“I just feel paralyzed.”
Those were the first four words in an email from one of my clients this morning. It’s a sentiment that many of us are feeling right now. In my conversations with entrepreneurs and non-profit leaders, that’s an emotion many of us have experienced. It hit me personally this weekend… There are decisions that need to be made, actions that need to be taken, and part of me doesn’t feel like doing any of it. In the middle of the chaos, it can feel hard to move – but standing still is not an option.
So what do we do when we feel paralyzed?
One of my business partners hit me with this simple one-liner, “This too shall pass.” Hearing it in the moment, it felt like something my grandmother would have said. Grandma would have followed that simple statement with, “Remember Johnny, it could be so much worse.”
“This too shall pass.”
I hung on that statement a bit longer. You know what? It’s a more powerful idea than I initially thought.
Her words were true. This WILL pass. We don’t know how long we’ll battle this, or the wake it may leave behind. But knowing this will eventually pass, we need to focus as much on our long-term future as we do on the immediate, short-term barriers we’re facing. Perspective is everything in the middle of this, and with the future in mind, we need to keep moving.
Another client reached out and captured our need to keep moving with this perspective, “I know we’re all living day by day at the moment, but in the meantime, I want to make sure I’m not losing complete sight of planning for the future.”
How many of you thought about the future today? And if you did think about it, how many of you connected the future with your fears? Were you like this client who was focused on preparing for a positive future, or did you find yourself paralyzed by what you’re facing today?
Allowing ourselves to be paralyzed by those fears and doubts is not an option right now. It can’t be. Our businesses, teams, coworkers, and families need us to step up and keep moving.
But, this weekend, that’s where I was – paralyzed. I’d love to tell you how mentally strong I am, but this weekend I found myself in a cycle of “what-if’s” and “how’s” that stopped me in my tracks. As a confessed control freak, facing the things that are out of my control tackled me to the ground and pinned me there.
It brought me back to my days at Sacred Heart…
When I was in fifth grade at Catholic school, there was a kid who would chase me out onto the playground every day. Today we’d call him a bully – back then, I just called him Troy. Within seconds of getting outside, he’d sucker punch me in the gut and knock the wind out of me. A puny kid, I’d drop to the ground and lay there struggling to catch my breath. It happened over and over. Then one day, I’d had enough. We got outside, and I turned around as he prepared to deck me again. This time, instead of letting myself get hit, I punched him square in the face as hard as I could and knocked out a tooth. That was the end of my issues with Troy.
I did the same thing to those fears that tried to bully me this weekend.
Instead of letting them paralyze me, I punched back.
I get it. These are scary times. Things feel crazy. We’ve never faced any of this before. There’s no playbook or manual to look at when we don’t know the answers. Many things are out of my control. But I do control some other things, and now is not the time to stand still. It’s time to start thinking about what life will look like on the other side of this. It’s time to punch back. It’s time to do something that keeps us moving.
That’s going to look different for everyone reading this – how we keep moving will take many forms. We’ll make some big moves, and we’ll continue doing some little things consistently. We’ll push harder in some areas, and make pivots in others. We’ll get help from some people, and share help with others. No matter what, we’ll keep moving.
There’s a quote I heard once that goes like this, “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.” That’s where we’re at today. How we react to the adversity each of us is facing will dictate where we end up. Today, letting this all paralyze us is not an option. So with that, pick one thing you’ll do today, and another tomorrow, to keep moving.
Ready to keep moving? Looking for some messages to help keep you on track? Subscribe to the blog and join me here. We’ll navigate the challenges together, push one another, and help keep each other moving toward a bright future on the other side of this. – John