Just the other day, I was chatting with my buddy on the phone and, as normally happens in our conversations, he began sharing where he’s been and what he’s been doing. With most anyone, this included some of the small successes he’d accomplished since we last spoke, but it also included some setbacks. In fairness, everyone struggles with something and my buddy is no exception. So we talked a bit about these sorts of things, eventually ended our conversation, and then we each went about our day.
Well, a short while later, he called me and admitted that he felt beat up after we’d gotten off the phone. Not by me, thankfully, but by himself. In sharing the things in his life that weren’t going the way he wanted, the way he had hoped, he started to listen to that inner voice that was telling him that it was all his fault. He began belittling himself, like so many of us do. If you would’ve just worked harder, then you wouldn’t be where you are, in this dead end job. If you only had more skills, were smarter, or had a better education, you wouldn’t still be here, spinning your wheels.
While it’s often second nature to judge ourselves, to knock ourselves down when we don’t make progress each and every day, that type of outlook is simply unrealistic. In fact, if you ask any successful entrepreneur if the path to success is a straight, 45 degree line upward, they’ll likely laugh hysterically in response. Then, once they regain their composure and can breathe again, they’ll explain how life, how the path to success, is actually more like a stock market graph.
Whether you’re talking about your professional endeavors or your personal situation, there will always be ups and downs. One day you may feel as if you’re breezing through work or your relationships and everything is going right. The next, everything might feel like a struggle and you spend your day being a firefighter, running from fire to fire, attempting to put each one out before it can spread any further.
However, as long as we’re learning from each down day, each dip, and each fire, then we’re still making progress. While you may not always be on a forward incline path, the overall graph is going to trend upwards and you’re going to get closer to your goal. As long as each downward blip is utilized as a learning experience, you will ultimately get where it is you want to go.
This is important to realize all of the time, but especially when you’re on a downtick. While it may seem like you aren’t making any real progress at the moment, take what you can from the situation and use that information to put yourself in a better spot in the future. As long as you learn from it, adjust whatever needs to be adjusted, and keep going, you’ll eventually find yourself on the incline again. You’ll eventually begin to work your way up towards your pot of gold.