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  • Sharon Borland

#45 When the Going Gets Tough


What happens when things start to block the breakthrough we’re pursuing and how do we keep going?


Have you ever noticed that sometimes life doesn’t go quite the way you hoped or expected? In this blog, we’ll be thinking about what can get in the way when we’re pursuing a breakthrough (something we’re passionate about seeing but don’t know how to do) and how to keep going. But much of it could equally apply to the tough times in everyday life. We would contend that thinking about many areas of our life as breakthrough opportunities is likely to bring greater focus to our purpose and meaning. After all, the satisfaction of achieving something we didn’t think we could do is likely to be so much greater than all the stuff we’ve done that was easy to achieve. Bear in mind, of course, that what one person sees as easy could be a huge breakthrough for someone else. Context matters.


Obstacles have a habit of getting in the way of something we’re pursuing at any time in our journey – on day one or several years later. The obstacles may appear very real, and some of them really will be, but there may also be some obstacles that exist only in our minds. Whether it’s obstacles of finance, time, resources, people, anxiety, fear or something else, we can quickly lose our passion and excitement and start wondering why we bothered and whether it’s time to quit. We may also find ourselves using a lot of time and energy thinking about what this means (or seems to mean) about us and about what other people might think or say. Disappointment and a sense of failure are often just around the corner. This rarely helps us push beyond the obstacles!


One of the first things to consider is the importance of reminding yourself that obstacles are to be expected. I say ‘remind’ yourself because you’re likely to find it easier to navigate obstacles well if you begin your journey with the expectation that you might get stuck at various times. At this stage you probably won’t know what these obstacles will be (if you did, you could have planned for it and found a way around it already) but think of them as part of the journey – a challenge to be overcome.


A very powerful way to motivate yourself to continue when things seem hard, is to remember why you were pursuing this new future in the first place. You’ll find it much easier to do this if you capture it right at the start of your journey. So, begin each journey by focusing not only on what you will see in this new future, but why it’s important to you. Using your creativity and imagination (yes you are creative), bring to life this future and the impact it will have. Make a regular practice of putting yourself back in that future you created and remind yourself why it matters to you. When you notice that you’re complaining and talking about what’s ‘wrong’, the chances are you’ve just lost the future. So, recreate and bring it back to life.


In the next blog, we’ll look at some practical considerations around wellbeing and some of the ways you could look after yourself better when the going gets tough.

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