Have you ever been so exhausted, so physically or mentally drained so thoroughly done with a task or job that you are just ready for its end? Even if it means that the project doesn’t reach its full potential. Or that you don’t finish the race. Or that you never get that promotion you’ve been waiting for. You are just done. Done now.
I have. This sentiment generally occurs after you’ve racked up a few failures. You’ve faced issues and dealt with them. You’ve experienced those taunting false successes. And you’ve persisted. For months. Or years. And now you’re tired.
I apologize for the dreary lead-up, but it is at this point, my friends, where it all begins. If you’ve ever had a coach, trainer, or instructor in the athletic world you’ve probably heard them say something like “the work doesn’t begin until you want it to end.”
All those crunches you did with ease? Nope, those don’t count. We’ll start counting when you get that serious-slash-angry look on your face, your speed slows, and your breath becomes really audible. As annoying as it is to admit, the relentless trainer is right. If you go into the gym everyday and stop each exercise just when you are starting to feel fatigued, guess what kind of changes and improvements you’ll see? Zip. Zilch. Zero.
Chasing after dreams isn’t comfortable. In fact, some days it’s extremely stressful and monumentally challenging. But those breakdowns you’ll have (over and over again) are the muscle fibers that rebuild the next day stronger than before. Of course, in the gym if you have a legitimate injury that prevents your improvement for the time being, you must honor this pause. Likewise, if you are in a situation that is physically, mentally, or emotionally harmful to you—get out!
Know the difference between challenging and damaging. Challenges can be conquered. Damages will eventually conquer you. Right now I’m working on a project that has had several breakdowns. And trust me, that little white flag of surrender has called my name on more than one occasion. But every time I’ve resisted its summon, I’ve come back with a vengeance, a real sense that I am one step closer to my goal. I know in my heart that every success and every failure has made me more powerful than before. I haven’t yet finished this project I started a year and a half ago. And I have no idea if I’m going to be “successful.”
But I do know that I’m going to finish what I began. I’m going to put my whole being and effort into this goal. I’ll be tired. I’ll want to give up. But I’ll do it anyway. Because this project is likely not to be my last. It is that rep I don’t think I have in me, but I’ll muscle it out. And once I finish this set, I’ll be strong enough to add to the next set. And then add to next one after that. This is how I'll grow. So you’re tired?
Go on and take a nap, but only to refuel. You aren’t done. You’re just getting started.