You know the saying, we all do….
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
But what about when the going gets downright HARD?
Like when you’re trying to “get going” like they say, but you’re just spinning your wheels unable to really go anywhere?
Life gets HARD, and as easy as it is to say “Just keep pushing through!” that’s not always the answer.
When life starts to throw you more curveballs than you think you can handle, I challenge you to ask yourself these questions.
Even further, I challenge you to really dive into the answers.
What’s Your Purpose?
It’s the biggest clarifying question.
It’s an evaluation of your end destination and your goal.
Answering this question can help you decide whether this current challenge is worth enduring or if it’s something to let go of.
Let’s put it this way, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re just driving and burning up fuel.
That’s a waste of your time and money.
When life gets hard, refresh yourself of your purpose.
Then, take a thorough evaluation of your current situation, and ask yourself if it serves your purpose and brings you closer to it.
If not, let it go and get back on your path.
If yes, keep reading to know your next step.
What Can You Do Right Now?
When we’re faced with challenge and adversity, it’s natural for you to look past it to think about what your life will be like when this time passes.
However, it causes you to neglect what’s right in front of you, those things you can do in the present moment.
You’ve been trained to do that.
“Focus on your end goal!”
“Think about where you want to go!”
“Visualize what it will be like to get there!”
These are all things you say to yourself because coaches, family members, friends, and peers tell this to you as motivation.
But each of those statements directs you to the future, and can lead to a neglect of what’s right in front of you.
Think about it this way:
When you plug a destination into your GPS, you don’t stare at the end address the entire route.
No, it’s there if you need to take a look, but you stay focused on the directive in front of you.
If you look solely at the address of your destination, you’ll miss your next turn and be headed down the wrong road without knowing it.
That’s the approach you need to take when life gets hard – know where you’re headed or your end goal, but focus on what’s in front of you and the one to two things you can do in this moment.
Where Did You Come From?
Yes, you need to know where you’re headed.
And yes, you need to now what your next move is.
But if you don’t take a look at where you’ve come from, you have just as much chance of getting lost.
It happens all the time.
I do it, and my clients do it.
Things are going great until they aren’t, and you get so stuck on the fact that you’re not seeing results you forget to take a peek at all of the great things.
Back to the driving analogy.
The rear view mirror is a beautiful tool because it helps you to look at what you’ve passed.
You need a rear view mirror for life.
One year ago were you thinking about getting healthy?
Six months ago were you thinking about what days you were going to hit up the gym?
Three months ago were you putting thought into your grocery list and finding healthy recipes for meal prep?
The answer is no, but in your frustration at the current hardship, you neglect all the challenges you’ve crushed along your journey.
Take a look in your rear view mirror, and ask yourself where you’ve come from and celebrate the road you’ve traveled.
Whose Circus Is it?
You’ve probably seen the tiny clown car, where the door opens up and a seemingly never-ending line of clowns roll out of the car.
That’s a pretty good analogy for what we do with life….
Maybe we don’t fill our car with people, but I want you to imagine that each of those clowns represent a task or problem someone else has pushed on to you.
For most of us, it’s human nature to want to help.
Actually, I’m not sure if it’s wanting to help or feeling obligated to help.
But it’s not your circus to run.
Yes, you empathize that your coworker has a sick kid on top of moving, which has led her to procrastinate on her big presentation for tomorrow; however, that doesn’t mean you halt your day to do it for her.
Many times when life gets hard and you feel overwhelmed, it’s because your circus has taken on someone else’s act.
During those moments, ask yourself what is really a part of YOUR circus? What can you remove so that you have more room in your clown car?
Be mindful of the tasks you take on, and be sure your circus is primarily filled with your clowns, monkeys, and elephants.
Are You Playing the Comparison Game?
We are so connected in this world.
At the click of an icon on your phone, you are able to see what your family members and friends are doing at that very moment.
It can be great. Keeping you updated on the family member out of state, the friend getting married, or that person who just got the big promotion at work.
But it has its downfalls…
This connection has led so many into The Comparison Game – the game where you look at look at how far along in life everyone is while you seem to be stuck right where you are.
This game is dangerous.
It leads you to place this pressure on yourself to catch up to what everyone else is doing.
You stress yourself to find “The One,” to go on an awesome vacation, or to get that incredible promotion.
Before you know it, you’re overwhelmed with all that you’re doing, you feel as though you’re still stuck, and that you can no longer just keep up with life.
Despite being so connected on social media, you’re still only seeing a part of their life.
You have no idea what is actually going on behind the camera.
Do you want to know what’s even better?
IT DOESN’T MATTER.
This is their story to live. Not yours.
This is not the Hasbro Game of Life, where it’s a competition to see who had the most success in the end.
This is REAL life, where the end is the same for everyone but the path there is not.
You have your own lane, and the best way to reach YOUR end destination is to stay in that lane.
So ask yourself, have you merged into someone else’s lane? Are you creating stress in your life because you’re wrapped up in The Comparison Game?
