On Being In The Thick Of It

There's power in acknowledging the moment you've stepped in dog shit and staring at it for a bit. 

We hear that hard times make you grow the most. But most of the time we get past the hard time before seeing it that way. 

When you still have dog poop on your shoe you can say that it smells and that you feel self-conscious because people are staring at you and that you hate careless dog owners and that, wow, you're actually a cat person. Once it's off you will probably forget everything except that it smelled. You might grow from that experience, but not nearly as much.

What if we looked at challenges while we were in them? Is there even more growth to be had if we called it hard from within these moments? Probs yeah. 

My Current Shit

Several weeks ago I went on a first interview, and then a second, and ultimately failed them. If the intention was to get the job I didn't, and so that was failure. 

I got down about it one morning. I'm 28 and have no job, no home of my own, no boyfriend. I'm not good enough at what I want to do to do it yet. There's no certainty in my future. I sat on my friends' couch eating oatmeal and thinking about it. 

I didn't tell the whole story about my job interviews before. It wasn't a complete failure. I did well enough that I was given another opportunity: not the job, but a month to work towards it. An opportunity to try until hopefully I can do it. The gift of a month to suck a lot and work hard to get better, an amount of time to live in uncertainty. A month, this May, to stare at the shit on my shoe. 

Writing this is actually part of that. To do my work I need to be more direct in my language. I'm writing every sentence of this post as clearly as I can. I'm using as few words as possible. This is part of my process.

Other People's Current Shit

I spoke to a friend yesterday who called last week the worst of her life. On the worst day of the week, she learned she had to go through it all again the next day. She had a time-bound period to stare at the shit on her shoe.

For the first time in her life she went back into the hard situation and called it that. She knew when it started that day would be a pivotal moment in her career. It was, and not only is she already looking back on it as such but she learned from it while it happened and took tons of insight away. 

Another friend had a terrible day yesterday. After yesterday all the bad things have happened (hopefully) but now life is going to feel much worse for her before it feels better. I want to tell her to try to acknowledge she's in the worst of it, but sometimes that isn't what you need to hear directly.

As I write this, a Facebook message from a friend popped up on my screen that says "I'm OK. At a crossroads, I think. Which is hard to do when you have kids counting on you."

In one day I've come across so many people who have the shit on their shoe right now. It feels like good timing to share my own challenge and what I've been thinking about. In yoga they call it "sitting with" discomfort. 

So, if and when you can, acknowledge you're in the thick of a challenge. The opportunity for growth multiplies, and it actually feels a little bit less hard.


Joanna CohenComment