Years ago, I learned a phrase of great wisdom that has had a profound impact on my life. I remembered this phrase recently while I was questioning my abilities in training for an upcoming triathlon. Feeling completely out of shape in the early days of my work-out schedule, I was reminded of something I already knew, but had forgotten for a time. Isn’t it funny what we know, but often forget.
The ramifications of this wisdom are so significant that I would encourage you to stop whatever you are doing and consider its application in your own life. So, let’s call a time out! Pull over! Put the sandwich down! Quit multi-tasking for a minute and consider this:
“Commitment to Continuity Develops Emotional Stability”
Now, you may think, what does that mean other than a bunch of big words? Be patient here, this is going to take a minute. We all have likely experienced the emotional roller coaster ride of self-doubt when embarking on a new challenge or quest. This typically happens when we engage a challenge that tests our own self-confidence or when we reach for something we believe may be beyond our own capacities. Our internal fear meter often goes off and we begin to have an argument with ourselves about whether we think we can or can’t achieve what lays before us.
For years, I have seen this manifested in so many when trying to tackle a worthy goal or challenge. Sometimes we can even count ourselves out before the starting gun goes off. I have seen this play out in the arena of parenting as our children are reluctant to do hard things. I have seen it with clients as we work toward trying to understand and execute difficult financial goals. I’ve also observed this in numerous coaching sessions with entrepreneurial business professionals seeking break-through performance. Since an entrepreneurs’ life is largely marked by a series of failures, many succumb to believing that one’s past is bigger than one’s future. Not true!
Like the struggling entrepreneur, we may even project our own limitations and past failures into the future. These feelings can paralyze us and can create a negative spiral where we circle endlessly trying to escape our own hopelessness. In the end, a life of quiet desperation.
To this I say, “Stop it!” You are good enough and you can do it! You have God given equipment with a capacity far greater than you know. You are unique and valuable, with purpose beyond your own comprehension. You have resources at your fingertips that you may not have even considered. As children of a loving Heavenly Father, you can succeed at anything you put your mind to. I know this to be true. And so, if you begin to feel this negative emotional pull, or begin to sense this self-limiting internal struggle, consider again this wisdom,
“Commitment to Continuity Develops Emotional Stability”
Let’s break this down. We all know what it means to make a commitment. We understand the power of a promise, an oath or having the resolve to finish. We revere those who keep commitments and admire their character. If you haven’t been one to keep commitments, you can start today and change your reality.
The meaning of the word “continuity” might be a bit fuzzy, because it’s not one we use much today. Rather, think of the related words like “continue” or “continuous.” These words mean to be “uninterrupted in time or without cessation.” They mean “to abide,” “to keep on,” “to last” or “to endure.”
When we are faced with a difficult task, goal or struggle, if we will commit to a contiguous plan or pattern and then resolve to stay the course, something magic begins to happen. If we will trust and have faith in our own God-given capacity and leverage the helpful resources around us, we will feel a gathering momentum and strength propelling us forward.
I am experiencing this presently as I prepare for my first triathlon. Frankly, I did the early demeaning emotional calisthenics myself, but then I got a 16-week, swim focused, work-out plan from my good friend Tory and decided to trust him and the plan. Tory has participated in many triathlons and encouraged me to press on. He believed and that’s all I needed.
Many can relate to the challenge of losing weight. We know if we burn more calories than we take in we will shed the pounds. Now, I understand it can be more complicated than this, but stay with me… If we establish a pattern of effective exercise and make better choices with the food we eat, over time we will be lighter on the scale. The key here is to trust the wisdom of “committing to a contiguous plan.” Remember success is a process not an event! Its a journey, not a destination.
In addition, you must have a burning “why” or “reason” you have embarked in the first place. This “why” must be the gas in the tank that propels you! Then, the emotional ups and downs you feel when stepping on the cold scale each morning will even out. An undeniable critical element here is the power of “the why” versus “the how,” but that’s another post!
When we engage this way, we are really saying to ourselves that we believe or have faith that if we do ABC we will get to XY and Z. In short, we are committing to and trusting a proven process. I remember when I first started college many years ago. It was rather overwhelming when I considered the long road to graduation. But, I remember thinking, “well, one class at a time.” I trusted that thought and before long I was walking down the aisle receiving my diploma.
When you begin to approach hard things this way, much of the internal fear, doubt and struggle will subside and your confidence will soar. Your strength and capacity to trust will grow each day. But, you must demonstrate your faith and move forward almost stepping forward into the darkness before the light appears.
The Children of Israel had to put their feet in the water first before the River Jordan would part, so they could pass with the Ark of the Covenant. Peter had to demonstrate his faith by first getting out of the boat. The Brother of Jared had to carry 16 small stones to the top of the mountain before the miracle occurred. We see this illustrative pattern repeatedly in the scriptures; line upon line, precept upon precept. But, we see it in our lives as well with every hard thing we are pursuing.
What a powerful principle you can apply each day. Maybe you desire a closer spiritual relationship with your Maker. We know that the daily personal religious behaviors of reading, pondering and praying draws us nearer to God and brings us closer to the Holy Spirit, who testifies of Him. The Savior said, “draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.” So, commit to a spiritual pattern of religious behavior and you will reap what you sow.
If this is not your quest then determine the unrealized passions sitting dormant in your life and get to work. Set the fear aside and focus on “the why.” Let this motivation push you along. Determine the success principles and habits to achieve and get started on a contiguous plan for attainment. Exercise your faith and get going. With a commitment to a consistent plan you will feel your doubting emotions replaced by a confidence in the future.
Test this powerful principle in your life and feel the exhilaration of growth and personal achievement. You can do hard things! I promise you will experience the sweet fruit of arriving as you demonstrate your faith. This is the secret of doing hard things. It’s a wonderful journey. You can do it!