What Can You Learn?
It always feels that when you’re struggling the most, the success of another is being thrown right in your face.
Sometimes it feels that when life gets hard, that it’s a sign that you’re meant to find a new road.
Maybe that’s true.
But it could also be true that this moment of hardship is a learning opportunity.
I’m a firm believer that there is something to be learned from every situation, but those lessons aren’t always easy to see.
In the week leading up to my last meet, I had a week from hell.
You know when they say sh*t hit the fan? Let’s just say the entire sewage system hit the fan….
Life was HARD that week, and it carried into the meet.
I underperformed in every lift, and I’m not just saying that because I’m competitive and hard on myself.
Mentally, it crushed me. I had worked way too hard for this result.
But now that I’ve had time to really think and reflect, I’ve found three lessons from it all:
- Mental recovery is just as important as physical recovery.
- There is room for improvement of my mind-muscle connection.
- It’s okay to communicate my needs and objectives.
Nothing earth shattering, but plenty to learn from and remind myself of as I progress through this next training cycle.
There is always something to be learned when life is hard. You may not see it right away, but always keep your eyes and mind open for the lesson because it may be what makes life a little easier for you in the future.
Where Is Your ‘Me Time?’
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned form times of hardship is to prioritize time for myself.
When life just seems to weigh on me more and more, my instinct is to do more and more.
In my head, I believe that doing more is the solution and that committing more time and effort will remedy the problem.
From experience, I know this is not the way.
Your body, like mine, is like a car. It needs to stop, rest, and refuel every now and then to properly run.
The best way to do that for your body is by setting aside what I like to call “Me Time.”
It doesn’t have to be days or hours worth of your time, in fact, it could be as simple as 10 minute per day.
The reality is that the majority of things we think we NEED to have done NOW can wait at least 10 minutes.
If you feel like you’re fighting to stay afloat, ask yourself when was the last time you took time for yourself and consider starting there.
Are You Fueling Yourself?
Turning the car off and allowing the engine to cool isn’t the only piece to a pit stop.
Typically, a pit stop includes a refill of the tank. Well, have you ever put in the wrong type of fuel?
I remember when one of my friends first turned 16, she pulled up to the gas station in a hurry to fill up and get to her friends’ house. Well, she didn’t pay attention to which button she pressed, and accidentally filled up with the wrong type of fuel.
After a long night with AAA and a couple days worth of diagnostic on her NEW car, she found out what had happened and was told she needed to completely replace the engine.
Remember, how your body is like a car?
You may not need gasoline, but you do need fuel, which is everything you eat or drink.
If you continue to fill yourself with the wrong foods and beverages, your engine is going to crash and burn just like my friend’s.
Poor food and beverage choices have the potential to make good times bad and bad times worse….
That’s not at all to say that you cannot have a glass of wine after a long week; however, it is to say that if you were to drink the bottle after every tough day at work, you could be in for some tough days ahead.
Take a look at your nutrition, and really ask yourself if you’re fueling yourself for all that
you’re up against for this time in your life.
What Are You Grateful For?
If you want some figurative fuel to spark your motivation to push through, take a moment to list out all that you’re grateful for.
When life gets hard, there’s a tendency to focus on only what’s NOT going right.
No matter how hard life gets, there are still so many things to be grateful for.
You have a job.
You have people who care about you.
You have water.
You have a home.
But you forget about those things when your workload piles up, you’re in the midst of getting kids ready to go back to school, and the dashboard of your car lights up like a Christmas tree.
When you’re to-do list is longer than the Sunday grocery line, it’s not easy to think about what’s going right.
But I challenge you to take 5 minutes per day to ask yourself what you’re grateful for.
If you really want to take it to the next level, tell those people on your list that you’re grateful for them.
I guarantee it can change your mood.
What’s the Opportunity?
Just as there is a lesson to be learned and something to be grateful for, there’s an opportunity buried in every hardship.
It’s not always easy to find, and definitely something that may require some digging, but it’s there.
Unfortunately, we’ve been trained to only look for the problem or hardship.
In fact, we ask for it.
You know when someone comes in and you can just tell by what he or she says or does that something has happened, what do you always ask?
“What’s the problem?”
“What’s the matter?”
I remember having this conversation with my husband’s family. We were talking about how it drives my brother-in-law nuts when someone asks one of those questions.
Who said there’s something wrong?
Sure, body language may have indicated that but you could be digesting a challenging moment or situation.
Even more, those questions lead you and another person down the rabbit hole talking about whatever happened. It keeps the focus on the negative, and prevents you AND another person from processing and creating a positive solution.
There may be a problem, you already know what it is, but it doesn’t necessarily need mulling.
What it does need is a solution, and that solution is discovered when you begin seeking out the opportunity.
I cannot guarantee that if you look for the opportunity will prevent you from ever facing a challenge in life.
However, I do know that by asking yourself and really digging into the answers of these 10 questions, you’ll find navigating all the hard sh*t in life to be a little easier.