Got Goals? Time To Learn To Accept Life's Challenges + Embrace the Suck
I get it, no one is excited about the challenges that life presents us with when we are working to accomplish our goals. No one is excited during the times it feels like everywhere they turn there are obstacles in the way. No one is happy to watch something they have worked hard for fail. But there is a difference between those who accomplish their goals and those who do not…it is the ability to understand, expect, and accept that life will present challenges along the path. Nobody makes it through this life unscathed, at least not if they are chasing after something of meaning or purpose to them. No one makes it through this life without failing (and probably failing a lot). There is nothing wrong with being frustrated by the obstacles and challenges that life presents; it is when you use them as an excuse to stop moving forward with your life or when you stop pursuing your life’s ambitions that the problems occur.
Inevitably shit will hit the fan, and for some of us that happens more than once in our lifetime. What we thought we should do we will find out wasn’t meant for us. Or we will find that the path is not as easy as we thought it would be. Life is challenging, it is ever evolving, and it is definitely not easy. Which means sometimes that requires us to learn how to ‘embrace the suck’ (check out Vanessa’s Shannon piece for more on that). What does that mean? Well it doesn’t mean that you write a list of every terrible thing that can happen. And it isn’t about being pessimistic or not believing in yourself. Embracing the suck or accepting life’s challenges means you understand that not everything will go right during the whole process. That you realize the challenges that life will inevitably present you with can be the wake up call to you sleeping on your life. It can also mean working hard and looking for new ways to get to the outcomes you are looking for. It is knowing there will be challenges and then working to prepare your mind to be ready when they come. You prepare yourself to not give up at the first sign of uncertainty. You remind yourself that it may not go perfect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome whatever obstacles come up and work around them to do your best and attack your goals.
In my own experiences, sometimes resistance or challenge comes when I need to be knocked on to my ass, and actually evaluate what I really want, and how hard I am willing to work to get there. Not too long ago I was unhappy, there was no doubt about that if you looked close enough. I stayed on a path because it was comfortable, it was the path I needed to stay on in order to keep ‘moving up’, the path I had created for myself when I didn’t even really know who I was. The problem was I didn’t actually want to be on that path anymore. For far too long I was too afraid to admit that to myself. It isn’t an easy discussion to have with yourself or anyone else when you don’t actually know what you want to do and you are living paycheck to paycheck. But I knew whatever I really wanted to do was not found in my current situation. I wasn’t prepared the day I decided to quit my job but I knew it was time. I didn’t know what I was going to do next. And the reason for me leaving came down to one moment where I was challenged and found the clarity I had been ignoring…was I going to keep fighting for my worth and be pushed aside in a job I really didn’t want to be in? Or was I going to believe in my abilities, take on the challenge of discovering what I wanted head on, and move in to an unknown and uncomfortable place? The moment of clarity came and I walked away. Then you better believe next came the fear, questioning, and uncertainty of that decision. There were a few times I could have hopped back on the comfortable path but I knew if I did that again I may never get back off. It was a challenge learning to navigate what I really wanted, one I hadn’t planned on, but one in many ways I should have seen coming, my own misery should have been a pretty good sign. It was my time to either take that challenge on and move forward or stay stuck in my fear. It was time to embrace the suck, knowing the path would not be easy, but believing it would be worth it. Years removed from that situation I could not be more proud of what I did that day. I can see how taking on the challenge that faced me created a whole new path, one that years later would lead to things I had only hoped for, including this blog.
Life will inevitably present challenges. There is absolutely no way around this. And it isn't easy, I would never want to lie to you about that. But it is how we react to challenges, and ultimately if we are able to learn to accept them that will help determine how close we get to the goals and dreams we have for our lives. It isn’t easy when you have worked tirelessly towards something and suddenly it becomes difficult to determine how you will make it work. In those times you need to first be honest with yourself about what you want and don’t want. Then assess whether it is worth taking the challenge or obstacle head on, or if the path you have been following was not meant for you and it is time to redirect yourself. Either decision will lead to difficulties, there is no doubt, but one will lead to fighting for things you truly want while the other may just leave you defeated in a battle you never truly wanted to be in. No matter, what you have to believe in your abilities and you have to be willing to move forward towards your dreams, knowing that there will be plenty of times you will need to accept the challenges presented to you and embrace the suck.