What if you go off course? You made a commitment to do something --jog twice a week, let’s say, or cut out sugar and flour. And you were going along perfectly, patting yourself on the back every week, telling yourself you got this; it ain’t so hard…
And then. Then something happens, and you drop the ball.
Totally. Drop. The. Ball.
You could look past it if the thing that got in your way had been a family emergency or some unforeseen catastrophic event. But what if it was just...nothing? You just didn’t do it one day. For no reason. Not even because you had a headache. You just didn’t do it.
Here’s where - if we were doing a nicely produced podcast - the music would halt, the needle on the record would scratch, zwerrrrppp, followed by a silence.
Then the speaker would pick up the mic and pivot to the story’s main character, who turns left at such junctures, and teaches us all something amazing about resilience and gratitude.
But that’s not what happens in this case.
No music. No halting. No pause. No pivot. Just honest LIFE. Sister’s on track to write a blog every Sunday. Then Spring Break comes along, and she drops the ball. Now she’s acknowledging all the feelings (embarrassment, shame, hopelessness, foolishness, blame, fear, all of it), and starting again.
I’m a regular human being with lofty dreams and fallible plans. I battle the allure of short term pleasures and the pain of negative self talk, and I fall off course. I knew, intellectually, that the path would be - as my dear friend said - “crooked,” but I still didn’t appreciate how I’d feel when I hit the zig and bounced to the zag. Ouch!
If you’re like me, what you WANT to do (and you can taste this want. It is chocolate or nachos or wine or french fries in your mouth) --what you WANT to do right now is to throw in the towel and start a whole new thing. You want to HEED that voice in your head telling you this was a dumb idea anyway, and what you should really do is this other thing that you’re clearly much better suited to. Yup. That’s what you want. The place that feels fun, energizing, familiar. Not the part that feels repetitive, difficult, unfamiliar.
But you know that game, folks. It’s the damn dog chasing its tail again. You can see it clearly (painfully) if you pick up your old journal from ten years ago, and you find it's filled to its gills with all the same crap: You started something with gusto; you dropped the ball with a fizzle; you then ostensibly decided to quit because you made a discovery about your true gifts and direction; and so you started something new with gusto...until...
LET’S STOP THIS PRETEND FORWARD MOVEMENT and call ourselves out on it. What’s happening is, we’re afraid of being uncomfortable.
AND (that “and”, I borrowed from Improv strategies), nothing is wrong. Nothing is broken. We’re not crazy. This is life. AND we STILL gotta uplevel.
We uplevel by picking up the SAME OLD BALL, and dribbling again. What’s in your way, honeys? What? That ball’s heavy? Good! You wanted ripped arms anyway! Go get ‘em! Let’s do it together!
I’m not on my bike. I’m not driving my car. I’m on a PLANE, people. Let’s course correct. And ROLL.