Someone I know well has been working hard on an enormous, daunting project for a very, very long time.
The project was ambitious. The predictable obstacles were many.
The romance and the vision of the outcome was compelling, though, and it was clear that there was only one thing to do:
Embark. Begin. Make it happen.
Years have gone by. Obstacles have been surmounted. AND, new, bigger obstacles have emerged.
Some of that time, the objective was clear. The necessity of the next task was evident. The will to do it was unquestionable. “The Way” was a no-brainer.
And some of that time, the failures were all around. The futility was apparent. The temptation to give up, ubiquitous. The voices of the naysayers and the resigned … they drowned out everything.
In those times … when despair rules … that is when we reach deep.
And hey, let’s get real. Sometimes in those dark moments, we continue because, well … the alternative is just unthinkable. I mean, we can’t see the Promised Land, but we don’t have a better answer, so we keep going.
This person I know well, this loved one, has seen, today, a turning point. A transformational place where all past efforts have combined to create a new reality. What was once merely a static display, a dream, has become What Is. The predictable, almost-certain future changed into something else again, something entirely new, a future that wasn’t going to just happen.
There will never be a return to what was before. An egg, once cooked, is never going to be uncooked. A person, once transformed, will never go backwards.
What am I trying to say, here? It’s this:
There is part of us that wants change. The status quo will not do. Something must alter or we won’t go on.
There is also a part of us that craves predictability, and safety, and stasis.
These two aspects of our being are both essential. And they must be reconciled.
There is a place we reach for, for the strength to go on, to do the next right thing when all the evidence says we are wasting our time.
Perseverence is a superpower.
We may not all be world-class, brilliant minds. Hell, the law of large numbers says few of us are.
We may not all be Picasso. Or Shakespeare. Or DaVinci. It couldn’t matter less.
What matters is that we keep showing up. That we persevere.
“But, Preston, I have given up so many times! Obviously, I lack what it takes.”
To which I say: Yeah, me too. Felt that. Many days. Sometimes it’s a moment-by-moment thing.
Just keep showing up. Again.
My older brother and his wife bought a boat. The idea was that they could live inexpensively, and retire now from their careers of 25+ years, and travel, and explore, and get off the ground to discover something new – a new life, a new reality, something new within themselves.
They did their homework. They looked at boats for a long time. They bought an older, affordable, fixer-upper of a boat. They moved aboard. They hauled out to make some repairs and get the old girl seaworthy.
They found problems. Big ones. One after another.
That was almost 9 years ago. For 9 years they lived out of the water on this boat as they worked it out and tackled one problem after another. Summers, falls, winters, springs, stuck in a boat yard. Ups and downs? They had them. Black periods of despair? They had them. Challenges with no solutions? Many times. Stress? Don’t even go there. Sometimes, the dream, the life, just looked like it couldn’t happen.
Last month, on the highest, full-moon tide of the month, they put their ship back in the water. And their world changed. The boat is not complete, there is more to be done – but it floats. It runs. It can leave the dock, and they can experience life aboard for the first time … a foreshadowing of the life to come, this time of their lives they envisioned from the outset.
Overnight, the never-ending, fixer-upper, black-hole of a project became something else. It became the dream made real.
They did not live happily ever after. There is no such thing, except in fairy tales. New problems come along. Things break, things wear out, rust never sleeps. New people, places, and things – even wonderful ones – are disruptive and require adjustment and growth.
Isn’t that the story of us humans? It’s … kind of what we do.
Perseverence is a superpower.
This post is copied from my other website, prestonlarus.com, which is for my professional coaching business.