How to keep moving when you just want to stop

This is a useful follow up to our conversation yesterday about resilience (read it here if you missed it).

Have you ever had a life experience blindside you in such a way you felt incapable of or simply not wanting to engage life?

I experienced it when I was diagnosed with cancer at 18 yrs old. I experienced it again when my ex-wife walked out on me and my three young sons. 

Over the past few days, I’ve guided a family I work with in managing the sudden death of a family pet. If you are very emotionally attached to an animal you understand how painful a loss this can be.

The oldest daughter (age 15) was taking this loss particularly hard and wanted to opt out of school for the rest of the week.

She’d convinced herself she couldn’t handle school and needed to stay home in her room. 

My responsibility as her coach is to help her tap into her inner reservoir of strength to increase her ability to cope. 

Not to deny her grief, but to engage life while grieving. There will be times in life when you’re kicked hard but must keep moving.

Of course, there are exceptions, those aren’t the subject here though.   

The first thing was to help her realize she had such a reservoir. It can be difficult to remember you’ve bounced forward in the past when you feel knocked down now. 

We discussed how she made it through which reminded her she had a path from grief to happiness. 

By the end of our conversation, she had a plan for getting support at school if she felt overwhelmed by emotion. 

She moved from “I can’t go to school because I’ll fall apart, I just want to stay in my room,” to “I’ll go to school and this is what I’ll do and who to reach out to if I need to.” 

We accomplished this in 30 minutes through texting. Pretty cool huh? 

But the loss of a cat is different than the death of a spouse, right? Of course, it is. But the greatest inner reserves are built brick by brick. 

They start with giving up your pacifier as a toddler, losses of friendships, the loss of a pet and on and on.

You build your capacity by having the experience and doing the work to move through it. NOT by stuffing it down so you don’t have to feel it. NOT by shutting yourself away from the very support you need to remember you aren’t alone. 

This is as an important a lesson for business as it is for life. 

You won’t last as an entrepreneur if you aren’t equipped to ride setbacks like a surfer on a board. A board you often get knocked off but must find a way to get back on because the waves won’t stop for you. 

It’s great if you can avoid the tough times. It’s wise to have a plan for moving through and moving forward when they happen. 

That’s all for now.

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