A wonderful coaching client asked me this question recently and I swear I squirmed with pleasure.
“How do I know if I should stick with something when it feels really hard or should I change to something that feels better?”
I love this question so much because I have allowed it to defeat me far too many times.
But no more. Because now I see it for what it is – a useless, even dangerous, question.
What does too hard mean? How do you measure it? By how you are feeling? That’s not a super reliable measure.
If someone called me right now and said, “This was the best blog post ever written in the history of the inter-webs, and millions will be helped by it,” my thoughts, and thus my feelings, about finishing this post would change instantly. Suddenly it would not be too hard and I would not be about to go in search of a wee morsel of chocolate to help me finish.
Likewise, if someone called and said, “For god’s sake, do not finish this piece of drivel, the world does not need it,” my thoughts, and thus my feelings, about finishing it would also change. I would probably find myself with my entire body in the chocolate drawer.
This is just a silly example of how my thoughts influence my feelings, and thus lead me to ask silly questions that stop me from taking action on what I want.
Instead of asking “Is this too hard?” try:
Is this connected to something I desire?
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Am I making clear agreements with myself that I can keep and how will I know when I have?
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Say you are doing NaNoWriMo this month (National Novel Writing Month). You’re having a hard time getting your 1666 words written today. If you looked up dull in the dictionary, there would be a picture of your brain. All you can think about is how much you want to take a nap…
Ask yourself, “Is this too hard?” and the answer will be, “Hell, yes! Nap here I come.”
Ask yourself, “Is this connected to something I desire?” and you might get, “Yes! I want to write, I want to craft something, I want to finish something.” You may well still feel blah but desire can fuel you to keep writing.
Focus on the desire.
Asking, “Am I making clear agreements I can actually keep and how will I know when I’ve kept them?” is another crucial way to get free of the “too hard” boon-doggle. 1666 words a day is a clear commitment. So is meditating for 5 minutes a day 5 days a week, counting to five before responding to your cranky toddler, giving away 10% of your annual income. Can you actually do it for 30 days (writing) 5 days a week (meditating), 10% of your income? If you know you can’t one day or one week or this year, let yourself off the hook. If you don’t, you’ll start to feel demoralized and that leads to the “This is too hard” feeling.
Making and keeping clear agreements is a HUGE SECRET to enjoying your life and creating what you desire. Huge!!
What is too hard? A mood. A feeling. A story. A feeling of never having finished something because there was no finish line. Instead use the life raft of “What do I desire?” and “What clear agreements can I design to live that desire?” There in lies a much groovier and far more alive line of living inquiry.
Try it out!
P.S. These ideas are explored in my book The Life Organizer – available now for pre-order in paperback. We’ll be unveiling a Life Organizer app in the next 2 weeks and four other super supportive gifts, as my thank you for everyone who orders the book. It makes a beautiful inexpensive gift for all the women in your life.