Some of my waypoints during a difficult journey
“Somehow we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into ‘those who offer help’ and ‘those who need help.’ The truth is that we are both.”
–Dr. Brené Brown
As a hiker I’ve learned the value of cairns to guide us in the more challenging terrain and particularly in the more difficult conditions. Being blind I’ve developed some insight on how and when to lean on such gifts from those who have come before us as well as those present with me on the journey even as I learn to adapt my own approaches both in the mountains and in life when confronting difficult situations. I have been managing a number of challenges recently which prompted me to refresh my mind and expand my practice and growth with a few of the guide posts I find help keep me on the path to being healthy and successful. One of those steps involved reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Dr. Brené Brown. I first encountered her through the powerful presentation of her research in her TED Talk on vulnerability. Her “10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living” resonated for me and in my revisit to the 10th anniversary edition, I’m amazed at how many tools I value and yet had allowed to silently slip into neglect. I certainly recommend her work and with her inspiration provide seven of my own waypoints for difficult journeys.
- Practice Appreciation
Gratitude benefits have been well studied and documented and I find the active form is essential. I attempt to begin each day by appreciating several specific aspects of my prior day as a method of building the mindset to consider three things in the coming day I’m looking forward to experiencing or making happen. An active role through appreciation in using the feelings of gratitude to our best advantage personally and later expressing them appropriately through our connections.
- Power of Pause
Ensuring dedicated time to reflect and evaluate my condition, my personal wants/needs as well as professional goals/requirements. If I don’t take the time to pause and identify concerns, I will often hide them behind distractions/evasions which can inhibit my health and success. Different daily pauses for the myriad aspects of my life almost always lead to valuable discovery and enhanced productivity afterwards.
- Progress Over Perfection
Set my goals on improvement with milestones (cairns) to measure and celebrate along the way. Perfection is an unattainable ideal laden with frustration and lacking in the encouragement of measurable rewards along the way.
- Seek Inspiration personally/Professionally (SIPP)
There’s a Zig Ziglar quote about inspiration being like bathing and so it should be repeated daily. Inspiration ignites the passion for learning, growth, and action which lifts us and our journey powerfully and positively. It can be serendipitous but the action to seek it ensures a higher likelihood of success each and every day.
- Self-Care is Not Self-ish
Rest and play recharge us, restore us, and ensure we are able to perform for ourselves and others. Kindness is crucial and begins with how we treat ourselves. A most powerful reminder is the inner voice in our mind is not us, we are the one listening and we can choose to become the active voice speaking to ourselves with kindness and essential choices for our self-care.
- Choose to Reach Out
“If you can’t ask for help without self-judgment, you cannot offer help without judging others.” Dr Rene Brown gives a reminder I often need. I believe in the power of Teamwork and collaboration, trust, vulnerability and communication and yet I must remind myself that when the most efficient approach is to ask for help that it is likely ok to ask for help. We must learn to give and receive with equivalent skill.
- Balance and Focus
I struggle most when something takes too much of my focus or involves particularly challenging aspects. In part this is because it disrupts the balance I find keeps me functioning most effectively. For everything pulling or pushing me out of balance I need to find a counter-balance which will stabilize me and ensure the right amount of focus is deliberately directed there. Just as a positive mindset cannot ignore the real challenges without consequences, so too can a focus on any extreme disrupt our balance to our detriment.