Thank you 8th grade me. Thank you for your innocence, your insecurities, your imperfections. Thank you for being an awesomely awkward and angsty teen. And thank you for having the wisdom, from an early age, to also be willing to grow and learn, to question things. Thank you for paving the way for this weird ass path I’ve been on. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I forgive you. And I love you.
“Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.”
The trainer who repeated those words over and over during a boxing class I was in several years ago probably has no idea how much he helped me that day. He helped me not just get through a grueling workout, but planted the seeds that would start blossoming into the increasingly unshakeable sense of perseverance I have today.
If you care deeply enough about something to want to get good at it, to succeed, and to have an impact, you’ve GOT to keep showing up. Over and over again. Even when it gets hard, or boring, or terrifying, or uncomfortable.
Sidenote: Just to be clear, this only applies to things that are important to you! Please don’t continue to tolerate something that is harmful or makes you miserable just for the sake of being persistent!
As far as I’m concerned, your ability to persevere in the pursuit of your dreams far outweighs all other factors when it comes to creating an extraordinary life you love. The good news is that it can be learned, so if you haven’t already, make it a priority to get better! Here are some tips to get you started.
Be clear on the purpose
Be honest about why you’re pursuing something in the first place. Is it because you think you should or because you genuinely want to? Go for the plans and projects that are rooted in your values and light you up. It’s much easier to stay committed to something if you have a strong WHY to come back to when it gets hard.
Decide that this is important enough to put in the work. It will be hard. You will fail. Accept that from the get go as part of the process and commit to seeing it through. Make it non-negotiable. Declare your commitment to yourself, the universe, and your people (preferably the supportive ones who will cheer you on.)
Confront your fears
Fear is a great indication that there is something important in front of you. It’s also a ridiculous source of energy. Feel the fear, then take action, even though you’re scared. Tap into the physical energy coursing through your body and channel it into the bravery you need to take that first step. If you let it, fear might even become your greatest ally, instead of your worst enemy.
Keep showing up
Get out there. Some days you’ll be excited, progress will happen quickly, and you’ll feel unstoppable! Other days will seriously suck. Just keep showing up. Day after day. It may feel awkward, uncomfortable, or embarrassing. You might want to give up. Don’t. Just come back. Over and over again. Remember it takes consistency to see results.
Know that failure is simply part of the process. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s SO not helpful. Instead, pause and lick your wounds for a bit if you need to. Then take a deep breath, pick your ass up off the ground, dust yourself off, and climb back on the damn horse. It’s all about learning. Or as a yoga teacher of mine once said, “when you fall out of a pose, that just means you’re learning how not to fall out of that pose.”
Fall down seven times. Stand up eight. ~ Japanese proverb
One of my favorite frameworks to use when it comes to learning new skills is the conscious competence ladder, which this article explains in more detail. The middle phases are bumpy and that’s okay. You’re allowed to suck before you rock.
Like the stick figures helping each other in the diagram above, remember that getting support is part of the process too. It could be in the form of a coach or mentor, a mastermind group, a sports club, family, or just a workout buddy. Lean into your people and give them the great honor of letting them lift you up. We all need help sometimes.
Don’t waste your precious time and energy comparing yourself to others. Cheer them on, celebrate their wins, and then go back to honing your craft. Your journey will likely look unlike anyone else’s, so honor your own timing and process.
Savor your progress
While the destination (let’s say mastering a certain trick on a skateboard or reaching a milestone in your business) may be an amazing reward in and of itself, undoubtedly the greatest reward is who you are becoming in the process. Acknowledge the small wins and how you are expanding as a person along the way.
Sometimes I feel more like a detective than a coach. A master of curiosity. When I partner with a client, we work together looking for clues. Every clue provides us with more information, which then moves us closer to the next clue.
I’m not the expert on their lives. They are. And yet, most of the time they’ve lost trust in their own inner wisdom and don’t know where to look for the answers they’re seeking. My job is to help them find those answers.
One of the most effective ways I’ve learned to do that is to help them become curious again. WILDLY curious.
When you’re curious, you forget to be afraid.
When you’re curious, you’re less attached to your ego and getting things right.
When you’re curious, you’re open to new ideas and possibilities.
Are you ready to become the brilliant detective of your own life? Let’s do this. Here are a few tips to get you started down that path:
Replace judgment with curiosity
When you default to judging things, you contract. You shut yourself off to the limitless possibilities all around you. It may feel good temporarily, because it makes you feel superior, which feeds the ego. But, in the long run it just breeds negativity.
Tap into your innate curiosity
Choose to open your heart and your mind and cultivate an insatiable desire to learn more. Access the childlike wonder that is in there somewhere. When you catch yourself coming from a place of cynicism or fear, acknowledge it (without judging yourself!) and gently let those thoughts go. Then search for what it is that you genuinely want to know. Think of the obvious question(s) that your inner child (who isn’t worried about appearances or approval) would ask.
Adjust your language
Language is so powerful. Notice what you say, both out loud and silently to yourself. When you find yourself using judgmental words, pause and try again with more open and curious language. For example, sentences that start with:
“I’m curious about…”
Always be looking for clues
When you start shifting away from a mindset based in fear and judgment and toward one based in love and curiosity, the world will start to look very different! Every person, place, and event becomes a fascinating opportunity to learn something new. To discover something within yourself. Keep your eyes and ears open, and be present enough to really see and hear and experience whatever’s in front of you.
Many of the things that we tend to judge as good or bad are not necessarily inherently good or bad. It’s our thoughts about them that ascribe value to them. So, how you experience the world around you is a product of the meanings you are attaching to everything. That means you are creating your own reality at all times! So, as you walk through your life, find symbolism, find signs from the universe, find inspiration wherever you go. Why not?! It makes the day to day experience way more fun 🙂
Notice what you notice
Be curious about and notice how you respond to things. What kinds of people, places, and things get you excited? What makes you feel good? The more you pay attention, the more patterns will emerge. Every time you observe a preference – whether you like or dislike something – that information can move you closer to having more alignment in your life. To prioritizing what you love and what’s important to you and letting go of the things that don’t serve you and don’t interest you.
Be on the lookout for the things you want
As you become more and more attuned to this shift in perspective – to leading with curiosity – you’ll start to see that not only can you be constantly looking for and finding clues that help you create a life you love, but you’ll also realize that when you’re looking for specific things, you’re more likely to find them. So, keep what you want to find and create at the front of your mind, and then be open and ready to receiving the opportunities that show up.
Because what you focus on expands.
Be the detective. Look for clues. Choose curiosity over judgment, and watch your life transform into a daily adventure full of wonder and delight as you become both the conscious creator or your own reality, as well as the awestruck observer. It’s incredible.