“Do What you Can, With What You Have, Where You Are”
Have you ever failed at a goal, and decided that maybe it just needs to wait until you change jobs or schools or cities, or when the kids move out….or whenever conditions have changed and are exactly perfect because there’s no way you can meet that challenge where you are today?
I was painfully shy during elementary school. Every summer I would set a goal to basically stop being that way. The morning of the first day of a new school year, I would remind myself that I was going to talk more this year, make more friends, and be more outgoing. Sure, enough, by the end of that week, I felt like a total failure because I kept being shy and quiet. I felt like everyone in my class had already determined I was that way, so it was too late to change, and I’d have to try again next school year, when I was around different people.
I’m still quiet today–sometimes shy, sometimes not. However, I know enough about introversion to know that this is not a fault or defect in my personality. I know enough now to know that I can make friends and achieve my goals, at my own pace, in a way that best matches my values and my spirit.
My point is this, you don’t have to wait until all the right pieces are in place. Start now. Take it slow, one small baby step at a time. You can work towards a life you love even if you’re in a job you hate. You can work towards feeling peaceful, even if you’re surrounded by chaos. And your process doesn’t have to look the way your neighbor’s process looks.
We are all rooted somewhere, in some circumstance. Sometimes these circumstances are less than ideal, but there is still hope for us to blossom into the people we want to be and into a life we love.
So, how do we do this?
In my work with clients over the years, I’ve found the following things to be helpful.
- A Gratitude Practice
I know I sound like a broken record: gratitude, self-care, blah blah blah. these concepts sound so new-agey and hippy-dippy to a lot of people. So be it. I know this to be true: Regularly pausing at some point during the day to write down something good that has happened, shifts your perspective about youre life. Just one thing. One. It does not have to be a big thing. Even if you’re in a place where you don’t feel grateful to even be alive today, you could write, “Even though I’m in pain/depressed/suffering I’m grateful that I have enough hope to write down one thing I feel grateful for.”
2. A Spiritual Belief System
Spirituality is not something I’ve written about here before, but I will say this: The clients I see who have a belief in something bigger than themselves make more progress, more quickly, than those who don’t. What they choose to call that belief system or higher power, and where they receive their spiritual food varies widely.
3. A Self-Care Practice
Food gives your body energy to grow. Sleep allows your body to restore itself. Self-care is another type of fuel that restores your body so you can continue to meet the demands of your life. Your car won’t run without gas or a charged battery. Your body will shut down without food and sleep. Without self-care, burnout is imminent.
I’ve been giving this handy chart away to my clients. You can print it for free from the website listed. If you would like a smaller postcard-size version, send me an email and I’ll be happy to send one to you. (email@example.com)