We’ve all been in that place, but the uncertainty can mean the beginning of an important transformation.
By Beate Chelette
The days start innocently enough. We wake up, a bit sleepier then usual, and we don’t really want to get out of bed. Wouldn’t it be nice if today were a Saturday or Sunday? And yet, at least for me, the last three weekends were filled with important work deadlines that couldn’t possibly wait.
Then it comes, the day we come to hate. The day of doubt and fear.
I had a few of those days recently and it’s been rough, with headaches and backaches. I don’t want to check my phone as I don’t want anyone to want anything from me. Don’t ask me to do anything for you. Today I am not at the top of my game. Today I have nothing to give. Please someone come rescue me from my own negative thoughts of doubt and fear.
What if my project fails? What if I can’t do it? What if (your words go here). You see you and I we are not so different. Both of us get to this place of doubt with regular frequency. This is where we are slammed head first in the wall and it’s not moving. We must find a way around this obstacle but nothing seems to present itself. We may even try a few half-hearted attempts or call a friend for moral support, but still the wall stands like the unsinkable Molly Brown. This situation screams defeat.
That’s me today. I suck, this sucks, I can’t make anything work. It’s too difficult and while I love what I do and what stands behind it – changing people’s lives and businesses – it can be a challenge.
Here goes my helicopter brain again taking off, circling around the same problems over and over again and frustrated that I can’t find a solution. Finally, I surrender. I can’t figure this out. I declare defeat. Or not?
When I speak to my live audiences or teach in the PhotoBiz Intensive course, I call this the tunnel analogy. You are somewhere Europe, you drive into the tunnel. You know it’s a tunnel, you know you need to drive through it to get out the other side to get to your destination. There may be several tunnels, some of them quite long. You mapped out the route and you are okay with it until you get into that first really long tunnel. Very quickly you realize that you are right underneath a huge mountain in a tiny little tunnel. You think about accidents that have happened before in these tunnels and how much you hate closed spaces. It gets a little eerie. You can’t really turn around and even if you could, would it be better to turn around and go backward or is it faster just to keep going forward. Eventually you surrender and trust the path – you keep on driving.
When we go into a tunnel it’s easy to become disoriented. We forget that it is temporary and there is another side. We only see the small, enclosed space and it’s definitely not where we want to be.
This is the time when transformation can happen. That nagging voice inside that tells us we are not enough and probably never will be, that voice we thought we had put in its place is back and louder than ever. It’s vying for our attention. In my case I revert to what I know best, which is to roll up my sleeves and fight. Push through, push harder like I always have.
But sometimes that doesn’t work either. Because this may be a true transformation and we may be required to change. That means that we can’t go back to the old ways, but there will be a new way. Often one that hasn’t revealed itself yet because we are being called to trust the path. How easy would it be to do that if we a) knew what that path was, b) we were in control of mapping it out and c) could make it happen much faster.
When this happens remember that true change and transformation means that our old ways will not work any longer. While we are in the void we have no choice but to trust. In moments like this it’s wise to enlist your support network. Call everyone who believes in you; tell them how they can best support you. Sometimes it is as easy as asking someone just to listen so that you can vent.
Remember this is just happening now, not forever. The harder the situation is, the more profound your transformation will be and that is what you wanted to begin with, isn’t it?
As for me, I enlisted my friend Ali who reminded me to stop creating disaster scenarios in my head (because I do like to do that), and to get back into my heart. She said it’s okay to be vulnerable and not have all the answers. What do you think? Is it safe to show your softer, vulnerable side or do you try to put on a good face even when you are not feeling it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.