Updated: Oct 26, 2022
"Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the Moon." —Paul Brandt
I love that quote. Most of you who read it will get a bit of an adrenaline rush pulsing through your veins. You may even find yourself saying it out loud, pushing your shoulders back a bit while voicing a ‘hell yeah’, followed by a fist to the air. Then, within seconds, that belly punch happens, followed by, “Well, I kinda believe that, but things haven’t worked out that well for me”.
We start to go down the list of what ‘hasn’t’ instead of running with the ‘what can’.
Let’s start with some grace for yourself. If you were alone in this thought process, this content wouldn’t need to be written. It is a scientific fact that we can go downhill faster than going up a hill. Momentum is behind us. Patterns push us faster and faster. Comfortability. Ease of movement. It doesn’t take much ‘oomph’ to go downhill.
Now uphill is another story. We need to prepare for that one. Onward and upward comes with a burn in our muscles. We can see the goal-line ahead of us, but it always seems to be farther away than when we first started out. We hear ourselves confirming that it would be so much easier to just turn around and coast back downhill. After all, I moved a little forward, doesn’t that count for something?
Then we stop. This is the danger zone. We see what is ahead. We see what is behind. And both places cause internal fear. So we freeze in place. That’s usually where I find most of my clients. Frozen in place. We have decided in our head that this is the safest place to be, but when that freeze sets in, woah to the toes! Frostbite of the mind sets in quick!
Ok. We acknowledge that fact. What do we do about it? Here are three simple steps to thaw out the freeze.
1. Move. Yes, moving forward is optimal, but moving backward is also an action. We continually hear about forward movement and how that’s the only step we can take. But have you watched a football game lately? Sometimes, the receiver needs to take some steps backward to find an open spot to move forward. The same strategy works when we are frozen in place. Stepping backward to find that open field, then putting our eyes on the opening, then moving forward, can produce muscle memory that will take us towards the goal. The key word is movement.
2. Track your footprints. Looking at where you have been and where you have stepped, whether it was good, bad, ugly, or awesome, can assure you that you have always come through to the other side. If you have breath, then there is nothing that was too hard, too bad, or too ugly to move through. You did it. Yes, there may be some war scars, but you made it. You are still breathing. Remember that. Also, remember the exhilarating feeling of the good and the awesome. Those great hot footprints led you through a challenge to a win! Count those ‘tiny wins’. They help with muscle memory. Then lay out a plan and draw footprints to walk into. Then step into them one at a time until you reach your goal.
3. Partner up. Imagine literally being stuck on an icy road. You have tried everything you can think of, but your car is not moving anywhere. As you look at your gas tank, you gauge how much time you have before things go awry for real. So what do you do? You call someone. Whether it is a husband, triple-A, emergency services, or a friend, partner up with someone to help you get out of this chilly situation. I believe with all that I am, that we were not created to always create alone. The same goes when we are in real need. You may be stuck writing your book; phone a friend, read a couple of pages, and ask them to listen as you flesh out a character. You are setting up your website and that slogan just doesn’t fit in the right slot of your vision; hire a consultant to troubleshoot your ideas. Your marriage has some slippery slopes; bring in a coach to help you talk through it as a couple.
Starting is the key. Use these 3 steps to bring in the warmth when you are stuck.