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How to Persevere

Jul 29, 2020

Just Keep Swimming


We are likely IN THIS FOR AWHILE now.

How do we STICK TO things that matter?


Because RISING and GRINDING will only get us so far…

Boy-o-boy this whole year is starting to feel like a marathon within a triathlon… within the Hunger Games.

Every single system of ours is being challenged and the part of our brains that scans the world for potential threat is working overtime. This kind of allopathic stress (allopathic load) can have damaging long term effects if left unchecked which is why, more than ever we need to not only remember our tools, we need to incorporate them into our day to day lives. And make them non-negotiable.

The thing that keeps coming up for me is the sense of the indefiniteness of everything. The sense that we really don’t know how long certain phases of things being shut down are going to last. And the not knowing is hard for me. Anyone relate? If so just drop it into the chat below.

Oh wait, is this Zoom? No, Joe, it’s the newsletter. It’s real life.
Right, right. What day is it?

Since we are being invited to come to terms with our relationship to not knowing as well as being in this for the long haul there are a few themes which stand out to us that we wanted to share with you all today:

SUSTAINABILITY
DISCIPLINE
& GRIT

Sustainability

It’s impossible to stay switched on indefinitely without taking breaks or breaking down. It’s that simple. Car engines overheat. Our bodies get wear and tear. The mind needs to re-set. Imagine your next day without sleep! We all need recovery to sustain ourselves through this season of our lives.

For some of us, this season may feel like winter. We are shutting down work opportunities or they aren’t available to us at the moment. So the question becomes what are you doing to fill the well? If this were hibernation, or a spiritual practice like Lent,  Passover and Ramadan —these give bodies, minds and spirit a chance to recuperate. So what practices are you using to sustain?

For others of us, this moment feels like a scramble: where is our income coming from? Who is taking care of our children? Our parents? How do we make sure we have food? Have cleaning supplies and ppe? This scramble can feel different from coasting along and tuning out, almost on autopilot. We may be constantly feeling underwater and out of our comfort zones. And being challenged by the unknown elements being presented to us.

For others maybe this moment is a pivot: When will things re-open? Will they look the same? How do I need to adapt my craft and practices to meet the needs of this moment? Whether we have auditions now or are hearing about them on the horizon…whether we are setting up our home studios and getting our technological house in order…we may have to reconcieve how we do things and then train to meet the moments that are on their way.

Sustaining long efforts may affect our energy levels, but also our motivation. We must (re)gain clarity on our why. To help with the next part:

Discipline

I don’t know about you, but I went from team sourdough to team Home gym after two months. And now I can’t seem to stop ordering new and interesting (and delicious snacks.) I’ve tried new bakeries, new farm boxes, and good old fashioned comfort foods.

And my discipline wavers as the days (and weeks and months) go on.

It’s not just eating and exercise either. It’s sleep. It’s making sure I take breaks. It’s making sure I stay hydrated. It’s making sure I’m nurturing my relationships. It’s not staying up all night to finish binge watching a show because that will impact health and wellness and the entire next day.

Discipline also definitely applies to craft. Part of me doesn’t feel like I’m in acting fighting shape because auditions aren’t in full swing…yet.

And still, I look at the Olympic athletes who aren’t going to Tokyo this year, but who continue their training even though they don’t know when the Olympics will actually be held. Same with basketball. These athletes were staying ready even though there wasn’t a clear plan for reopening and finishing out the season.

For many of us, auditions have begun. Virtual or in person, self tape or Zoom…we are being asked to do our work from our homes, our makeshift studios, our backyards, patios and cars. But it takes discipline to show up and do our best work under compromised conditions. So this part has little to do with talent and training alone. It has to do with best practices, doing the little things better than others are doing the little things. And doing what we know we need to do.

The skill that allows us to stick to things over time is:

Grit.

Grit is a wonderful buzzword…but how many of us know what it means? Toughness? Edgy-ness? Playing dirty?

The actual definition of Grit is Passion and Perseverance over time. There are great BOOKS written about it, TED talks about it  and PODCASTS recorded about it. If you want to learn more about the research and science and application, click on those links.

But the main thing that I keep thinking about is that in order to have grit we need to have hope. Hope, to me, relates not only to optimism (things are getting better, my behavior matters) but also to my ability to see progress. And in this time, it feels hard to measure major life and career progress so we really are invited to celebrate little wins and focus on the specific skills we are training and seeking to improve over time.

So…what are you working on?

-Joe
We are likely IN THIS FOR AWHILE now.
How do we STICK TO things that matter?
Because RISING and GRINDING will only get us so far…

To check out Octavia Butlers incredible book Parable of the Sower, click here.

ARTICLES-VIDEOS-PODCASTS THAT MIGHT BE HELPFUL AT THIS TIME:

Article ON DELIBERATE PRACTICE

Article on BRAIN FOG AMIDST FEAR AND PANIC

Audio Book from Dr Michael Gervais/ Pete Carroll:
EXPLORING THE EDGES OF OUR POTENTIAL & LIVING A LIFE OF PURPOSE AND MEANING

Pre-order our friend Harris iii’s book:
THE WONDER SWITCH