I bought this book for a new friend of mine. She’s turning one, so I suppose this is more for her parents. It’s not really about hunting bears at all. It’s about dealing with the hard stuff in life. And it’s kind of harsh.
On each page, the family faces an obstacle, and with each obstacle, they learn that they can’t avoid it. They can’t go around it or over it; they have to go through it.
Their obstacles are fun: mud, wind, forests. We nonfiction humans, however, face much worse obstacles: fear, anxiety, overwhelm, exhaustion, and so on.
And the thing is, we think something is going to be hard. We think it’s going to be a hassle. We assume we’re not up to the task. And, of course, all of these assumptions could be true…or NOT true…but thinking them definitely does not help.
And that brings me to my website. Depending on where you are reading this, most likely as a newsletter, you may not know: I HAVE A BRAND NEW WEBSITE!! –> carrotcondo.com <– However, it’s been months and months in the making, partly because I spent at least six weeks fretting about how much I did not know and how hard it was going to be to redesign.
I ran into a dozen dead ends because I was trying to go around the problem, under the problem, over the problem, any which way but through. In trying to avoid what I feared would be hard, discouraging, confusing, time-consuming, brain-taxing work, I stalled the whole project.
Tired of feeling so defeated and awful before even trying, I “played around” one day with the tiny bit of re-design functions I thought I knew and … *BOOM!* I totally messed up my entire website with absolutely no return.
My fear became irrelevant once I was thrown into the mess. Scared or not, I’m stuck in it now, so figure it out. And, I was right–it was hard, discouraging, confusing, time-consuming, and brain-taxing. However, it was also fun and interesting and deeply rewarding. When I finally figured out how to revive my blog, and it reappeared here on my homepage linked to the “news” button, I whooped for joy and skipped around the basement. That had been days of effort, and I did it!
What I had not thought to anticipate in all my dread is the feeling of achievement and pride I’d feel once I’d gone through one of the many obstacles. After I finished whooping and celebrating, I told myself to sit still for a few minutes and soak in that feeling of accomplishment for the next daunting task in life.
With each week of effort, I gained confidence in my ability to figure things out. This filtered into other parts of my creative work. While pondering a design idea, I felt myself shrug and then say aloud, “Meh, you’ll figure it out,” and then I started working on it.
I mean, it IS hard. And I was not up to the task–many people could have done this in a matter of hours. There’s a reason I was scared. And, failure is a real possibility. Remember my post a few months ago about fixing the washing machine? Well, I fixed it numerous more times, but by the fourth or fifth mini flood in our basement, I gave up and we bought a new one. Even researching the new one was hard–did you know new washing machines have WIFI?
Anyway, yes, failure is truly possible. It hurts. It sucks. I’m really scared of it. But the challenges only feel harder the more I try to avoid them. Plus, learning, growth, achievement, and accomplishment are all possibilities too.
There might also be nice surprises once you decide to go through your obstacle. My friend Mario, for example. He’s an artist and professional website designer. He heard about my challenge and offered to help me. Turns out, I messed things up so badly, I had to fix the website myself before he had time to work on it, but I’m absolutely sure that his generous offer of support bolstered my confidence.
So, you can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, but you can go see it! Visit my new website at carrotcondo.com and tell me what you think! If it’s a criticism, break it to me gently. I’m still basking in contentment!