Have you ever wanted something really bad, invested in change, and then given up on yourself? If you are anything like most humans, the answer is yes! Most of us are very clear about what we want and what it will take to get us there, yet too many of us give up on ourselves and walk away from our dreams even after taking significant steps towards those dreams.
Let me show you why you quit, give up on yourself, or fail to complete projects that you start, so you can achieve your goals and enjoy the satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from seeing a vision take shape. I just want to begin by saying that yes, becoming who you want to be is hard work, but ohhhhh, transformation is glorious!
This past week my mom and I headed to Florida to remodel a small beach condo. We had the vision, we made the plan, we invested in the right tools, but things did not go as swimmingly as we has planned! As my mom and I were cleaning, taking the rooms apart and preparing to pain it struck me how similar transforming a home was to transforming ourselves:
- There’s a ton of work at the outset that mostly goes unnoticed.
- The initial phases of change are messy, unorganized and make you question if it’s ever going to be worth it.
- You start thinking you need to change things you didn’t think you were going to have to change, and you get so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start or what to do because it’s all too much and you are in over your head.
- As the changes first become apparent you think, “Ummm, that’s not how I envisioned it!” because everything is a mish-mash of old and new.
- And then, suddenly, the new vision kicks in! Everything about your surroundings becomes clear and you know what you need to do next, and in what order.
See if the highlights from our journey mimic your own journey of transformation. We flew to Florida, which takes all day in part due to losing an hour in the time change. We rented a car and hit the condo with gusto and a fist full of paint chips. Upon making our grand plan, we scooted down the road to Lowes, which thankfully was open until 10. We spent too much money on supplies and paints, but we were enthusiastic and ready!
The next day we drug ourselves from our beds, extra tired (time change, remember!) and started right in. Well, not exactly.
We had to go back for stir sticks.
We realized we needed bottled water.
The lighting wasn’t as good as we though.
We had to move furniture and cover it with drop cloths. Which means…
We needed drop cloth.
And then we were hungry because it was hours past lunch time. (Hadn’t we just gotten up??)
The list goes on and on.
And then, hours later, when we finally got the first swatches of paint on the wall, it looked worse! It clashed with the old color, it made the furniture look hideous, we started worrying that we had made a mistake. We got wild ideas about needing new window coverings and rugs and furniture. Nothing looked the way we had planned and OMG, what were we doing here? Should we quit now, change course and redo our plans, or should we forge ahead?
We forged ahead. Moving into the next day and the next, not quite as excited as we had been when we were in the planning stages. By now we were hot and sweaty, splattered with paint and sore from moving furniture and cleaning the endless dead bugs and salty grime. And then, when we weren’t noticing, it all began to take shape!
Things did start looking the way we had intended them to look. Not only that, but it became clear what we should do next. Yes, we needed a new rug. No, we did not need to ditch all the furniture. New lighting really would tie the whole place together. Everything was going to be okay after all!
What seemed like an easy and fun project – turned into a discouraging uphill climb – morphed into a glorious and satisfying adventure that ended up being better than anticipated.
How is this like your own life and self-improvement attempts? If they are anything like mine, they follow this same trajectory of:
Excitement -> difficulty -> confusion -> tons of unanticipated work -> satisfaction.
But too often I give up. Too many times I hit the confusion stage and I give up. Or I get scared that the difficulties will keep on keeping on, and I panic. Or I allow myself to get distracted and derailed, focusing on the curtains and the rugs instead of finishing painting the walls.
Where are you in your journey? Once the initial excitement wears off, what sustains you? How can you continue to forge ahead, and prune away distraction so you can succeed at your big goal right now? Share with me where you at or what stage of the journey trips you up. I’ll put on my painting clothes, grab a Clorox wipe or two and help get you over the hump!
Because there is no point mucking around in the middle stages for any longer than you have to. Satisfaction is right around the corner. Like Dory the fish from Finding Nemo said, all you have to do is “Keep on swimming!”