What Would You Do If Your Life Depended on It?

“If your life depended on you finding a way to overcome this obstacle, what would you do?”

That was the question that was raised last week in one of my leadership coaching sessions with a client. We were brainstorming “powerful questions” that could be used with her team to help them step into a new, stronger mindset. After the session, I couldn’t get that particular question out of my mind.

Like most people, I have an obstacle in my life right now that I’m trying to overcome but with which I have been struggling to conquer. I have a contract with a publisher to finish my Courageous Conversations book by December 31st, and so far I haven’t written one single word on it this year. There are so many other tasks I need to do immediately that must take precedence. There are so many deadlines ahead of this one. It’s already August, and I don’t write well when I feel pressured and rushed. It won’t be any good, and then I’ll be embarrassed. What if I can’t do it? I probably can’t do it. Whew! It’s amazing the distance our minds will travel in short order if we allow it to!

But what would I do if my very life depended on me getting this thing done? Really. What would I do? This powerful question was immediately helpful in generating some amazing ideas, and it almost instantly put a strangle-hold on my excuses, fear, and resistance to that which life is calling me to… that thing I want to do but very often feel I cannot do.

We all have, or will have, things in our life that we think we cannot have or cannot do. Just thinking about it can cause us to instantly feel resistance, fear, and worst of all… we get seduced by our excuses.

Sigmund Freud referred to these negative thoughts as “resistance.” Shirzad Chamine, author of Positive Intelligence, calls them “saboteurs.” My writing coach, Sara Connell, speaks of them as “gremlins.” Whatever you call them, they are all doing the same thing:  robbing you of your forward movement toward the thing that is calling you.

Why don’t we just use our willpower? Just get it done. Just do it. Stop the whining and get after it!

Well, that definitely works sometimes, and that tough-love energy can be just what is needed for many people. But for me, loving myself into it rather than forcing myself into it feels much better. Here’s what’s working for me in tackling the things that call me but feel impossible:

  • Ask powerful questions just like the one we’ve mentioned or try one of these:
    • Who has done this before and how could I enlist their help?
    • Who benefits if I find a way? Who suffers if I don’t?
    • If I could only take one step toward this right now, what would that be?
  • Remember your “why,” write it down, and place it where you’ll see it every day—your computer screen, refrigerator, bathroom mirror.
  • Chunk it down into little manageable steps and only focus on the next single step.

When we breathe in our “why” in our daily meditations and we breathe out the lies our resistance wants us to believe, when we refuse to be seduced by our excuses and we chunk the pathway to our vision into small manageable steps, we build momentum. We move forward in spite of it all. And we join the 2% of people who change their lives and change the world, and get s*&^% done!

This week, act as if your life depends on you finding the way. Act as if it’s already a certainty that you will find a way.  Act as if the quality of life for others depended on it, too.  Then chunk it down, and take a step.

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

~ Jim Rohn

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