Vail Daily column: Hitting the wall again and again
September 19, 2012
In a recent column I wrote about what happens when we hit those perceived and real world walls or roadblocks in our lives. Based on observations I noticed that some people pick up the pace and attack those walls harder and faster; others maintain their stride and never get derailed; and some folks stop, assess the situation, and develop a new plan to get beyond the roadblocks. And unfortunately, there are others who stop, give up, and even retreat.
Thanks to the community for really responding to that column, tons of email and many calls and conversations, and I appreciate every one of you. One such conversation was with a local reader and friend of mine Bert. Bert shared that he enjoyed the column, and it made him consider something else: “What happens when we face that same wall over and sometimes over again?”
You know how it goes right? We are OK taking on a challenge and we may even get inspired and pick up our energy level or effort to meet the problem head on. We may even realize a slight victory and temporarily get past the obstacle. But then before we know it, we are facing the same issue or problem all over again. The hill we had just climbed is now standing before us once more, and this time it doesn’t look like a hill – it looks like Mount Evans.
It can certainly feel daunting and maybe even a little overwhelming. We try and try and yet it seems like we just can’t get beyond that wall. There is no question that there will be more people that will feel like giving up and retreating when faced with a recurring problem or challenge, a wall that seems like it cannot be overcome.
Wait, don’t give up, do not turn back. Stick it out. When the going gets tough, the tough not only get going, they keep going and get tougher. Their resolve gets stronger and their endurance increases. It’s like a boxer, wrestler, or mixed martial arts fighter that seems to gain strength and stamina with each passing round and ultimately defeats their opponent.
Here we are in football season and I have already heard the term used by a broadcaster, “This is a good fourth-quarter football team.” What does that mean? It means that just like the fighter they have trained and prepared themselves to meet the toughest of opponents and play the entire game, all 60 minutes. And they will ultimately win because of that preparation.
Well, if we know that we will be facing that same obstacle in our life, that seemingly insurmountable wall or mountain of problems, what can we do to plan and prepare mentally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually? Setting our expectations that those walls will come up is a huge first step. But having our support systems and teams in place to help us is even bigger. Even if we get caught off guard by a new obstacle or roadblock we cannot be defeated because we have become stronger in all areas of our life. We are prepared to win.
When we feel like quitting or giving up it is because we are not ready for the battle. Typically my personal style when confronted with a challenge is to go harder and faster, getting right at the center of the problem. However, I have had my share of what I will refer to as obstacle courses. Seems like they just keep popping up no matter how hard I try. Two steps up and three steps back, right? So when this happens I have learned to fall into the group of people who stop, rest, assess, come up with a new plan, and try something different, but I keep on going. After all, one definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result.
I would love to hear all about those times when you just keep hitting that same wall over, and over, and over again at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again for all of the emails and let’s make this a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker, and CEO of http://www.candogo.com. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.