I have a confession to make.
The last two weeks - (the first two weeks of the new school year) - I have struggled to practice what I teach. The challenge has been real! The change in year level is exciting but I forgot to tell myself that. I could physically feel the overwhelm in my body and I felt like a massive cloud was around my head. There were tears. Lots of tears. I knew what I was thinking and saying was not helping and yet....it took me two weeks to see it. The struggle was very real and very painful. But the cloud has lifted and I want to share my journey with you today.
What eventually got me there were was an interesting quote I heard while listening to a Brendon Burchard podcast. He said "Adversity occasions creativity'.
The definition of adversity is 'a difficult or unpleasant situation'. Now I don't know if adversity would have been the word I would use to describe my past two weeks but I think the word 'struggle' would work the same.
My struggle was a great big wall of self-doubt in an area of I have not felt it in for as long as I can remember. So it took me by surprise when it hit. Of course, when I allowed the self-doubt to hit, it had a ripple effect. I love what I do. I am very good at it and so when I stepped my toe over the line of comfort, things got hard! (As they do when you leave your comfort zone!) I tried to get clarity and figure out what I thought I was supposed to be doing but struggled even more. All my normal creativity had disappeared behind the cloud! Then I realised what was actually happening.
The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. There was no way I could allow my ideas and creativity to flow if I continued to stay in this cloud of self-doubt and a struggling mindset.
Then I had a beautiful parent give me some beautiful words of wisdom:
This is my greatest lesson - working through what I teach.
And I realised, that there is power in the struggle. There are learnings in the struggle. But I had to acknowledge the struggle first and come back to the heart of it all.
Every single person experiences self-doubt at some time in some way. Every single person. Big or little! But here is what I learned this week.
Be the Realist.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our own struggle or adversity that we catastrophise our situation. We see things as the worst possible thing in the world! We forget to see things as they truly are.
Our job is to see things as they are. No better. No worse.
The only way to move through the struggle more quickly is to see things exactly as they are. Dream big in life but be realistic about exactly where you are at right now.
Lose the Fear
My fear over the last two weeks was about not having all the knowledge I needed to do the job well. What if I completely messed it up? What if I forgot to teach these kids the stuff they really needed to know! What if....what if? The fear of not knowing it all and getting it wrong was all around.
But the reality is, in order for us to live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong. Creativity is beautifully messy and imperfect and mistakes are what help us to dig deeper into the possibilities of our own creativity. They are the moments we need to draw on our own resourcefulness in order to continue to thrive.
Trust your struggle
Embrace the suck. Trust your struggle. I think we often fight against this because we innately, don't want the struggle! But the crazy part is, the more we struggle against the struggle, the more it hangs around until we figure out that all we need to do is trust it. Trust that it is teaching us and guiding us.
The struggle you're in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Trust it.
Creativity is a mind, set free (Torrie T Asai)
I read this and thought....that makes total sense! In order for your mind to see things clearly, or for ideas, resourcefulness, creativity to come through, you need to let go of all of the fear and self-doubt. Just that process alone is freeing. Letting go of all the stuff holding us back allows the mind to be free to figure it all out. Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. Creativity allows your mind to think without all the other 'stuff' getting in the way!
Out of our adversity or struggle comes an opportunity to grow and flourish.
Here are my top ideas on working through struggle more efficiently. I recognise and acknowledge that there are different types and levels of struggle but essentially, the basis of struggle or adversity is the same and our behaviours around them, regardless of what they are, are the same. So I hope these support you too.
Start where you are.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. We waste so much energy thinking 'I will start when I know this or have this thing' or something like that. When it comes to figuring our way out of struggle, the best place to begin is exactly where you are. The best thing to do to is start with exactly what you have and do what you can. Don't wait for the 'right' time. The right time is always right now. Our creativity and resourcefulness will begin to flow when we simply begin with where we are at right now. The rest will work itself out.
This is simple. This is easy. This is fun.
My hubby keeps reminding me of these three little phrases. When you understand that what you say matters and that your words have power, then you understand that changing them is critical to how you approach anything in life - including challenges and struggle. This is simple, this is easy, this is fun are the three phrases he reminds me when I forget. To be honest, you might feel silly saying it and you might not believe it just yet, but the more you say it, the easier things feel and the more open you are to figuring things out.
Ahhh...the dreaded control factor! Let's face it...we all like to be in control and yet, life is so beautifully designed that there are more factors out of our control than in! Which is exactly why we struggle and face adversity. The best way to move through struggle or adversity is to remember that you can't control everything. Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out. Let go and let life happen. Creativity is about experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun. None of these things can happen if we want to control every aspect of life. We will simply struggle even more.
Self-Belief vs Self-doubt
Our hardest times in life often lead to the greatest moments of our life. It's rising from the ashes like the Phoenix, it's getting back up after being knocked down, it's looking at each step in front of you instead of the whole mountain up ahead and, as I like to say, it's putting on your big girl panties!!
Your ability to overcome struggle is based on your ability to believe in yourself and all that you are. It is critical to know that there is something inside you greater than an obstacle or struggle you are in right now. You will discover who you are. Einstein was quoted by saying, 'Adversity introduces a man to himself'. It is in the struggle we discover who we are and what we are capable of.
I'm thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn't have stumbled across my strength. My soul is richer for it.
Reaction and Response Time
It is your reaction to your struggle, not the struggle itself, that determines how your life's story will develop. The reality is, we struggle because we want to control everything. It is never the struggle that is the issue. It is always our reaction to it. Two weeks ago, I could have taken all my own advice and had a different reaction to the struggle I felt creeping in. But I didn't. I fought against it, I hated that I was actually struggling and I was going around in circles not learning anything from it. That's okay though. It was only for two weeks. Next time I will be more aware and cut the time down! The lesson is I learned something about myself and how to do it better next time and hopefully, my story will help you.
How quickly and responsibly we respond to adversity is far more important than the adversity itself (Jim Rohn). It is not just our response but our response time that makes a difference too. For me, two weeks of pain (emotional, mental and physical that all stemmed from this) was long enough. But we are human and we are far from perfect. Don't let your struggle become your reality. Trust it and let it teach you. Don't stay in the same struggle for too long.
Until next week my friends...have the most spectacular and mindful week!
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