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What to do When You Find Yourself Pushing, Forcing & Feeling Frustrated


What to do When You Find Yourself Pushing, Forcing & Feeling Frustrated

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been known as a doer, a busybody, an achiever.

For me, this state of “doing” is natural and exciting. I feel accomplished when I get stuff done! But when things aren’t happening as fast as I would like, or when things aren’t happening at all, I feel lost, confused, and full of doubt. When I’m not producing, I feel like a failure.

I shared in a previous post that I took time off earlier this year to manage my family’s move and to spend some quality time with my daughter before she started school. Once I got her off to school, my intention was to refocus on my business, resume blogging and start some other projects. But instead of working, I distracted myself with errands, housework, or social media. Or, I’d sit down to work, but nothing happened. I had no energy, no motivation, no spark of inspiration. As an achiever, these few weeks were very difficult. I scolded myself for how much time I was wasting and how unproductive I was being and belittled myself for my inability to follow through.

And then, thanks to a divinely timed guided meditation, I experienced a very important realization. I needed to stop pushing. Rather than viewing this pause as wasted time, a dry spell or a sign to give up, I needed to trust there was a reason for it. I offered myself some grace. With curiosity and openness, I allowed time and space for the meaning within the pause to emerge.

I’ve experienced enough of these pauses over the last few years to know (in hindsight) that there is always something to be learned from them. Allowing the pause invites clarity. Pauses may come when we’re on the wrong path, so we can change course and align with our true mission and purpose. Or we may need a pause if there are fears or old patterns of thinking or behaving getting in our way; the pause creates space to see and address them.  


Stop Pushing

When you find yourself pushing or forcing, and then feeling frustrated because things aren’t working out, see it as a signal for a time out. Stop pushing, allow the pause, and get curious about the gift that the space is offering.  Turn your inquiry inward, asking questions such as:

  • Why am I pushing so hard? What am I trying to achieve?
  • Why do I want to achieve that?
  • How important is this at this time?
  • Is what I’m experiencing rooted in fear? What am I afraid of?
  • Am I on the right path? How do I know?
  • Is what I’m trying to accomplish aligned to my highest values and my true purpose? How do I know?
  • What’s the deeper meaning for this pause? What is the message or lesson I need to see?

“Rushing into action, you fail. Trying to grasp things, you lose them. Forcing a project to completion, you ruin what was almost ripe….(Take) action by letting things take their course.” — Lao Tzu

If you can remain curious and allow yourself to open to new possibilities you may discover something new about yourself, get clearer about your next steps, and feel more prepared to undertake the next phase of your journey. 

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