In a world where all you typically see are the selective, filtered, best-of, Instagram-worthy moments of someone's life, I'm going to be very real with you today. This is not your typical rah-rah, "you-can-do-it," inspirational blog. Rather, this is a taste of real life. I've coached many clients through tough times like this with this same method, and I thought it would be helpful to know that sometimes (often even!) I take a dose of my own medicine. If you can't already relate to these emotions and words, chances are some day you will. So, hopefully this helps guide you when you need it most.
Saturday was supposed to be our wedding day.
But this COVID drama stole that from us.
So instead of boarding a plane for our honeymoon, we are hiding away in nature for some healing.
These past 7 months have been some of the most stressful, pain-ridden moments in my life (and I'm guessing I'm not the only one):
- I've had to frantically scramble to save my business from this shutdown - a business I've passionately built from the ground up through blood & sweat.
- I've watched my 18-year professional dance career dissolve within a matter of days - a career I've spent more than 3 decades honing through hard work, dedication, and hustle.
- I've witnessed my dad have a major heart attack.
- I've watched this city I call home deteriorate to the point where I'm chased by bums on the street.
- I've felt the pain for my friends who own businesses themselves - businesses they are passionate about & have built with their own two hands - being forced to shut down or suffer unfairly.
- I've had to say goodbye to my cat of 18 years.
- I've had to cancel my wedding & honeymoon.
- I've been having a difficult time accepting this world we currently live in as my concept of reality and the rules for how this world should work have been completely turned upside down.
- Everything I thought I knew and believed in about hard work & deservedness has been squashed by these unfair circumstances.
I'd love to tell you that despite all this, I've stayed positive, made lemonade out of lemons, took a Pollyanna view of things, and found hope in platitudes like "It will all work out in the end."
But today's inspiration comes not from "winning out," "staying strong," or "overcoming"...but simply from the struggle itself. Sometimes all there is is the struggle. And that's okay.
When life hits you hard with wave after wave and you can barely come up for air, you can't think about anything but survival from one moment to the next. There are no thoughts about the future. No planning or goal setting. No dreams to be had. No sense of power over determining your course.
There's just the struggle - pure survival. And sometimes that's all we can deal with. Just make it to the end of the day. That's all. And even that can feel overwhelming. But by narrowing your focus to one baby step at a time, one minute at a time, you can make it.
In case you are in the struggle as well (or find yourself there at some point in your life), I hope you find comfort in the fact that it's okay to be there.
- It's okay to set aside your lofty goals.
- It's okay to "give up" on progressing and focus solely on surviving.
- It's okay to experience the exquisite pain that all but cripples you in your tracks and feel crushed.
- It's okay to rage at the unfair circumstances you are dealt and don't deserve.
- It's okay to just make it to the end of the day.
It's okay to stop. And heal. And survive.
I'm in the struggle right now. Somewhere deep inside I trust that I won't be here forever. But the struggle is all I can see and deal with in the moment. And that's okay. This is not a pity party. I'm not asking you to feel sorry for me. I just want you to know you are not alone should you find yourself in the struggle, too, just needing to survive.
PC: Sean Cook