Not very long ago I was there. Ready to give up. What's the point? Nobody is listening, anyway. Why not quit everything and live your life in peace. Who is gonna care?
I was in a real state. Tired of getting nowhere. Tired of speaking to a crowd of air. Tired. And I came awfully close to giving up. Remarkably close.
What did I do to change things?
1. I took a deep breath. A breath to centre me and calm my nerves.
Why it helped. Breathing relaxes us. It affects the heart, digestion, the brain and even our immune system. Taking a deep breath is simple and powerful.
2. I went for a walk outside. I looked at my little beagle and said, "Mama needs some fresh air. I'm feeling gloomy." She wagged her tail, and away we went.
Why it helped. Walking in nature reduces anxiety and improves our immunity. It puts even more air in our lungs. So, we relax and become more focused. It enhances our creativity. We get healthier, physically and mentally.
3. I thought about stories that inspire me. While I walked, I pondered quitting.
Then I remembered the incredible story of Sylvester Stallone. How he sold his dog for $25 because he couldn't feed him anymore. Or couldn't pay his rent and slept in the NY bus station for 3 days. He went through constant rejection. Stallone went through so many hoops to get the Rocky script produced with him as the star. It's a fantastic story.
That felt better until my negative side said,
"Yeah, well, Sylvester Stallone was a kid. You're old. Now what?"
And I immediately thought of Colonel Sanders. At the age of 65, he travelled cooking batches of chicken at restaurants across the US.
His deal was they could use his recipe and pay him .05 for every piece of chicken they sold. In 1964 he sold his interest in KFC for 2M at the age of 74. He started at 65 with a recipe. That's it. And with his recipe, he changed the face and the hips of North America.
Which made me think … am I at the lowest point of my life like Sylvester Stallone? Do I need to sell Molly so I can get my next meal? Am I old like Colonel Saunders? Would either have given up if they were in my shoes? The answer was obvious. No.
Why did it work? When we see that someone has gone through something difficult and made it. When we realize we're not alone in our struggle. If they can do it, maybe we can too. Inspiration - It's a good thing.
4. Take the focus off me for a moment. I was beginning to feel better. But I knew I needed a bit of a break. I decided to come home and make a nice dinner. I asked myself, "How do I want my husband to feel when I come home? How do I want him to feel when I serve dinner?" My answer was "loved". I kept that as my intention when I walked into the house.
Why did it work? Taking the attention off ourselves brings us back to reality. It shifts our focus for a moment. It's hard to lament about your own woes when you're focusing on making someone else feel loved.
5. Take a small step. After a delicious dinner, I went into my office and wrote these words.
Why? Because if you've read this far, you may have needed inspiration. You may have felt like giving up. Or that no one wants to hear what you have to say. Or you may feel you have nothing of value to give.
I'm here to tell you, yes, you do.
You have value to give. So, keep going. You've got this.