Keep Going: Perseverance, Patience, and ‘Intangible’ Results
We're taught to measure success by what we have to show for ourselves. We’re sold the idea that we should have some kind of finished product—a new home, a dollar amount in the bank, toned abs, a sexy vacation, or a prestigious degree.
So little heed is paid to process and, actually, it’s all process!
We often hear of ‘overnight’ success stories but when we dig a little deeper we usually find that this person or brand has been toiling for years to get where they are today. Almost anything worthwhile requires consistent effort that yields predominantly intangible results at first.
I’ve been in treatment for Lyme disease for almost two years now. Two years! Every single day without fail I take my herbs, supplements, tinctures, capsules, powders, and super-foods. I eat well and have tons of self-care practices that I use to stack the odds in my favor. I literally increase the herbal tinctures I take one drop at a time. Sometimes it takes days or weeks before I can introduce another single drop of medicine into my system.
Two years later, I’m starting to feel a subtle ‘lightening’ in my body. I have a tiny bit more energy. I feel incrementally less fluish. The ‘feel-better’ is so freakin’ subtle that if I didn’t pay close attention I probably wouldn’t even notice it. Before this ‘lightening’ sensation I went months and months without noticing any improvement at all!
While my physical improvements are subtle, I can tell you that, the personal transformation I’ve undergone over the last four years of this illness are dramatic.
I feel like I’m being asked, in addition to having trust and faith in my healing, to persevere with very little ‘evidence’ that what I’m doing is working. I feel the same way about writing my first book, growing a new business, and with most things that I envision for myself. It feels like it’s taking forever. The growth and shifts are so incremental.
Each of us needs to learn, in our own way, how to manage the ‘gap’ between where we are and where we want to be.
My mom calls this slowly-but-surely approach “the drip system”. One drop of medicine at a time; one word at a time; one client at a time; one dollar at a time; one day at a time. Eventually you have a puddle, you’ve written a whole book, paid off your debt, grown a savings account, or re-instilled vitality in your body. Day to day it looks like nothing much is happening but over time the results become noticeable.
It takes courage to honor the trickle and trust the process, especially if it feels like it’s currently going nowhere.
I realize that I couldn’t actually handle massive success right now—not while I’m still healing. I couldn’t go on a book took or give talks about my healing journey, which is what I envision myself doing eventually. In a strange way, I can see that life is taking care of me by not giving me more than I can handle.
I have to remind myself that just because things are like this now does not mean they’ll always be like this. Just because you haven’t arrived yet doesn’t mean that you’re not well on your way.
We mustn’t draw permanent conclusions from temporary circumstances.
As Robert Schuller said, “Never cut a tree down in the wintertime.” Nature’s pace is a slow process. Seeds take days to crack open and surface above ground. A baby must mature for 9 months in the womb before birth. Even something as trivial as a paper cut takes a few days to heal. The earth takes 365 days to revolve around the sun. Our evolution takes a lifetime (maybe even more than one depending on who you ask). It’s true—stuff takes time.
Things are always changing, moving, evolving, but if we look too closely we can’t actually tell that anything is happening. We must zoom out to see progress.
When I have total faith that what I yearn for is coming in it’s own time, my capacity for patience and perseverance increases drastically. When I trust the unfolding of my life I can rest in the knowing that it’s all coming in it’s own time, in it’s own way.
We also ‘get out’ what we ‘put in’ with our greater investments often having the greatest yields. Of course that’s not always the case, but whether we're building a client base or building an intimate partnership, we must invest our time and care to build something that's worth having. I like to say, ‘the more you love something…the more you love it.’ What I mean by this is that the more you invest yourself and your heart into something or someone the more meaning it holds for you.
I’m learning to have a vision and to keep putting one foot in front of the other but also to surrender the need to see results right away. I’m keeping my north star in sight and also remembering that there really is nowhere to get to.
:: REFLECT ::
In your journal or in conversation with a friend reflect on the following:
- What are you currently investing in for the long haul? What 'seeds' are you currently planting that you’re committed to caring for over time?
- What old goals or visions are no longer relevant to who you’re becoming?
- What daily action could you add into your routine now that would yield amazing results later?
- What do you regret *not* starting 10 years ago?
- What ‘seeds’ did you plant in the past that you’re now harvesting?
Copyright © 2015 Marie-Ève Bonneau