You can’t win a fight without first being punched in the face!
You know those days, the ones where you feel a little ‘meh’?
Nothing is particularly wrong, but you don’t feel fantastic either.
And you work so hard to ‘be positive’.
You are positive.
You practice gratitude, mindfulness, and are aware of your own energy and the law of attraction.
But, some days you just feel a little grey?
And, that’s okay.
It’s like rain, on your wedding day.Alanis Morisette.
I have struggled recently. I have been building up overwhelm.
I am good at reframing my anxiety into excitement. It helps, massively. Especially before stepping into the ring!
But, if you are doing it daily, it’s exhausting.
Excitement is exhausting.
Positive people get tired too.
And no one is perfect.
I put a lot of practice into ‘being positive’.
A lot of pressure to maintain this, with a fear of failure, if I have a ‘grey day’.
But great days are okay. They can be fun in fact… On this grey day, I have enjoyed writing this!
Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.Vivian Green.
So, what If I forget to dance?
I fight those grey days by adding, often overwhelming, splodges of purple, orange, and green, on top of the grey beneath.
The more grey, the more colour, to cover it up. To hide what’s under the surface.
Who doesn’t like excitement and colour?
The brighter the better, right?
I have been reading Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, as part of book club, this month.
I love her metaphor for joy.
Think of fairy lights. Their warmth, comforting presence, bringing a calm beauty to the room, without demanding attention.
Now imagine someone shining a flashlight into your face.
So, is brighter light better?
Before stepping in that ring, the light of excitement burns brightly inside you, ready to unleash your true power, with an intensity beyond your belief. A natural spike of adrenaline, to fuel your peak performance and remove the pain from the inevitable punch in the face, on your way to becoming a champion.
Or the heart-pounding, gut-dropping, throat-closing, panic, dread and fear; holding you back, making you heavy, so heavy, 20x heavier, with your mind screaming ‘I’m not fit enough’. A surge of adrenaline to protect you from the pain, intense pain which you can’t feel yet, pain you have learned to ignore, until it is safe; a steely determination and a deeply ingrained resilience, the only things preventing you from giving up … before you learn to reframe it.
But not in your own home.
Not when you are relaxed.
Calm, comforting, light.
Not excited, intense, dark/heavy.
We all have fear inside us. That grey. And it isn’t about ignoring it, fighting it, or overpowering it, but learning to live with it and manage it, in a peaceful and joyful way.
The dark does not destroy the light, it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.Brene Brown.
I am learning this through my own experience at the moment.
I have been trying to sprint my marathon.
I have been living my life like I’m training to fight.
I help people improve their lives; their health and their happiness.
So, I have felt the need to be practicing this with the brightest colours possible, right?
Using up all my energy, to be the best I can possibly be, right?
To better help others…
Wrong. This is not a maintainable way to live my life and if I do not prioritise my own health and wellbeing, how can I help you prioritise yours?
I can keep my purple, orange and green, and my energy too.
I am learning how to paint a light watercolour wash. And build layers of beauty over time.
Opposed to just throwing more paint around, adding more colour, adding distraction… making it look bright, and busy!
And I can frame it with fairy lights, so it’s beauty can be seen, even in the darkest of rooms.
Even the brightest of colours won’t show when the flashlight fails.
And consider the flashlight vs the fairy lights, in terms of energy?
So, how does all this metaphor actually transfer to your life?
Well, it begins but accepting that whatever you do today is enough. Self-compassion.
And acknowledge it’s okay to slow down; you can still succeed. In fact, you will become more successful.
Remember, the brightest splodges in the dark, cold, stark silence, with the dead flashlight vs the beautiful watercolour painting, with the fairy lights, above the flickering fire with the fuzzy rug in front of it, gentle music in the background… One ran out of energy, one found balance.
Exactly what this looks like for you will be unique… I am here to help you if you would like!
Here is what I am currently doing:
1. Walking every day. Getting out into nature, breathing deeply. Listening to and learning from inspirational people, through podcasts. And/or enjoying music.
2. Eating tasty, healthy food. I am practicing better habits around my nutrition again; I am enjoying it and feeling great for it too. It is improving my mental and physical health – not only do I know I am providing my body with the nutrition it needs I am feeling more motivated, energised and positive about it too!
3. Limiting my social media and spending more time with those I love. This one has been more difficult, as I have quite an ingrained habit for always being on Facebook. But, I am now aware and actively changing these habits; I have begun by tracking the amount of time I am on there and setting ‘warning’ timers – I’ve not gone down the ‘app blocker’ route yet…
4. Reading, listening, writing, and speaking. I enjoy learning and I enjoy improving. I am learning through reading, through conversation, and through podcasts. I then need to put what I learn into action by writing and speaking more about it. This article has had a specific focus on metaphor, as this is something I am actively working on improving.
5. Kickboxing and Tai Chi. I got ‘stuck’ in a circle of ‘I can’t do it’ because of my shoulder. But, I have realised I need to fix my shoulder by learning to relax better – it was at it’s worst when I was doing my nutrition exams, not when I am gently kickboxing. This is actually a form of play for me!
So, I am returning to my own training – I have enough knowledge of my body and an ability to listen and prevent further damage… and I have begun Tai Chi; I’m only 2 sessions in, so all I can say is it’s tough but I am looking forward to learning more!
So, each activity I am doing to replenish my energy, my motivation, and my health is not complicated.
It doesn’t have to be.
It’s enjoyable. Which helps keep it consistent. And with support, for when it gets tough.
I am truly grateful.
I didn’t add ‘practice gratitude’ to my list, as I always do this.
I am truly grateful for the support I have; my coaches, my family, and my friends. Even people I hardly know have shown support.
Be grateful, there are good people in the world.
And choose to be one of them. Practice compassion.
And I am positive.
Even when I was in tears, unable to work out how I would get through the stress, I was positive I would overcome this – I always do.
I am positive about the future. I will learn from this and only become better; better for myself and for you, as a coach.
With greater understanding, knowledge, and experience.
If you are struggling, it’s okay. Allow yourself to feel vulnerable. Seek support, and keep practicing resilience…
This too shall passPersian adage translated and used in multiple languages. In English Poetry by Edward Fitzgerald.