If you’ve ever decided to make a significant change in your life, you’ve experienced it. The sudden, seemingly random challenges that crop up about three months in. What happens when life stops you in your tracks? Here’s one way I’ve found to get past a big challenge.
I’ve seen it happen over and over again both in my own life and in the stories you in the One of many community share. And I’ve come to believe that, while these challenges may seem random, they’re actually part of a universal pattern.
The journeys of women creating change so often follow 3 steps:
- Resolution to change. Finally, you see the difference you are called to make!
- Beginner’s luck. All goes well, connections are made, progress begins and then…
- Challenge. Argh!
One of the best descriptions I’ve ever seen of this pattern is in the great book The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. In it, there’s a young shepherd boy, Santiago, who has a dream that he’ll find a buried treasure beneath the pyramids of Egypt.
He realises that the purpose of his life is to find this treasure, so he sets off, and as luck would have it, he’s able to sell his flock in the very next town for a good price. Everything’s working out great for him!
From there, he takes a ship to Tangiers, where a thief steals all of his money, leaving him stuck.
He ends up having to take a job with a crystal merchant to try to make back his money.
One of the reasons I think this story has resonated with millions around the world is that we sense the truth of its message.
The challenge is actually a sign that you’re on the right path.
While you hopefully won’t experience challenges in the form of getting all your money stolen, if you’re making a big change, you can expect a challenge to come along just about the time you’re starting to build up momentum.
This is actually a good thing.
I call it the universe testing your resolve.
It might not always feel like testing; in fact, it often just feels like real life is causing serious, legitimate problems and you just can’t do what you were going to do.
Of course, there is no denying the reality of what’s happening. But there’s another way of looking at them that can help you approach the challenge you’re facing in a different way.
What if you looked at your challenge as the universe asking for a sign of your commitment to your goals?
How would that shift your approach?
So how do you get past a big challenge?
Here’s where things get a bit tricky. When we need to get past a big challenge many of us instinctively take one of two options:
- Push on. Grit our teeth and bash our way forwards, no matter the toll it takes on our wellbeing or our loved ones
- Give up. Take the challenge as a sign that actually, it’s not time to pursue this change.
What if there was another way?
In my experience, when obstacles come your way, you need to find harmony.
Not doggedly active, nor resignedly passive.
A balance between opposites and a flow where you’re alternating between those different kinds of energy.
This might happen as a weekly cycle, or even a daily cycle, but the key is not to get stuck in either state.
So let’s look at how this plays out in a four step strategy.
Step one: reconnect with the vision.
As soon as one of those challenges comes up, you need to find some time for yourself. Anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour of quiet, uninterrupted time will do.
In this time you’ve created for yourself, get reconnected with your original vision. Think about the intention and get really clear about what it is. Do you want to make time to be a fantastic mother? Do you want to have a sense of energy and vitality every day? What does your big picture vision feel like, smell like, taste like … really engage with it in your feminine energy.
Step two: list out the obstacles.
Now write down all of the obstacles that are making it hard to act on that vision right now. And remember, you’ll often get challenges crossing over from different areas of your life. You can have an intention around your work life get derailed by your home life; you can have an intention for your physical self get derailed by an emotional challenge — you see how it works.
Before you move on to step three, if you’re feeling tired you really need to replenish your energy. You can’t really wholly connect with your body if you’re at the end of your tether, so pause the process and take a bath, go for a walk, put on some music and dance, or take a nap if you need to. Do whatever you need to do to be able to get into your body.
Step three: Relax
When you’re replenished and ready, take a moment to let go, get very present and relax down into your whole body, because that’s what’s going to help you get the answers you need for the next step.
Step four: consider the obstacles and listen to your body.
All right. You’ve written out your obstacles and you’re really centred into your body. Now, from a place of deep listening, look at each of the obstacles. Feel into your body and ask your body, “Is it time to persist on my vision in relationship to this obstacle or is it time for me to yield? Should I be harnessing my masculine energy to push through this, or should I be yielding into it?”
It might sound strange. What do I mean “listen to your body?”.
The key is – you’re not trying to think your way through this challenge. You’re not writing a list of pros and cons, you’re not strategising, you’re simply feeling.
Try it and see what happens. The answers might surprise you!
Sometimes your body will say, “You’ve got enough energy right now to push through! Okay, you didn’t sleep great last night, but right now would be a fantastic time to call up that client! I say go!”
And other times, your body might say “You should not get on the phone to the client. You’re gonna kill the deal. Go and have a sleep.”
So go through all of your obstacles separately, and by the end you’ll have your next steps for how to deal with each of them, whether that’s to move forward or to yield. Then commit to taking each of those steps to your coach, to the One of many community, or to another source of accountability in your life.
It’s a simple process … but extremely powerful.
Do you need to get past a big challenge?
Have a go — and let me know how it works out in the comments!
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