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Keep on Keeping on

Updated: Mar 9, 2023



Have you ever wondered how some people just keep going when they hit an obstacle or tough times? Most of us have, at some point, experienced a great desire to just curl up and give up when the going gets tough.


I have certainly experienced that need to quietly slope off to my very appealing solitary cave, and hide.

I am tempted to stay small, safe and under the radar, un-noticed. There is a plethora of situations that have, and still could, drive me back to my cave such as:


· Confrontation

· Bereavement

· Trying something new

· Attempting something I have “failed” at in the past

· Lack of knowledge

· Feeling inadequate in comparison to others

· Unkindness (perceived or actual) from others

What makes you want to stay small and un-noticed?


When I reflect on what has helped me to get back up on my feet historically, I can honestly say that in all situations, it has been when I have been brave enough to reach out to someone and say “Please help me, I am really struggling.” The wisdom, guidance, kindness and willingness of friends, family, coaches and therapists have given me the courage to get up, and try again and again.


For me, the most influential, inspiring and brave people I have met (read about, or listened to) have been those who were able to whisper one of the hardest words in the English language….. “help”.


Without realising it, we can sometimes react like a small child…To quote the words of an unbelievably cute toddler to whom I once offered help with putting on some fiddly shoes, retorted:

NO! I do it by my own self!!!


As you can imagine, that scenario didn’t play out too well! Admitting that we are struggling is, in fact, a huge indicator of courage and emotional intelligence. (I am slightly embarrassed that I have inadvertently "bigged myself up" in that statement but you get the idea! :))


Something else I have discovered is that often we are afraid to ask for help, not because we are unwilling, but because we worry about being a nuisance. However, I believe that when we ask someone for help, we might actually be a blessing to them; by reaching out, the inference is that “You are valuable, you are worthwhile, you matter to me, and right now, I need you.”


I would be fascinated to know what you think about this.


How do you feel when someone admits they are having a tough time and you are the very person they trust and want to talk to? Honoured? Affirmed? Annoyed?


Another thing I have learned is that in the face of overwhelm, the key is to focus on the one TINY NEXT STEP. Just one. And when you have done that, another one.


I love this well-known image comparing big steps with small steps, reminding me to take it slow and steady.

What are the steps you need to help you Keep On Keeping On?


Sometimes, it is really helpful to talk through a project, a new goal, a difficult situation, or new dream with someone neutral. Someone to bounce ideas and concerns with, someone who can walk with you, championing you on the way.



If any of this resonates, do email me. I would love to chat with you.


Maybe this song from the band For King and Country will give you encouragement:


As I draw to a close, I would like to invite you to read this very moving poem about keeping going. I found it incredibly touching and inspiring and hope you do too. If you have a minute, please do let me know what you think in the comments below.

THE RACE

By Dr. D.H. (Dee) Groberg

I

“Quit! Give Up! You’re beaten!” They shout at me and plead. “There’s just too much against you now. This time you can’t succeed.”

And as I start to hang my head In front of failure’s face, My downward fall is broken by The memory of a race.

And hope refills my weakened will As I recall that scene; For just the thought of that short race Rejuvenates my being.

II

A children’s race–young boys, young men– How I remember well. Excitement, sure! But also fear; It wasn’t hard to tell.

They all lined up so full of hope Each thought to win that race. Or tie for first, or if not that, At least take second place.

And fathers watched from off the side Each cheering for his son. And each boy hoped to show his dad That he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they went Young hearts and hopes afire. To win and be the hero there Was each young boy’s desire.

And one boy in particular Whose dad was in the crowd Was running near the lead and thought: “My did will be so proud!”

But as they speeded down the field Across a shallow dip, The little boy who thought to win Lost his step and slipped.

Trying hard to catch himself His hands flew out to brace, And mid the laughter of the crowd He fell flat on his face.

So down he fell and with him hope –He couldn’t win it now– Embarrassed, sad, he only wished To disappear somehow.

But as he fell his dad stood up And showed his anxious face, Which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win the race.”

He quickly rose, no damage done, –Behind a bit, that’s all– And ran with all his mind and might To make up for his fall.

So anxious to restore himself –To catch up and to win– His mind went faster than his legs: He slipped and fell again!

He wished then he had quit before With only one disgrace. “I’m hopeless as a runner now; I shouldn’t try

But in the laughing crowd he searched And found his father’s face; That steady look which said again: “Get up and win the race!”

So up he jumped to try again –Ten yards behind the last– “If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to move real fast.”

Exerting everything he had He regained eight or ten, But trying so hard to catch the lead He slipped and fell again!

Defeat! He lied there silently –A tear dropped from his eye– “There’s no sense running anymore; Three strikes: I’m out! Why try!”

The will to rise had disappeared; All hope had fled away; So far behind, so error prone; A loser all the way.

“I’ve lost, so what’s the use,” he thought “I’ll live with my disgrace.” But then he thought about his dad Who soon he’d have to face.

“Get up,” an echo sounded low. “Get up and take your place; You were not meant for failure here. Get up and win the race.”

“With borrowed will get up,” it said, “You haven’t lost at all. For winning is no more than this: To rise each time you fall.”

So up he rose to run once more, And with a new commit He resolved that win or lose At least he wouldn’t quit.

So far behind the others now, –The most he’d ever been– Still he gave it all he had And ran as though to win.

Three times he’d fallen, stumbling; Three times he rose again; Too far behind to hope to win He still ran to the end.

They cheered the winning runner As he crossed the line first place. Head high, and proud, and happy; No falling, no disgrace.

But when the fallen youngster Crossed the line last place, The crowd gave him the greater cheer, For finishing the race.

And even though he came in last With head bowed low, unproud, You would have thought he’d won the race To listen to the crowd.

And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do too well.” “To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”

III

And now when things seem dark and hard And difficult to face, The memory of that little boy Helps me in my race.

For all of life is like that race, With ups and downs and all. And all you have to do to win, Is rise each time you fall.

“Quit! Give up! You’re beaten!” They still shout in my face. But another voice within me says: “GET UP AND WIN THE RACE!”

I hope you feel thoroughly encouraged, inspired and ready to take the next step…


______________________________________________________________


Something to encourage you:


@mondayispoetry



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