Sticky Stumbling Blocks
I know my doggy friend was a big hit last time so I asked her pose with Brave Enough to Succeed. So much goodness is packed into the last half of this book! Valorie introduces the acronym FOG (Fear, Overwhelm, and God's will and your will don't match page 40) in the beginning of the book which represents three common causes of stuckness then unveils key contributors to these stumbling blocks throughout. There were five factors she points out in the last half of the book which really stood out to me and I felt deserved more exploration in Blog form.
1) Wanting / Taking on too much:
"You can't do everything, but you can certainly convince yourself that you can" page 112. I am 100% guilty of this from time to time. I want to do, try, experience everything and hang with everyone. This can lead to the O in FOG because there are only so many hours in every day in which to fit all of the things you want to do plus sleep, eat, and have a little bit of sit-and-do-nothing time. "Overwhelm causes you to get stuck by paralyzing you. You cannot move forward on anything because you feel pulled in multiple directions and don't know which one to begin first" page 131. Ladies we seem to be especially susceptible to this stumbling block. We overextend and then wonder why we never seem to get out of the endless circle of events we created. Set healthy boundaries and stick to them. Prioritize events based on what you value and say no when an event does not fit your values or schedule.
Valorie also warns about this from the lens of goal achievement. "If it is always about the next big thing, beware. You may eventually find that even the things that used to excite you no longer compel you to move forward" page 113. Our corporate, and military, world is set up to feed this particular sticky stumbling block. Climbing the ladder is taught upon entering either of these worlds and some people can get consumed by it. I am sure you have encountered someone who is determined to take on the world, climb all the way to the top of the ladder with a list a mile long of the items they need to achieve to reach their goal, but they get part way then drop out, quit, or transfer. "Too much ambition can be counterproductive" page 196 and lead to overwhelm. I'm not saying don't aim for the stars! lord knows I did. I'm saying stick to your healthy boundaries, say no occasionally, and guard against overwhelm on your way to those stars by keeping your expectations reasonable.
2) Not owning your decisions;
"Take responsibility for the direction of your life rather than simply doing what others want or not having a clear direction at all" page 116. Remember when you heard this word for the first time - Affluenza? If you're like me, you had to look that one up and then you had an intense feeling of "What the...??!!" To a lesser extreme, you probably know someone in your life, home town, or neighborhood who will claim they are "a victim of certain circumstances." There are people who do have a real reason for locking up and lacking a clear life path. Those people have my heart and I hope they are seeking help. Other people, on the other hand, who are clinging to their "victim of circumstance" answer are stuck. They have gotten stuck on the F in FOG. Fear can freeze even the strongest among us if they become afraid of loss, failure, commitment, inadequacy, embarrassment, judgement, of making a bad decision, and any number of other fears. "When you make bad choices, own them" page 116, admit to yourself that you made that choice out of fear, don't allow yourself to get stuck by fear of doing it again, and learn from them.
3) Hanging with the wrong people:
"If you want to be happy, choose your cast and crew wisely" page 117. Surround yourself with "people who stretch and challenge you, but also love and believe in you" page 159. "Get clear about who your real friends are and find the courage to cut off those toxic friendships that are draining your spirit and your energy" page 165. This is a tough one. People come into our lives and become friends, part of our story, but not all friends are meant to last. When we are young children we think that friendships will, and are meant, to last forever. Friendships, we realize as we get older, are not actually always forever yet some of us hold onto connections that are no longer healthy. Either the F or G of FOG is the hold up here. Sit down, and have an truthful conversation with yourself about how you feel about this person, if are they are still part of God's plan for your life landscape, what are you afraid of losing if you lose them, and can you trust them. "You should feel drawn toward your real friends and you should stand ready to be a true friend to them" page 167. If you do not truthfully feel this way, or do not think they feel this way towards you, it's probably time to part ways.
4) Negative self talk:
Phrases you may or may not have heard whisper through your head: I'll never get that job because of..., I'm too _____ for that, they won't listen to my opinion anyway, what if I'm not really what they are looking for. "What you say about your life and your circumstances is even more powerful than what others say" page 124. My dad's father is an excellent example of this. My grandfather grew up in a poor mining town where everything revolved around the mine company. He worked and worked to save some money and eventually moved out of that town and state. He became many different things but he never stopped thinking of himself as the poor mining town kid despite the family and life he built that had nothing to do with it. He didn't look on his past circumstances at experiences which had strengthened him for what the future would bring; he looked at them in the negative light of "that's what I was, am, and will always be." He lived pay check to pay check until the day he retired. "Sometimes where we get stuck does not necessarily involve rewriting our current script, but rewriting the story we tell about our lives" page 124. Make your story positive in your mind first and it will become positive on the outside. How different could my grandfather's story have been if he told himself his story from a position of "that was tough, I'm tough, and I will rise above?"
5) Perfectionism, procrastination, and waiting on instruction: AKA Fear
"Fear uses perfection as an excuse for remaining stuck...Let go of the need for perfection and you are free to move forward" page 141. Procrastination and perfectionism stem from fear and go hand in hand leading you to a stuck place. Take a look around your house, office, email inbox and take an inventory of partially finished projects, tasks, requests you have sitting around. Are those there because you are waiting on more information from outside sources or because you are procrastinating them? If you are the hold up, why? What are you afraid of? That your boss won't like your sales pitch? That the interviewer will say no? That your writing won't come close the mastery of William Shakespere? That someone will disagree with you? All of those things are part of life's journey. "There is often far more learning that occurs in doing things wrong than in doing them right" page 144.
Do you honestly think that the first time Neil Armstrong stepped into the space trainer that he did everything perfectly? Or the first time Simone Biles took to the balance beam she did a perfect layout? No way! These two greats had failures, triumphs, and trials just like the rest of us and they persevered through their imperfections. "Perfection lies in imperfection. It lies in the grace to be human, to err, to try again - or not" page 142. You will make mistakes. How you react is what gets you stuck or not. "Be gentle with yourself when you mess up. You're human. You're going to make mistakes. And your insistence that you are not allowed to mess up in the very reason you get stuck" page 199.
Going into this new year, reflect on all of the places you got stuck in 2018. Are there places in which you are still stuck? How can you move out of those stuck places using Valorie's guidance in 2019? I would love to hear from you about your journey and reflection! Please comment below/on Instagram, send me an email, or schedule a coaching session. Have an excellent holiday break! The next post, on January 4th, is a reading break that will have very few words but lots of pictures from my upcoming Christmas trip. Be safe, be present, and be hopeful for the blessings of the new year.