I often crack up at the encouraging little sayings about God not giving you more than you can handle and don’t give because you’re almost there. My personal favorite is you’re stronger than you realize. I believe all of these things are true but when you’re in the middle of something especially challenging it can seem well intended but not helpful to hear these things. Sometimes I think I just get tired of pushing against the wind and would love some shining white knight to come and fight the battle for me a while at least. Why do I have to be so strong anyway? The answer is of course because that’s life and there’s wisdom in the experience.
There are more than a few things I have learned in these times though that when whatever it is finally ends and things settle down, mean something pretty important to me. First, I am usually stronger than I believed in that moment and secondly, I learned a few things that have now made me wiser for next time. In honesty, even the battles I feel like I have lost in or not done as well as I hoped for have resulted in at least learning a few wise things. I’m not always thankful for the storm that I’m in but I can be appreciative of the lesson at the outcome of it. I have also always found a way to do things differently next time.
The intention of those nice encouraging sayings stick with us though because there is always another storm, another battle, another challenge that comes. We go through times where you just know sooner or later something is going to give and the dam is going to break into a big mess you’ll need to content with for a while. One of the areas this has been with me is major job upheavals at a time when it is less than convenient or ideal. Not that there ever is an ideal time to lose your job or have a new boss come in that is an absolute terror to work for. For a while there I thought it was like a carousel I couldn’t get off because it kept happening so frequently it seemed. I was being beaten down from it and feeling like I had reached the edge where my strength if I had any was showing empty on the tank.
Each time it happened I would realize how tired I was, burned out and frustrated at feeling like this was out of my control. Why was it so much to ask for a job that was just a job and I could worry about something else in my life for a change? Enough already I remember saying to the Universe, God and anyone else I could think of who may have influence on it. I think these big situations sooner or later beat us down to the point we feel like victims and that we have no control over anything in our own life. I really don’t like that feeling. As much as I would try to think of something for a new job or to create peace in the one I had it at times just didn’t seem anything was going to work.
The truth is there is always something in our own power to do. In fact, I firmly believe there is great wisdom in doing it ourselves at times too. At a time when my job was once again acting out and dominating my attention, I started my own business. Of course I didn’t have 5 minutes to focus on it at the time, but I said yes in the middle of one of these huge storms. It probably seemed the most irrational thing I could have done but I was tired of being tired and tired of being without control of something when it came to my livelihood. Wise or not I did it.
I didn’t know if I would even make a dollar in my new small business, this thing I said yes to without considering what it even meant at the time. I had sparks of ideas for how great it would be to build this up and replace my job’s income and not deal with these types of insecurities, burnout, crappy bosses and chaos again. I even went so far as to let the idea become a little crazy in thinking I could have my life balance back and enjoy what I did for work again. All around me was this chaos and things that felt out of control but here in this little idea something shined. What if this was possible?
What shifted in that moment was me. I was no longer just fighting a battle in a war that impacted my very livelihood, I had found the thing these infamous wise sayings talk about. I found my own strength, hope and determination. That shift give me a different perspective and while I still have to come out of this storm with a job, I had found something that changed what that meant. It was hope. It was something I could control, take ownership of and have a way to change the tides of the constant job storms I seemed to face. It was just a spark back then but it may as well have been a thunder bolt that struck the ground and cracked the Earth for how much it changed the battle scene for me.
Again, at this time I was trying to save yet another job. I was putting in maddening hours to appease an impossible boss. My time was not my own and I could see on the horizon a job change was in my future so I was also applying for other positions and interviewing. Yet, I started to give thought to what else was out there, what else could I do to make this little spark into something more? It would take me several more months to try anything but when I was able to it was the most freeing thing I have ever done in my work life.
I had something that while it couldn’t pay my mortgage or cover groceries at the time, it was growing little by little. It inspired me, gave me an outlet for creativity and challenged me in a refreshing personal development sort of way. Each idea I had come up about it I would test out immediately with glee at how good it felt to finally pour myself into something meaningful and all mine. It became a masterpiece I worked on at all hours of the day and night and sometimes still do because the passion for it fills me in a way none of my jobs has ever.
My wisdom to share with you on this is simply to trust your instincts. I’m speaking of course of your real instincts that tell you there is more to life. The sayings about adulting that are intended to be funny but are actually really true. You know there is more to life than that. Inside deep down you know that. Listen to it and find the spark in the storm you’re in to give you that energy reboot. Let it come out of the storm with you and be the beautiful garden you rebuild from disaster. Build something entirely for and around you that fulfills your biggest dreams. Instead of just realizing you’re stronger than you realize to win a battle take that strength and funnel it into a true game changer that changes your life and wins the war for good.
If you’re interested in finding out what this could mean in your life, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org