When you avoid things.
It’s funny to think about how much time and energy we spend each day avoiding something we don’t want to do.
Sometimes, I spend months and years avoiding something, let alone a few minutes or hours in procrastination, cleaning my house or whatever busy tasks I choose.
In fact, I have become quite the Avoidance Expert. And I know I’m not alone… Because frankly, there always seems to be so much Hard Stuff to have to deal with.
Emotional stuff, family stuff, social stuff, health stuff, money stuff, creative stuff, project stuff, work stuff, growth stuff, any kind of stuff.
The Stuff of Life. The stuff of utter imperfection that makes us feel uncomfortable, that makes us want to bypass, that makes us just want to press pause on the flow of life so we can juuuust suss it out a little bit longer.
But the solution is usually very simple. It just feels like moving mountains when it comes to actually doing those things that we spend so much time avoiding.
writing the email.
picking up the phone.
going to bed.
Think of how much energy we spend in avoidance.
And I know that many books have been writing about how to motivate yourself, how to build better habits, how to overcome addiction, and how to trick yourself into being more bold. Not to mention the millions of (helpful) Instagram posts reminding us that we’ve got this.
It’s stickier when you are in your own, regular life, staring down the Hard Thing, and valiantly trying do whatever is meant to be done when you would just rather do anything else.
But let’s just get to the heart of the matter: it’s hard.
But if you want things to change, then it simply needs to be done. And there is some medicine for doing hard things: there is a template.
As messy as it may seem, there is perfection in the alchemical process of our personal transformation. Here is a very simple version.
The first step is Resolve. It takes only a moment to say: I am ready to change this situation.
The second step is Shift. It takes a little courage and a lot of will to come to an inner resolution. But when you do, there is a fresh wind at your back. The energy shifts. The inner lights go on. You’ve just moved the mountain!
The third step is Follow-through. You are pressed to do the Thing. Allow yourself to witness your strength, courage, will, and temporary insanity that you were able to address this Thing. You do it simply because you must.
It will feel big and important because it is big and important. It’s your Hard Stuff. But you didn’t die. You were slightly (or possibly wildly) uncomfortable. But you are still here.
You wrote the email.
You had the conversation.
You choose differently.
You allowed the silence.
I call these mini-miracles. They are really mini-transformations and mini-healings and mini-ascensions. They are the moments of life that, over time, build into new versions of ourselves that we feel glad to be.
We are often led to believe that change happens overnight. Kind of. In my experience, big changes happen over time. Little changes happen in any given moment.
In every day there is a space for you to make a little change that leads to a larger transformation. But like watching a sunset, you cannot track the immediate color shifts, but rather witness an unfolding transformation. One that is very beautiful and awe-inspiring, I might add.
So if there is something you’ve been avoiding, I feel you. I am not a master of overcoming avoidance.
I do know, however, that life is too short to spend on avoiding hard things. And that I have not yet died from doing something hard.
Because the tiniest resolve right now will change your life in an instant.