if I *had* a discouraged-face this might be it?
The other day I texted a friend.
I’m not sure where I’m headed right now career-wise, I shared.
Are you feeling discouraged? Do you want to talk it through? She immediately responded.
Sure! I’m always up for a chat. I thought as I readied to reply. But discouraged? I mulled. Not at all.
Later, as I transitioned from speedy to slow, I seized the gap of time to consider what she’d asked.
No I’m not where I hope to eventually be.
No things aren’t progressing as I’d imagined they’d be right now.
No discouragement isn’t a feeling I’m struggling with.
Discouragement *had* plagued me in the past (hence my friend’s question).
As a result, I knew the only way to ensure I remained on my discouragement-free path was to invest time and map out how I’d overcome the feeling previously.
And, thanks to my morning pages, a blog post was born.
4 steps to overcoming feelings of discouragement:
1. Why am I feeling discouraged?
I pose this question to myself and really consider it. I get close with the uncomfortable feeling and the why behind it.
I grab pen & paper (old school is most productive here) and brainstorm reasons behind why I’m feeling disheartened.
I write until I can’t think of another cause for my feelings—-and then I make myself come up with one more.
If I can’t identify the WHY behind my discouragement I can never change it.
list everything. nothing is too small.
2. I get honest.
Once my list is complete it’s time to examine item by item. This is when I ask myself the tough questions:
Is my feeling of discouragement because I feel I’ve let myself down? (how? in what manner? is this the first time? all details help!)
Is my feeling of discouragement because I believe others have let me down/not come through as promised? (had I been clear in my mind about what I’d wanted? had I confirmed my expectations for others were received/understood?)
After I’ve gone through each bullet point and asked myself “why, specifically, does this cause me to feel discouraged?” it’s time to step away from my list.
Literally and figuratively.
3. I examine the big picture.
I pause, remove personal ties to the situation as best I can, and consider what I’d ask a friend in this position.
- What part of this scenario could have (even accidentally) been set into motion by you?
- What can you learn from these feelings? Is there a silver lining of personal growth?
- What lessons/knowledge might you have gained along the way?
- How have you grown/changed for the better even if you’ve not achieved your goal/the situation isn’t “perfect?“
- Have you considered your feelings may come from the fact forward movement is happening–just more slowly than anticipated?
More frequently than not, especially with the final two questions, this step allows me to see my situation is not as bleak/discouraging as I’d thought.
4. I talk.
Taking time to map out how I overcome discouraged feelings was an eyeopener. I’d not consciously realized I completed step #4 because it had become routine/habit. I harness the power of this final step as sort of a farewell to feelings. Thanks to steps 1, 2, & 3 I realize, intellectually, I’ve no reason to feel discouraged. By step #4–sharing my situation/feelings with others–I’m open and ready to hear their perspective on my situation.
The addition of other people’s insights helps me permanently shift my own. My feelings of discouragement often stem needing to change my perspective and talking/listening to different points of view helps.
I trapped these women for a 13.1 mile talk.
Initially my reaction to my friend’s text-question was surprise over the fact I wasn’t discouraged.
I had all the information in front of me and it all indicated I wasn’t where I aspired to be.
The thing is, thanks to my process, I don’t struggle with feeling discouraged.
I do my steps. I do the work to discover my why. I arm myself with patience and a plan.
More than anything, however, this time of reflection helped me realize one final thing:
Not only are feelings of discouragement temporary–no one has been successful in life without experiencing them.
Regardless how one defines “success” flashes of discouragement on the way are not setbacks.
These fleeting feelings are simply a rite of passage as we move forward toward goal achievement.
- When was the last time you struggled with feeling discouraged? What was your approach to pushing through/overcoming the feeling?