I’m just going to be honest here. It’s been a strange few days.
Some of our newest potential partnerships have fallen through in the last several days. There may be some areas this fall where we might not be able to feed some kids. It’s discouraging.
And I’ve been talking to a long-time friend who’s currently homeless. A single mom of 3, who’s in recovery and working like crazy to get clean and keep her babies.
I sat across the table from a man who’s recovering from bone cancer. I listened to him tell his story of infusions, quarantines, and waiting rooms filled with other patients.
I spoke with another friend who told me that while she and her husband both recently lost their jobs… their refrigerator, washing machine, dryer, and microwave all decided to DIE at the house. So for MONTHS they got to wash clothes in the bathtub, dry them in the tree in the backyard, and store little bits of food in ice chests each day.
In the middle of the night, friend who owns his own business texted me about filing for bankruptcy.
Another one shared with me about her experience being sexually assaulted and dealing with PTSD.
I watched friends of mine care for their child with autism. And another one constantly travel the country to research her son’s rare genetic disorder.
And the list goes on and on and on.
It’s reminded me of a few things about discouragement. I’m sharing this here because I know if it’s in my little circle, most likely it’s in yours, too. And I hope it helps.
For me, there are at least 6 things I do when I’m discouraged. Maybe they’ll be of value to you, too.
- Check my perspective. No matter what, things could always be worse. My friend who is struggling with addiction and homelessness made the comment, “At least we had my minivan so we had a place to sleep every night. I could have been literally on the street with 3 babies…” . Once I realize just how much worse they could be, I begin to see the blessings I do have. Which leads me to #2.
- Begin with gratitude. As a person of faith, I’m convinced there’s something to ‘counting your blessings’. And from a neuro-chemical perspective, you physically cannot be grateful and anxious/discouraged at the same time. It’s biologically impossible. And I believe life doesn’t happen TO me… it happens FOR me. Things happen, events, tragedy, hardships, whatever… those things don’t have any meaning in my life until I attach meaning to it. Everything that’s happened for me (even the terrible things) have made me who I am, given me compassion for others, taught me wisdom, made me strong, or helped me learn empathy. It may have sucked to go thru it, but I’m grateful for what it taught me. Adopting the mindset that life happens ‘for’ me, not ‘to’ me has made a huge difference in my level of gratitude. My friend who was living out of ice chests kept saying, “We made it just fine. I didn’t realize how strong we were… but we had peace in the middle of it all.”
- Share my journey with others. Be authentic. Share your successes. Share your struggles. Vulnerability is a sign of strength. In a social media culture where everyone posts their highlight real with just the right filters and just the right camera angle and perfect makeup and hair… just be real. As human beings, we want to feel connected, not lectured. Let us come along with you on the journey. We’ll stand, sit, cry, pray, and support you. It will help you and us. My friend who was assaulted has a couple of blogs and a book or two in the works. My friend with the son that has a rare genetic disease? She started a nonprofit and is shouting it to the world.
- Run MY race. I work really hard to not compare myself or my journey to someone else. Stay on YOUR path. Stay where YOU’VE been led, designed to go. Running the austin marathon a few years back, best advice I got was from an 80yo man in the starting chutes. ‘This is easy. All you gotta do is just run your own race’. He was right. The sin of comparison will kill you. Whatever you’ve been called to do, just do you.
- Adopt a LEARNING mindset, not a ‘success’ mindset. There’s no such thing as failure, only feedback. Test, implement, test, implement. It’s all learning.. which is progress.. which leads to more curiosity and more encouragement. positive, sparks creativity. You can learn ANYTHING… in fact, NEVER say the words ‘I don’t know’ ever again. Why? Because I’m going to GIVE you a free resource that will show you how to learn ANYTHING… Wanna fix your car? It’s in there. Wanna learn brain surgery? It’s in there? Wanna lose 20 lbs? In there. It’s www.google.com . In 2019, ignorance is choice. You can’t say ‘I don’t know’ any more. You can say ‘I don’t know yet’ or ‘I don’t want to know’…but that’s it.
- Take MASSIVE action. Go. Now. All in. It’s just as if you’ve started a new diet, right? If you wanna drop a few pounds and decide to stop eating Twinkies, but still eat burgers and fries and milkshakes on the daily, are you going to see improvement this month? Maybe. A little. BUT, if you decide for 30 days to completely cut out all refined sugar, all simple carbs, processed starches, and anything that comes in a box, a bag, or a can… do you think you’ll see any results? A little? Or a LOT? So when I’m battling discouragement, I take massive action against what I’m trying to accomplish, not so I can get massive results, but so I can get massive feedback. (It’s feedback that leads to results…)
What would YOU add to the list? What advice would you give ME? What’s worked for you?