How To Do The Impossible: Part 1

ask-big-redAsk for and get whatever it is you think you can’t, shouldn’t or will never do…but must do.

You may be facing the worst day or night of your life. Or a horrible choice you think you can’t make…but have to. Perhaps it’s a diagnosis, work assignment or relationship ultimatum that freezes you to the marrow. Or a task that seems more fitting for a super-hero…but life has assigned to you.

Particularly if you’re a woman entering midlife, and what once seemed easy is now difficult and what was was difficult now seems impossible. With a side order of hot flashes, brain fog and relationship uncertainty as you enter your second adulthood and chance of a second life. Sound familiar?

Whatever reason you’re reading this, like 90% of people presented with a difficult opportunity for personal transformation, you may think you can’t, shouldn’t, mustn’t – or it would simply be impossible to do what you need to do.

Worse still, everyone around you, from authority figures to your own family and friends may be telling you “don’t even try, it’s impossible”. Chances are, they’re saying this out of love for you, because they want to spare you pain.

This is admirable, but misguided.

And they are wrong.

First Thing To Know:

Feeling as if you might fail is completely normal, in the face of a daunting challenge. You are not a failure, and there is no shame in feeling fear, depression or extreme frustration.

It’s a huge freaking thing in front of you.

It’s okay to despair initially…just don’t give in to it for very long.

Set a time limit on how crappy you want to feel and stick to it.

Crying is normal and cleansing – do it, and feel no shame. Especially as we move past our uncertain playing keep-up times, those startup years where we live to work as young moms or new employees, and into the take-no-prisoners midlife space when we finally have it mostly figured out. But then…BAM.

Life suddenly, drastically, changes and you might feel like a failure.  Again.  (dammit)

But keep a reasonable limit on it.

Second Thing To Know

You need time to grieve.

sad-womanWhether your challenge includes a person actually dying or not, while in the midst of this transformative process, especially during menopause, YOU are dying to your old self, the self to whom nothing quite this shocking or difficult was happening.

The self who had a different body that worked better…but is experiencing challenges now.

The cool mom your children confided in…but they don’t any longer.

The responsible worker who was great at her job…but has just been laid off or passed over for a younger, less experienced colleague.

You’ve either just realized after a long period of denial that you have to get on the stick and solve this Big Problem, or you’ve had it suddenly thrust upon you.

There is no small amount of shock in this, and grief is a very real response that nearly all faced with “impossible” tasks feel.

Grieve in whatever way you see fit, but again, assign yourself a time limit for active grieving (the kind that keeps you from getting on with life) and stick to it.

It’s very important that you acknowledge the grief, no matter what it’s source – people or situations or a piece of you passing out of existence, left behind forever or transformed into something new.

Acknowledge, take a few days or weeks if you can to mediatate on what you grieve, but then, get on with life.

Grieve what you need to, don’t wallow, then go on.

You still have big work to do.

This doesn’t mean that your grieving will stop. To grieve a death fully takes at least a year if not more. To grieve the death of a relationship, a career in tatters, your teenager’s sudden scorn or the end of your fertile years – a piece of yourself is irretrievably lost or changed, and grieving may take just as long.

Or much less.

But active “in stasis” grieving, the time your grief is a stopper to forward progress, and needs to be given a reasonable boundary.

Decide how many days or weeks you’ll take with the grieving phase of Doing The Impossible, and calendar your return to working on The Big Problem.

In the next installment of this series, we’ll look at Phase II: “Working Towards Possible & Melting The Glacier”


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