When the going gets tough…you know the rest…the tough get going. The thought is that harder work or some new approach is the solution to any challenge. Yet, what if the so-called problem is simply an opportunity to look at your life in a different way? What if doing less (or nothing at all) is the answer? Could an apparent roadblock be a welcome detour to an unexpected future?
When I was still living in Los Angeles and trying to “make it” as an actor, I knew I needed to change directions in my career. While I was earning small roles in movies and television, I missed my two sons and a decision had to be made: remain in LA or move closer to my sons. For me, that was an easy decision.
However, the question still remained, “what am I going to do with my life?” The move to Nashville was done and I even had a job, but it was only to pay the bills. The question of a vocation, or higher calling dominated my thoughts. I passed through several jobs as I searched for the answer outside of myself. It was when I started looking within that the answer revealed itself.
I worked at a gym in LA on a part-time basis and got to know the trainers and a physical therapist there. The structure and function of the body has always fascinated me and my conversations with the physical therapist reawakened my passion. Yet, I ignored this spark for over a year as I kept looking for another job to be the answer and that only led to frustration. In short, I was lost because I didn’t accept the answer I knew. It was when I finally decided to stop trying to do something else and trust myself that the path opened before me: I became a trainer and a health and fitness writer.
I’m sure you’re a little quicker to trust yourself than I am when you face the occasional roadblock in your life, but here are the ideas, which helped me to make it through that tough period in my life:
1. This too shall pass. The frustration and impatience you are experiencing won’t last forever. Remember, just because you feel desperate for change and the resolution of uncertainty, it won’t happen all at once. Take a deep breath and do what you can do today to unfold your future.
2. Change happens in an instant, but is revealed over time. When I made the decision to move to Tennessee to be near to my children, I had no idea what I was going to do. The catalyst for my decision was my desire to be deeply involved in the lives of my sons, Jacob and Aiden. However, it took well over a year for me to step onto the path I am travelling.
3. Our energy flows where our attention goes. This is why it is not always the best idea to “just do something,“ in order to stave off feelings of hopelessness. Sometimes it is wiser to withdraw for a time, rather than to push forward. Your time and energy are your most important resources.
4. A step forward may seem like a step back. The first three years I worked as a personal trainer, I worked a second job to make ends meet. Yes, I questioned what the Hell I was doing and if I was merely treading water. In fact, after a disenchanting 3-month stint at a big, box gym, I almost quit the work I love. One month later I found my place and I am thriving.
5. Will this matter in a year, in a decade or in 100 years? If you are honest with yourself in the moments when you feel as if nothing is going to work out for you, you will admit the perceived setbacks of today will be remembered as nothing more than a bump in the road. When you feel lost, it is because you have forgotten your purpose and what you value. This means you are trying to live someone else’s values and this leads to all kinds of bad decisions about careers, relationships and social media stalking J. Your purpose is the one or two things, which are bigger than you and for which you will be remembered in 100 years.