You should keep working at it (even if you kind of suck at it right now).
Look back on that subject line one more time.
Did an "it" come to mind?
I used to get FURIOUS with subject lines like that. I felt like I was being personally victimized by a blog post.
Until I recognized it as the Divine speaking to me, which, even when I'd rather go, "okay, cool, but let's not do this right now. I'm busy," is pretty cool.
I could wax philosophic about the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon (a thing I just learned that there was a name for, ironically; otherwise known as the frequency illusion, it's when you have recently noticed/learned/experienced/been told about something, and, suddenly, you can't stop seeing it) or confirmation bias or the like, but I won't, because, despite it being cool, I feel like most of us either giggle or fume (or both) when it happens in real life. Not much need for further study.
What I DO want to discuss today, is that the "it" - YOUR "IT" - the thing your subconscious won't let you drop - is not just a looming, unreachable, would-be-nice goal, but a thing toward which we can take steps. Every day. All the time.
Not just when we're "ready," but also now.
If you've yet to read Grit by Angela Duckworth (this is at least the 4th time I've mentioned it since the new year), I'd like to take this opportunity to recommend it once more.
In it, Duckworth provides hoards of research that show that, in the area of achievement, effort is twice as important as talent. Outside forces certainly influence our success, but the most important measure by far (a more reliable indicator than aptitude tests or raw talent) is our grit: a combined measure of our perseverance and passion.
How do we bounce back when we fail?
Do we recognize that success is more about the process (and the love of it) than about natural ability?
Do we have the balls to stick it out after the first, third, or tenth challenge or plateau?
Our success is inevitable if we take the time to learn our craft. And here was the kicker for me, for where I am today:
Chalking someone else's success up to mere genius is playing small.
It's an insult to them and a disservice to ourselves. It's a cop out, allowing us to accept that we will never be as good as they are, because they're "born with it," or, "things come more naturally to them," or, "they had [fill-in-the-blank advantage] and I didn't," and, while that may be true, accepting those ideas takes us out of the arena and ensures that we won't succeed as far as they have.
We may never see the hours upon hours of the mundane that goes into a prodigy being a prodigy, but that is where greatness lies: consistency, growth, and grit.
So, what's step one? How do we move from feeling victimized, from playing small, from being jealous of others' success to crushing these big, bold goals and being the ones everyone asks how we do it?
Well, first, WE DO IT.
We can't know what we need to work on if we don't mess it up first (that's a Steph life mantra, by the way), so, I'd encourage you to remember that we're all beginners at something (read: we've all looked stupid doing at least one thing. If you don't feel you have, let me be the first to tell you, you're definitely wrong, and, if you're worried you look more ridiculous than everyone else, I'll invite you to come watch me attempt an agility ladder.).
Research shows that the highest performers work on their weaknesses the most. Seems obvious, no? But it's the last thing most of us want to do.
We want to avoid, find ways around it, out-muscle our weaknesses with our strengths.
High performers want to work on those weaknesses, try a million times and fail most of them, but getting a little better each time, until those weaknesses are not as weak, and they can move on to the next one.
Note: there's also a lot of research saying that our weaknesses can only improve so much, whereas with our strengths, we have relatively unlimited potential. So, before we go on some mission to turn me into an agile panther and other weaknesses to strengths, let's cut ourselves a break and acknowledge that the goal for our weaknesses is to get less bad at them. Passable to good, if you will. And then move on.
Note part two: even if the aim is passable to good, the value is in the cultivation of grit: the perseverance, the belief in oneself, the accomplishment when it's finally no longer a weakness.
THAT is where the magic happens.
Because, through this process, we might not be the next Flo-Jo, but we refine a work ethic. We get to know ourselves. We understand our passions and our abilities. We show up for ourselves and for our goals. We approach life not like a possibility hoping for some validation, but like an answer knowing where we're headed. We expand, becoming bigger and better with every attempt, and inspiring others to do the same.
Whatever your "it" is, it's a worthy goal. It's there for a reason. It's meant to be nurtured.
What are you working on this week?
Comment and let me know!
PS- to show you I also practice what I preach, I'll let you in on the fact that one of my goals is to be able to walk on my hands. Never been able to do it. Have a bad shoulder. Could easily say, "that's not for me," but I want it to be for me, SO I'M PRACTICING.
Step one is to be able to do a free-standing handstand though. Not there yet, but here's 3 weeks of progress!
PPS- I'm working on a 7-day mindset + workout downloadable challenge for you with a 14-day workout calendar and a few journal prompts. Thank you SO MUCH for your responses to last week's post!