That Space Between Hope and Joy-Hope and Joy Trilogy Blog #2

That Space Between Your Hope and Joy
Hope and Joy Trilogy Blog #2

by Nate Higgins, Hope and Joy Wellness

So we have identified our hopes, goals, and dreams and are inspired in the moment to make them happen. Now what? Well that of course depends on what you are setting out to accomplish for yourself. Whatever that is, likely you know what you have to do, what actions are needed and the detailed physical checklists or "to-do's" that will be part of your plan. It seems pretty clear what is required by you, to make "this" happen for you. So...why does success quickly seem so far away, so elusive or so unrealistic?

Yep, you guessed, MONSTERS!

Monsters and powerful forces are working against you. In my experience of having hope for something better or a goal I want to accomplish, I envision a tunnel. The entry point to this tunnel is the "Hope," inspiration and motivation. It's where the idea of how great it "could be" once arriving at the other end of the tunnel. That other end of course is the "Joy" you will realize or bring into your life. But the space between Hope and Joy can be very long, very challenging and very scary! Here is what mine looks like.

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What lies ahead in that tunnel once you decide to journey into it is different for everyone. We all have our "MENTAL MONSTERS" that keep us from expediting our goals more easily than we would like. But slaying these "mental monsters," facing obstacles and challenging yourself is what makes the journey so rewarding and special. You celebrate in the joy that you were confident was there waiting for you on the other side.

For the longest time I could not understand why setting a goal, making a plan and then having it come to you didn't simply work out just like that, if you were willing to sacrifice and work hard??? It was very frustrating and only made all those "mental monsters" larger, even though I never saw them or knew they were what was fighting me and keeping me from my goals. Self-reflection and desire to do more than just survive in this life led me to begin inner-work on myself.  I was fortunate to come across self-help individuals who's words resonated with me. They led me to other similar voices in this area, and those to others, etc.  These folks taught me that it is critically vital to recognize the forces and feelings that stand in the way of your dreams. These forces are there whether you recognize or acknowledge them anyway, so why not give yourself a chance of dealing with them.  

I liken to my basketball coaching days. Regardless of who the opponent was we scouted them pretty thoroughly. Strong team or weak team, we tried to understand what they were all about, and then game planned to give ourselves the best chance of winning. Once you identify and label what might stand in your way or hold you back, you can game plan to overcome these opponents, or put up your best fight in defeat, make you stronger and come back another day to fight again.

(I label my biggest "mental monsters" as FEAR and RESISTANCE. Those other words in my tunnel could fall under the umbrella of either of these words and day to day for me, it's easier to battle one or two words knowing they might be disguised as other words as well.) 

A resource that discusses these "forces" I have mentioned is a great book by Steven Pressfield called, The Art of War. In this book Pressfield addresses "resistance" and how it is the main force that keeps us from reaching our goals. This easy, straight-forward and short read was very helpful to me in identifying those things that hold me back. 

If you have read any books or have a great resource in this area, please share in the comments section below. 

I won't pretend to have the answers to overcoming fear, doubt, uncertainty or the gamut of what you might encounter once you have set out on this hope to joy journey but there are a few things I would recommend that have genuinely helped me on a few journeys. 

So here are...
3 easy action steps to consider before your Hope to Joy Journey begins:

1. Identify and write down your "mental monsters"-your doubts, fears, resistance and uncertainty. Don't allow these feelings to hi-jack your mind, get them out. Then... write down some "right now" action steps that you can immediately go to when you realize you are engaged with one of your "mental monsters."  (I go for a run, journal for a few minutes, play my drums aggressively, prepare food with calming music or none at all or cue up one of my "mentor" podcasts. I am never NOT in a better frame of mind to move forward)

2. Embrace Vulnerability-share with someone you trust and who will support you. It's an opportunity to strengthen trust and deepen a connection in a relationship or create a new one. This vulnerability is a strength, NOT a weakness! 

3. Discover or create inspirational words and messages that speak to you and give you strength. Keep these close and view them often. The power of words never ceases to amaze me. I find my words and messages from Facebook following, recommended podcasts and book recommendations. However, some of the best words are looking back into my journal and reading what I've written during similar moments in the past or relive the strong moments and statements I have recorded. I also created a Vision Board, and add or edit it often. Affirmations are powerful as well and everyone should have a couple of these at all times. 

These are effective for me. They are not original. I have tried others and they just didn't seem to work for me. Find what works for you and stick with them.

I have completed this journey a number of times and know the feeling of joy after encountering mental and physical challenges and persevering all the way through "the space between."  I'm navigating this tunnel as I type this and can't be sure that I will make it through this time for certain hopes that I have, but the alternative of not at least embarking on another journey and attempting to realize hopes of mine is not something I will ever live with again. I have bigger dreams, stronger hopes and more worthy goals. Each trip into this tunnel is making me a stronger and better person. It's worth the risk, but you already know that it will be.

Take those hopes, those dreams and goals and venture into that tunnel!

Hope, Joy and Wellness to you! MAKE it a great week!

Previous Blog: HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY-Trilogy blog #1

Next Blog: That Space Between Your Hope and Joy Hope and Joy Trilogy Blog #2

Thank you in advance for your comments!

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