The title of this post may sound like it is more about managing struggle than encouragement, but I promise if you read all the way to the end the encouragement will be there.
When we work hard to achieve a goal, to win that soccer game, to deliver a stunning dance performance, to improve efficiency at work, there can be a temptation to think, “Well, I did the hard work, now I can relax.” Life throws up obstacles every step of the way. It is up to us to overcome them no matter how big or small they are.
Taking the easy option is exactly as it sounds; easy. If we take that path we risk our lives becoming stagnant. For us to grow we need to challenge ourselves. What this looks like for everyone will be different. Some people are suited to more intense challenges with tight time frames. Some people thrive when tackling long term challenges with clear goals. Some people embark on journeys into unknown territory which is a challenge in and of itself.
As I said in my previous post there is no substitute for hard work. We need not be going at 100 percent all the time. I would even go so far as to say this is unhealthy. What we must do is maintain humility and know there will always be more to learn even when we start to become really good at something.
In my job at the moment there are tasks which I do not particularly look forward to. Several involve initiating conversation on the phone. If someone rings me I have no problem with that, but if I need to ring others I become nervous and wonder if I know what exactly it is I need to talk them about. The reality 99 percent of the time is that these phone calls are fine, and often even enjoyable. Part of me thinks, “I’ve dealt with enough phone calls today” (most days I haven’t), “It’s someone else’s turn to ring people” (it’s actually part of my job description). I’m working on it. If I can healthily bury my pride, get stuck in and just pick up the phone, I reduce the time I spend thinking about each phone call, and thus reduce the chance of making molehills into mountains.
One environment where I have had to work to hard to cast my pride away is while playing ultimate. For years I have worked hard to improve my skills to play as best I can. Alongside this I have improved my knowledge of the rules to be as prepared as I can when any call has been made. Being self-refereed there is a responsibility for every player to know the rules so they can abide by them and enter any discussion with the required knowledge to reach an agreement. While improving, I reached a point where I believed I knew best in any situation and that I could explain what other peoples’ perspectives were for them. This is simply not true. I can not know another person’s perspective until they give it.
I have learned through experience and the wisdom of others that the best way to enter any discussion on the ultimate field is to listen. Listen and hear what they are saying. This is an important life lesson too. We can be so eager to speak that we don’t hear, and miss opportunities for strengthening our relationships with others. Shed any lingering feelings that we know best about everything. By all means assertively state our point of view. But be willing to enter discussion and change our point of view if presented with evidence.
Work hard. To achieve your goals, and to be humble. Sometimes we’ll fail but never let that stop you from moving forward, one small step at a time. Thank you to Katey26 for reminding me of the truth in these words.
Peace to you dear friends.