Katie Whitsed | 98five blogger
Have you ever had days where you feel like everything is just too much?
Days where you feel overwhelmed?
Days where things just aren’t going the way you’d like them to? You feel defeated.
Moments where you’d like everything to stop? Just so you can catch your breath.
However you want to describe it, those that days are straight-out uncomfortable, and just hard!
I’ve had times like that recently. It’s OK, and in fact it’s necessary and actually guaranteed.
Over the last six months I’ve joined my local volunteer fire and rescue service, and I love it. I love it because it feeds the ‘hands on, practical nature’ I have. I love knowing the mechanics behind how and why things work and volunteering for the fire brigade is something that is teaching me a whole other body of knowledge I never would have otherwise gained. It is also way out of my comfort zone, and above my current ‘known’ capabilities.
Last weekend I was on a training course, I was going to learn a heap of new things, and gain a new qualification which I was excited about. There was a theory and practical element to the training, with assessors there to take us through drills, so we could demonstrate our competence. One of the requirements was to set out and then roll a fire hose.
Sounds simple, but these hoses are awkward and heavy! And for a tiny human like me, it’s not an easy feat.
When being assessed, and under pressure, in the heat and humidity, trying to do something I’d never done before, I felt like quitting. I wanted to stop right then and there and say “I can’t do this, it’s too hard”.
I could feel the emotion creeping in and my body starting to tense. In that same moment I remember what felt like a literal flicking of a switch in my mind. I made the decision in that moment to hold back the emotion that was telling me to quit, and persevere. I kept going, despite everything that was trying to get in my way including — and especially — the negative thoughts that had started to creep in.
In that moment I noticed a strength come in, and with one step at a time I completed the drill. I got there.
This is a specific and seemingly simple example but the point is: all it takes is a moment and a decision, and everything can change.
We are going to have moments/days/weeks/months that we don’t enjoy; there are going to be times that are really hard and make us feel incredibly uncomfortable; and we are going to have days where we feel like giving up.
That does not mean we have to let it get the better of us. We need to approach these kinds of days like a battlefield, with preparation, armour and a strategy.
Acknowledge where you are at
Knowing that it’s OK to have those kinds of days is the first, and one of the biggest, factors in getting through them. If you are reading this right now, you’ve had 100 per cent success rate so far. Odds are, you will get through it again!
Awareness is the first step to effectively creating change.
It can be as simple as acknowledging that you’re finding something really challenging. I often say to myself “Katie, it’s a rough day today, but it’s OK, you’ll get there”.
Some say talking to yourself is the first sign of madness, but hey, it works for me.
The best defence is a good offence, so use the situation to your advantage. This starts and finishes with your attitude and perspective.
These two things are the only things you will ever be able to control, so use them to help you and focus on.
Equip yourself with the right thoughts and the right mindset, and I guarantee you that everything around you will shift like a chain reaction. Don’t focus on everything that’s getting in your way and working against you, those things will always be there. Instead, focus on what you can do, which is at the very least, putting one foot in front of the other and taking one step at a time.
The things that get you down will become leverage points for growth and learning. The things you thought were impossible, start to become possible.
Never underestimate the power of your focus.
Once you have the right focus, you need to know your strategy. This includes knowing your triggers and warning signs. Become aware of when you need to slow down, and what your body needs. Our bodies tell us so much, if we are aware and listening to them. Learn how you react to stress, monitor your sleep patterns, and become familiar with what’s normal for you, and when things change.
Know what helps you to overcome stress, like writing, reading or walking (and by stress I mean all types of stress. We all experience and feel stress differently. For you it might just look like ‘dropping the ball’ at work, or feeling tired).
Break down your tasks into manageable steps, one thing at a time. Identify who key supports are in your life; they are going to act as your lifeboats in times of trial. Know when you need to ask for help and seek guidance from those you trust. Preparation is key.
Essentially, if you can learn to acknowledge where you’re at, equip yourself with the right focus, and know your strategy for moving forward, you’ll need to get used to achieving goal after goal after goal, which also includes walking through places you never thought you could.
The difference between reaching your goal and falling short is in one decision.
Make the choice to persevere, to be strong, to keep going, and continue to make that same choice every single moment doubt and fear begin to creep in again. Everything becomes much more achievable when you break it down. One moment, one decision, and everything will change.
Choose to keep going when it feels like you can’t, just do it, and you will always surpass your expectation.
Katie believes in dreaming fearlessly and has a deep passion for seeing other people experience joy and stepping into living their best lives. Her love of writing and self-expression inspired her to create a blog as an avenue for sharing her journey in choosing joy. The kind of joy that makes you smile for no reason at all, the kind you don’t have words for — Joy unspeakable. heartfeltjoy.com | Follow Katie on Facebook | Instagram