Coach’s Challenge for 5/4/09

Good day, team,

The subject of this week’s challenge is perseverance. This morning, I had to sit myself down and have a short internal conversation about the necessity of persevering, even when I think I can’t, when I feel defeated, and I just don’t have one ounce of energy left to do much of anything.

The last few weeks have been challenging for me on the health front. Ironically, now that I’ve finally gotten my psychological and emotional life stable and relatively happy, my body wants to remind me that I have another birthday coming up this month and 60 is a little closer on the horizon. I have no relationship at all to what it means to be over 55 except that now I get discounts at some stores on Tuesdays. The knowledge that there are multiple generations of people younger than me is also hard to fathom. I try to do things the way I’ve always done them in the past, but they either don’t get done, or they don’t get done with the precision they used to, and I have to persevere to finish.

At the same time, I’m learning valuable lessons from aging and how to keep going when you think you can’t. First, I’ve had to delegate more and make better choices about what I take on. I recently hurt my clavicle and couldn’t work on my computer easily, so I asked a friend if she would finish a presentation I’m giving next week. It turned out to be great fun to work on that project with her, and she added a lot of value by asking questions and giving me new ideas. Because of her help, I was also able to fulfill other responsibilities that wouldn’t have gotten my attention.

Second, I’ve had to give myself a lot more time to do things and be satisfied that they aren’t going to get done as quickly. I don’t exercise patience easily: When I know something needs doing, I just go do it and don’t like waiting for anyone or anything that slows me down. But I don’t have the energy to dive in the way I used to, and I unexpectedly have found that giving situations a little more time sometimes yields unexpected benefits.

Third, when I think I’m out of options, I’m learning to just sit and accept what is. In the sitting and accepting, I’m finding a hidden source that often gives me that one last boost to persevere and open up more possibilities. Someone once told me that just when you think you’ve reached your limits, you find you can go just a little bit farther, and then your old limitations are no longer true and you have new limitations. I’m not sure how this works, but it seems right.

This week, explore ways you can persevere through tough situations. Maybe you’ve been trying to get something done at work and, no matter how you try, you keep hitting a brick wall. Try pausing for a bit and then moving forward again. Maybe you need to change your approach and try something new. Perhaps, like me, you’ve been experiencing health issues and don’t have the vitality you once did. Look at ways you can delegate a task or redesign your process. Maybe it’s just a matter of leaving a project until the next day, when your energy is renewed and you have a better attitude about completing it. Whatever it takes, try being more accepting. If you know you can’t get something done, try accepting that fact and then asking yourself, “OK, now what? Is there another way to make this happen?”

In her old age, my grandmother shared a lot of wisdom with me. She suffered most of her life from acute arthritis, and there were many times I saw her have to persevere just to make it through the day. She used to say, “Seems like old age fires up my spirit as much as it stiffens my bones.”  Amen, sister.

Have a good week,

Kathleen

Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

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