I am impatient. I don’t want instant results, but I want the movie montage to get to the end.
I want growth, grief, and conflict resolution to feel like the highlight reel.
And that’s just the thing: I highlight reel implies a finishing. Here are snippets of all the work, conversations, practice, activities, waiting, and laughing — with just enough of a nod to the pain involved in achieving success or peace to make it believable.
A highlight reel also implies some lowlights. The nitty-gritty. Doing the work when it’s annoying, sacrificial, or even downright painful. Waiting for others to do their inner work to face healthy conflict. Crying when they can’t do it. Or worse, don’t care enough to.
This pain from the lowlights is real. And for those of us who really don’t like pain (🙋🏽♀️ I mean isn’t there something more fun to do??), it challenges my patience and perseverance. I want to just give up. Forget this project, goal, relationship— it’s not worth the pain.
When I sit in the pain, when I am willing to stay present in the conflict with the other person, when I keep doing the work, I realize this:
The pain in the lowlight is what teaches me.
The struggle is how I get to the success, to the peace.
The work is how I get to the highlight reel.
Here are a few ways to stay present. These work for difficult conversations with others or completing tasks.
1) Turn off distractions.
Literally. Turn off TV, phones, Wifi, music, radio, children (Ok, so maybe you can’t turn children off, but make a way to minimize their interruptions).
2) Set a timer.
Horace was right, “Well begun is half done.” Sometimes the biggest hump is just getting started. I used to tell my students (ok, and myself) to set a timer for 15 minutes. Commit to working for 15 minutes straight, and most of the time you’re in the task so deeply, you don’t want to stop.
3) Ask for help.
In a conversation, tell the other person that you are struggling and what you need. They can’t read your mind. In other work, ask someone for advice or just accountability.
How do you stay present? How do you commit to finishing?