“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ~ Confucius
During the summer Olympics, we watched athlete after athlete push themselves with hopes of making it to the medal platform. The ones who pushed the hardest went home with the Gold. Pushing ourselves for personal gain seem to be built into our DNA. Some of people go that extra mile, some choose to settle. But each of us is striving for something, whether it’s being a better parent or partner, gaining a promotion, starting your own business…. Life pushes us, then we push ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself or striving for excellence. But how do you know when to stop pushing, when we want to see significant changes in our lives? How do we know when to let go and let life run it course in taking us to the point where we’re supposed to be?
We had a discussion in our women’s group last night in which I explained how I’ve battled my challenges along the way. For me, life’s a journey, not a destination, where I want to be and where I find myself now are points along that journey. I may be at point B when truly I wish to be at option D or F because I’m impatient like that. But everything I’m doing now is pushing me towards that place on my timeline, with the only two options for me being (1) to continue pushing. In which case, there might be a few doors slammed in my face, or I might hit a few more bumps than usual along the way. (2) Living in the ‘NOW’ and letting life take me to where I’m supposed to be in due course. Not saying the ride is going to better, but I would’ve had more time to learn what is needed for when I get to points D or F. Sounds confusing I know! But flip it to your own life, look at where you are now and where you want to be. Then ask yourself- Am I pushing too hard to get there?
There are basically three questions you’re faced with to help you decide…..
1. When, where and how do I push?
To know this, you first need to know your destination and what plans you have to get there and how important getting there is to you. If don’t know this yet, don’t panic. Decide on the direction you want to go, then push in that direction, don’t get caught up trying to do too many things at once you’ll end up in a tangled web. Once you’re on the right track you will feel a sense of fulfilment, feel better about your journey and more relaxed. If you find yourself feeling worse or heavy, change your direction. If you feel indifferent, push even harder until you get some kind of feedback that this is right or wrong.
Trust me when I say it can be an overwhelming process. There will be a lot of doubting on your part, but trust your emotions.
2. How hard should I continue pushing?
If you’re trying to decide whether to keep pushing or just give up, ask yourself how much more will I have to push to progress further – or will pushing harder simply push me to the point exhaustion? knowing how much to keep pushing relies entirely on how well you know yourself. Do you feel like you are progressing forward even though you might not see the concrete results right now? If you’re an entrepreneur, it might be awhile before you see your client list or sales grow to a point that is satisfying to you. But patience will bring you more leads and potential sales conversations. The gist of it is, you feel like something is happening, even if it’s behind the scenes or in your subconscious. If you still feel stuck, at least you’ll still have the motivation, focus and momentum to keep going and pushing through until you see some progressive results.
However, be very wary of pushing so hard and so fast that you miss the signs of progress that are right in front of you. Remember to pause, breathe, reflect often.
3. When should I stop pushing?
When there’s not progress and you feel like you’re pushing against a wall. Faith can move mountains. Stop pushing take a step back, regroup, recharge, then get back to pushing when you’re strong enough to take up the challenge. Change your approach to how you are pushing and try something new (rather than pushing the mountain, cut a path through it, climb it, or go around it). Finally, recognise that you are moving the right mountain. because sometimes you could be trying to move the wrong mountain. Realise that you are moving the right mountain and if it is your mountain, you may need to simply adjust your direction.
©Etta D. Richards