Have you been getting a lot of advice on how to move forward lately? Does it seem like your best isn’t good enough if you aren’t getting ahead? And when you do make some progress and want to pause to celebrate or catch your breath, do you feel pushed or pressured to get back up and keep scratching and clawing for more?
Hang on. Sometimes, it’s perfectly okay just to be where you are. It’s even better than just okay, it’s exactly what you need; just…holding…on. Now maybe this comes as a refreshing change of commentary; you know, that somebody is actually validating what you’ve been feeling for days, weeks, month’s; that just holding on is the best thing you can do. So why then, why oh why does everyone you listen to seem to be urging you to do more?
Good question! There may be many reasons of course. Some well-intended people might feel they know you better than you know yourself and want you to experience more of the good things in life. They’ve heard you express at times your hopes and ambitions, what you’d like to have or what you’d like to do in the future. Seeing where you are and where you’ve said you’d like to be, they actually believe they are helping you along if they point out you’re not going to achieve those goals if you pause and stop pushing forward. They see themselves as cheerleaders when you actually see them as taskmasters.
And that message of getting ahead, of doing more, being better, striving for improvement is everywhere. Buy this truck and you can haul more, drink this beverage and you’ll be surrounded by cooler people, get in better shape and you’ll feel better, buy my book and you’ll be wealthier or have greater self-esteem and a better self-image etc. No matter which direction you turn, not matter what part of your life you examine, somebody is giving you the advice to push for something better. The unintended message they are sending is that your present life is lacking; you should want more. You’re not happy are you? Wouldn’t you like more house, a better relationship, a healthier you, a more fulfilled life, a safer neighbourhood, a brighter kitchen, a better job?
Wait. Hold on. If all you’re really capable of at the moment is hanging on so you don’t slip and fall, do exactly that. Hold on. Nobody else truly knows where you’re at, both in body and in mind. Yes, other people may have experienced similar situations as the ones you’ve experienced or are experiencing at the moment. Yes, they might be in a very good position to empathize with you because of that shared experience and if you asked for their advice or help, they might just be in the best position to help you out. However, you are uniquely you; you’re the one person going through your life with a past that’s uniquely yours. Nobody can truly appreciate how your past and present has shaped and continues to shape your interpretation of all those experiences.
When someone ahead of you or higher than you reaches back or down to lend you a hand and offer you support as you move ahead or up, they aren’t exactly where you are at the moment are they? No. They’ve moved a step ahead or a step up. They are no longer exactly where you are. This gives them perhaps some advantage which you could benefit from in avoiding a future pitfall, but their path out of where you are may or may not be the path that you end up seeing as right for you. Their way up, forward or out of a jam might not be the only one you have as an option; their solution might have worked for them but not be right for you.
Now let’s say you’re out of work and you may have expressed to people you meet that you want to find a job; one you’d enjoy doing that is stable and pays a decent wage. Not too much to ask is it? Of course not. You want such a job and you deserve it too. Given your expressed wish to get a job, those you talk with and listen to may naturally start urging you forward; get some help with that resume, improve your interview skills, write stronger cover letters, follow up, give it 100% and buckle down, roll up your sleeves and focus! Focus! Focus!
But hold on. Maybe…just maybe… you’re not ready – yet. A little more conversation would reveal your landlord wants you out at month’s end, you’re in overdraft at the bank, you left your purse on the bus and just lost all your ID, your surviving parent has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, your daughter just called and asked to move back in temporarily and your glasses are misplaced. Is now the best time to focus 100% on a job search? Yes you want and need work but first things first, there’s much more going on.
Hey, the above isn’t some far-fetched stretch of reality. Many readers are nodding their head saying, “That’s me!”
Sometimes the best thing to do is dig in, gain traction and deal as best you can with the limited energy you’ve got on what you have to do. There is nothing wrong with that.