Give yourself a pat on the back from time to time.
We start our journeys as wide eyed beginners, wholly focused mostly on whether we can, or cannot, actually do something. That is the beginner’s burning question: “can I do this?”
As we grow beyond that initial insecurity, we start focusing more on the ways we can improve.
“What am I doing wrong?”
“How can I get better?”
“Why isn’t this working the way it should?”
These questions are healthy, and allow us to orient ourselves towards better outcomes. But oftentimes we get so caught up in all the things we are not doing, or that we are doing incorrectly, that we forget to consider all that we have already accomplished.
It’s a lot like climbing a mountain. You start at the bottom, and you pull, reach, and lunge your way up the cliff side. No matter how high you get, there is always a little farther you can go. So we continue to look up, find our footholds, and climb.
But occasionally, it’s nice to take a break, look at the beautiful view that our climb has afforded us, and just appreciate the hard work we’ve put in. Truthfully, this mountain that we’re clmbing has no peak. The path is endless. And if we only focus on how much farther we have to go, we’ll never get to appreciate how far we’ve come.
Seeking out challenging ways to improve and also taking pride in the work you’ve already done are not mutually exclusive. We have to be our own biggest cheerleaders — nobody else is going to do that for us, and having a healthy perspective of these dynamics can be the difference between pushing through when things get tough and simply quitting.
Difficulty is a constant in the path that we walk towards mastery. But despair is optional.
So give yourself a pat on the back! And then get back to the grind.