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When You Hit the Wall, Dig Deep

“The moment when you want to quit is the moment when you need to keep pushing.” -- Unknown

Marathon runners know it. The wall. The moment during your 26.2-mile run when you feel you just can’t take one more step. It happened to ME on mile 13 during the 1993 Los Angeles marathon – one of the hottest races on record. I sat down on a curb, took off my shoes and socks, stared at my bloody blisters and missing toenails, and decided right there and then to give up.

But that moment passed, and I didn’t give up. Instead, I dug deep, really deep, and realized that I possessed the strength and determination to finish what I had started. I knew the race would be painful and challenging, but I also knew that I had trained for months, gaining the skills and stamina to finish.

With every ounce of will, I put my socks back on, tied up my shoes, stood up from the curb and started putting one foot in front of the other. Step after step, mile after mile. A few hours later (since I walked the last half) I crossed the finish line.

I had hit the wall, dug deep, and pushed forward.

I bring up this memory because it is relevant to all of us who are courageously pursuing our passions. In most situations, our pursuit of a better career, better relationship, better life will not be a sprint – but rather a marathon. And marathons are long. And you WILL hit “the wall.”

Sometimes it is super obvious. You wake up one morning and just want to quit. Pursing your dreams is tougher than you could’ve ever imagined, and you feel like you are taking leaps of faith without a safety net. It’s too difficult, and the easier alternative would be just to quit.

Yet other times, it isn’t obvious at all. You are pushing forward but find yourself feeling tired, cranky, unmotivated – and you are procrastinating and whining and indulging in unhealthy behaviors. That, too, is a sign that you’ve hit the wall.

And now you have two choices:

Either quit, which, in my book is NEVER an option. Give me an excuse for quitting and I will shoot it down. As long as you are breathing on this earth, there’s no excuse to quit.

Or you can dig deep and find a way to tunnel under that wall. Examine your life. Identify your fears. Ascertain your anxieties. AND SEE THE BIG PICTURE. Recapture your self-confidence, address your fears non-emotionally and objectively, figure out the little steps needed to move forward, and do not succumb to feeling overwhelmed. You CAN make it happen. You just need the WILL to make it happen.

A little bit of struggle, or even a lot, is WORTH the end result – which is a happier, more productive, more joyful life.

I suggest you dig deep and fearlessly tunnel under that wall. It is ultimately an investment worth making. Because it is an investment in YOUR life. In YOUR happiness. In YOUR joy.

 

Dr. Lori Baker-Schena is the founder and chief executive officer of Baker Schena Communications, a firm dedicated to “Unleashing Your Potential Through the Power of Words.” We offer motivational speaking, leadership consulting and medical writing services. Find us at www.loribakerschena.com

Making Excuses Robs You of Opportunities, Happiness

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. – Benjamin Franklin

Every day I hear from people who want a positive change in their lives. When I offer them a life strategy, I hear one of two reactions:

1.     “These are great ideas. I know they require a lot of hard work, time, effort, sacrifice, strategic risks and courage, AND I am ready for the challenge.”

 OR

2.     “These are great ideas. BUT they require a lot of hard work, time, effort, sacrifice, strategic risks and courage, and I simply cannot do it because ________________ (insert excuse here).

I hear excuses all the time about why someone can’t find a new career, or a new partner, or a new living situation, or joy.

“I can’t afford it.”

“I don’t have the education.”

“I’m too afraid to try.”

“I’m afraid of rejection.”

“I don’t have the time to invest in changing (fill in the blank).”

 ENOUGH ALREADY!!

In my classroom, I NEVER allowed whining or excuses for crappy work or late papers. I encouraged students to take responsibility for their efforts. And when I set the bar high, my students stopped making excuses and started stepping up to the plate.

I challenge you do to the same thing with your LIFE. Keep these five pointers in mind:

·      Realize You Are Making Excuses – Some people have made excuses for so long, they don’t even realize they are making them. LISTEN TO YOURSELF. Are you making excuses for staying stuck?

·      Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself – You may be facing some personal challenges, but there is NO REASON not to find happiness. You are healthy, live in a country where you are free to pursue your life’s passion, you have a roof over your head, food in your stomach, and A BRAIN. What else do you need?

·      Be Willing To Do The Work – Are you making excuses because you are too lazy to do the work?

·      Let Go Of The Fear – Fear paralyzes. Fear inspires excuses. Let go of the fear and stop the cycle.

·      Believe In Yourself – You possess all the talent, all the tools, all that is necessary to get unstuck. But if you don’t believe in yourself, none of this matters. Getting unstuck starts from within.

The bottom line is that when you make excuses, you rob yourself of opportunities … and happiness. You defeat yourself even BEFORE you step up to the plate.

Starting today, make a conscientious effort to transform your defeatist attitude into positive action. You will be amazed at the opportunities that will open up for you.

Dr. Lori Baker-Schena is the founder and chief executive officer of Baker Schena Communications, a firm dedicated to “Unleashing Your Potential Through the Power of Words.” We offer motivational speaking, leadership consulting and medical writing services. Find us at www.loribakerschena.com