Sometimes the times that try men’s and women’s souls aren’t the major hits or the seemingly end of the world occurrences – the job lost, the big chance blown, the wedding canceled. But rather it’s the wear and tear of the little stuff – the constant criticisms, the endless requests, the changes of direction, the feeling that “it’s” never done – or never good enough, or…maybe just not worth it…that wipes us out. As a friend of mine said recently, “Enough already! Where do I get off this bus?!” Okay, feeling out of steam, out of gas, or out of juice just isn’t all that uncommon for most of us. But “getting off this bus” isn’t always an option – or even a good idea.
So what do we do? Where do we find the “stuff,” the “juice” to keep on going, to stay in the game for another inning, maybe bring the rest of the team with us and even figure out how to win it? Well, here’s the good news: We already have the stuff. We don’t have to find it; we just have to rediscover – or uncover it. Here’s how: Take a look backwards for a few minutes. I know, I know, looking forward is usually the order of the day – but sometimes looking backwards is a good thing, too…at those moments that actually define us. Here are just a few simple steps to “filling the tank…”
- Take a look at those times you pulled it out of the fire. You know: You were running last, all the bets were against you, all the signs said, “forget it,” everybody in the “stands” shrugged and shook their heads. But you, and maybe your team, girded your loins, gritted your teeth, rekindled your fighting spirit, focused on the prize, and looked for a new angle. You knocked on a new door, asked for the order one more time…and it worked. Amazingly, it worked!
- Okay, take a look at the times when it didn’t work. You pulled out every stop, walked through every wall of fire and for reasons beyond your control (and maybe your comprehension) it just didn’t happen. But you didn’t let it get you down. You didn’t quit the team. (Thought about it maybe, but didn’t do it…) You didn’t rail against “them” – at least not for long. And you didn’t let cynicism take over your psyche, tempting as that was. You just got back in the game. And maybe brought the rest of the team with you. That’s just as amazing. Because look, we’re not talking about curing world hunger here (‘tho I wish we were), we’re talking about falling down and getting back up again – and about lifting somebody else up. And about embracing, celebrating and owning those moments that prove we can do it over and over again – even when the wear and tear of life is seducing us to pack it in.
- Share your “defining moments” with someone you’re close to. Listen to theirs.
- Then ask each other, “Hey, if we could do that, what else could we do?” And the answer will come back strong and clear: “Whatever we decide.”
This is the time to shrug off the debris of the “little stuff” that weighs us down, weakens our spirits and clogs up our very good hearts…and remember who we are. The fact is that the world needs us to play big. Not later. Now.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond all measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God and your playing small doesn’t serve the world.”
Marianne Williamson – A Return to Love.