Being In It
For a really long time, when I was going through something difficult, I’d think to myself, just focus on how you will feel at the end.
I’d visualize the end, try to attach myself to that feeling, and use that as motivation to push through.
It worked. Sometimes.
But I was always left frustrated. Which made going through 'the thing' worse.
Imagining a conversation going well doesn’t actually help when you actually have to have the conversation. Especially when It scares you.
Imagining a task being complete doesn’t always make physically doing the task easier. Especially when you have a busy schedule, and you don’t know when you will have the time to get through It.
So I’d be stuck sometimes.
One day, while working out, I was going through a set of arm movements (I love feeling new found strength in my arms, but I actually don't enjoy the act of doing arms.) My trainer was having me do a set, and all I did was focus on the end - how I’d feel when It was all done.
My form was all off. My trainer had to tell me to slow down. I wasn’t breathing properly, so I was all over the place, which brought me right back to my bad form. It was a mess.
Focusing on how I’d feel at the end was clearly NOT working.
When I got to the next set, I tried something new. Instead of focusing on the end, I switched and focused on each and every moment. I found myself saying in my head, “Be in the 1 of It… Be in the two of It….Be in the three of It” Instead of speeding through and counting “1, 2, 3 in my head.”
And It worked. I got through the set successfully.
I tried It again. It worked.
I started thinking there was something here. What if instead of thinking of the end, and basically racing through, I actually decided to sit with the pain, discomfort, or even awkwardness, and BE IN it? Because if something was going to be uncomfortable, it’s much better for It to be value added, and actually do It right. Back to my mess of an arm workout - I was all over the place with my form and my breath, and was racing through but then had to slow down, which fueled my frustration. In life, I don’t want to do things sloppy and breathless, and have to re do It again any way.
“Be in the discomfort of it.”
I’ve taken this work out tactic to other areas of my life.
If I have to have a tough conversation, instead of racing through, I think of what do I want to impress on this person? And from there, I think what do I need to say to get this point across? I get comfortable in that, and then slow down during the actual conversation, so I can say what I need, but then I have space to hear what the other person has to say, too.
Be in the discussion of it.
When I have a very full schedule for the upcoming week, but I also have to get something done for my business, and I honestly don’t know how I’m going to get It done, I think “Why is this important? And what time do I have t devote to this project? How can I break It down in to pieces?” And when I do the actual parts of the project, I focus 100%, even if it’s just 20 minutes.
Be in the productivity and joy of it.
It’s actually ironic - I’ve been focusing on presence in my life, but I seem to only make plans to be present for the good stuff, the more joyful stuff. Meanwhile, presence is important for everything - the good and the bad.
The more I lean in to this concept (and believe me, it’s a work in progress), I find that the hard stuff doesn’t feel AS hard, and the good stuff feels better. Presence makes everything just a little bit better then It could be.
And, I am happy to share, I also dislike my arm workouts a little less.