I like to imagine struggle as the obstacle that stands between where we are and what we want. It is like a glaring stop sign that can keep us from moving forward and most often is wrapped up as our good friend fear.

FEAR-Stop-Sign-1

Ironically, most fears are derived from our focus on an outcome that we cannot control or dictate. You know, the what if’s…what if I don’t get that job, or accepted into that program, or what if they don’t like me?

I will let you in on a secret.  The “what if’s” aren’t real and most likely will never actually happen. Don’t believe me? Think about the last time you anticipated an outcome…Did it happen exactly like you imagined?

For most, the answer is no. In fact, usually not even close.  The dangerous thing about predicting the outcome is that it robs us of the very moment we are in. Literally through our own mind action, we are focusing our energy on an outcome that will NEVER happen. Further, it often blocks us from an outcome that may, in fact, serve us much better.

What if the fear that holds you back is really the universe’s sign telling you to move forward?

courage.jpgUsually, it is fear of the first step keeps us stuck in concrete shoes. Maybe fear is only a caution sign warning us proceed with courage? Remember that time you tried something new and different and ended up loving it? Imagine if you took the same kind of inspired action in other areas of your life.

Benjamin said it best in the movie We Bought a Zoo“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

By connecting with our struggle, we get more of what we seek: Connection! Isn’t that what every one of us want more of? The benefits are two -fold; it invites an opportunity for growth and allows us to approach our humanness with self-love and compassion. It also serves as an opportunity to better examine and understand our role in each story, learning how can we do better next time.

My own struggle forced me to connect with myself wholeheartedly. To rebuild a life from rock bottom revealed that I had become trapped in a story that was based solely on how things looked. Through this work, I can now see the costly pitfalls, which nearly cost me everything.

Remember, you are NOT alone. Everyone Struggles with Something. The key steps to overcoming struggle are:

  • Identify your desire- that one thing you want most
  • What is the first step you can take to getting what you want?
  • Commit 20 seconds of insane courage to that step
  • Celebrate yourself with the next right step

It really can be that straightforward. It starts with the power of choice and just taking the next right committed action. With each step, it will become more natural.  Instinctively, you will see where to go next, which leads to an easier path leaving struggle at your back.

It is time to get the life you desire!  What is YOUR NEXT RIGHT STEP?