Hi friend, please take a long, deep breath before reading this article. Actually, maybe even take a few deep breaths.
Why are you trying to rush? I don’t care what it is: your career, relationship, to-do list, drive to Chipotle. None of that is worth rushing. In fact, you’re most likely doing yourself a disservice by rushing.
Rushing creates a lack of attention to detail, things get sloppy, and you feel desperate and exhausted and lost. We don’t want that. And guess what? There is no giant ticking clock hovering above you counting the time you’ve wasted besides the imaginary one you’ve created for yourself. It’s so easy to fall into this mob-mentality our culture has produced of expecting certain milestones at certain ages. But that’s bullshit. No matter how hard you’re working, our world doesn’t produce cookie cutter lives on its own. You will find your path with time, you will meet career goals in time, you’re never too old to find love or have a family, and that Chipotle will still be hot and ready for you whether you’re there now or in 10 minutes.
Redefine Perceptions of Success and Failure
What’s more important than getting there? Getting there in the right way and when you’re ready.
We have this idea that if we want something, we want it in a certain way and at a certain time. And if those stipulations don’t work out then it means we’ve failed or we won’t be happy. But honestly, who the hell are we to presume to know exactly what we want or need? How can we? We’re always changing, and so is the world around us. What we think we want today we might hate next year. You’ll hopefully achieve that core goal, but it almost definitely won’t happen how you planned it. And that’s typically a very good thing.
You can love someone very much but if the both of you aren’t in the right place emotionally/physically/whatever for the relationship, it won’t work out. So maybe it’s a good thing that it takes a year before you start dating. Don’t rush.
You really want to be a successful actor/lawyer/business person/etc. and are frustrated and disheartened by all the rejections? Maybe this period of time is about learning and working through personal growth so that when it’s your time to shine you can actually handle it and thrive. Don’t rush.
It’s important to redefine success and failure for yourself and train your brain to see the multiple routes and possibilities out there as potential successes rather than failures. We don’t know where our roads will lead. And that can be scary, but it can also be beautiful and valuable. Be prepared to throw your “plan” out the window and be open in your perception of the situations at hand. Think of those added bends in the road as opportunities to grow rather than hinderances to your path. The voice that tells you they’re hindering you are trying to rush you for no reason. Slap that voice and tell it to go the hell away.
Perceived Roadblocks Don’t Always Mean You Should Hit Harder
Often when we are met with ‘no’s’ or with delays to the quest at hand, our response is to assume it’s because we’re not working hard enough or not ‘fighting for it’. So what do we do? We double down and do the same things we were doing before just more frantically and frequently. Why the hell do we subconsciously think that’s the solution? Don’t get me wrong, there are few goals achieved that DON’T require hard work, but! we want to make sure we’re doing the right kind of hard work.
Asses the roadblock objectively. Is there anything you could’ve realistically done to avoid this roadblock? Are there ways of making this roadblock less uncomfortable? If yes, make some notes on that and learn. If not, don’t worry about it and keep moving forward. Are there unrelated things in your life you need time to work on? Maybe this roadblock is slowing down one area of your life but providing an opportunity to get some other areas in line that you’ll need once the roadblock is lifted. You’ll never know for sure (or at least until later on). But while you’re in the midst of that roadblock, the worst thing you can do is let it stop you. Analyze the situation, find an area you can work on that’s not being blocked or work on the roadblock from a new perspective.
I know this is such a challenging and confusing place to be in. And in my own life I’ve dealt with it in several ways:
- I’ve shut down and allowed a roadblock to defeat me
- I’ve exhausted myself while trying to rush and beat the roadblock down
- I’ve used the roadblock to teach me and keep moving forward
Personal anecdote alert: What I thought was the massive disappointment of staying in my tiny, middle-of-nowhere college town an extra year, all by myself, to work at an advertising agency (instead of working at a big branding agency in NYC) turned out to be exactly what I needed. Instead of fighting it or rushing to find a different job in a bigger city, I dug in and saw the potential benefits I had in front of me. I had free time to maximize my personal growth, I pulled myself out of a massive creative rut I didn’t even realize I was in, discovered that I hated the career path I thought I wanted, discovered what I actually wanted to do, and ended that period by moving to Atlanta to pursue my dreams with a new job and boyfriend I love! I am so grateful I had that time. Otherwise who knows if I’d have made it to this point I’m so happy to be in! After that experience I hope to always choose option three and allow roadblocks to teach me and propel me forward.
So moral of the story? Don’t rush yourself. Work smart first, then hard. Keep your mind open and perceptions fluid. Find the value in the periods of waiting. Let roadblocks teach you. Punch that imaginary ticking clock in the face. And always be kind to yourself.