It isn’t ALL About the Struggle

One of the most important things I’ve learned through my coaching journey has been the importance of fostering appreciation. And I mean appreciation for absolutely everything. Even the tough stuff. You know, those things that make you feel upset, or cause you large amounts of stress; breakups, people that annoy you, things not being perfect, friends who don’t meet your expectations, or you not meeting your family’s.

Learning to be appreciate of everything has helped me in so many ways. When you approach stressful situations with love and gratitude, your view of them changes. But eventually I started to see a problem arise from that logic. For example, anytime something bad would happen, I would welcome it with open arms, knowing it was an opportunity for growth. I even started to call those moments in more than was actually necessary. What this meant was that sometimes I would miss the good stuff entirely.

Recently, I was at Coach Camp, which is an event put on by well-known author and coaching expert, Robert Holden. At the event he asked us to do an exercise where we filled in the blank for the following sentence, “One way life is loving me right now is…” We were separated into groups of four and told to go around the circle continuing to fill in the blanks. We kept going that way for 10 minutes. At first, my blanks were filled with positives, but they quickly went to things like the difficulties I was having in my relationship and problems I was encountering with my business. While there is nothing wrong with these answers, I realized when Robert came to join our group that his answers were on the lighter side. He was saying things like, “Life is loving me through the poetry that I am writing,” or through other projects that he was enjoying. It made me realize that I was overly focused on the difficulties in my life, when I could have been celebrating my achievements. For instance, the previous week I had conducted a successful mediation, picked up three new coaching clients and there was money in my bank account (this is not always a given when you run a small business), but I’d glossed over all that.

I realized I needed to shift my focus more toward the ways in which my life was already amazing, instead of always searching out the positive within the negative. I LOVE what I do for a living. I love my clients, the projects I am working on and how free it feels to work in alignment with my passion. And while being appreciative of the many challenges in my life is important, I need to make sure that my focus stays more on the awesome things that are going on day-to-day.

We have this belief that we can’t change without pain. We’ve all heard the saying, “No pain, no gain.” But I call bullshit. Discomfort isn’t the only path to growth. We have just as much to learn through joy. So let yourself off the hook sometimes. Do what brings you joy and you will find that life feels lighter and easier every day.