5 days ago I started a 30 days challenge. Usually, I’ll share the details about what this challenge is, but this time it’s a bit more private, so I can only tell you that it consists of a series of actions I have to perform each day, and a series of actions I decided to avoid each day. Some of them are related to physical activity – like running, swimming, etc – and some of them are related to social interaction.
And the reason I started this challenge is because sometimes we get muddy. Hence, the name of the challenge. As we walk along, we may stumble upon some places that are not very pleasant, like swamps, for instance. And we start to cover our shoes and legs and hands with mud. Mud from our fears, from our expectations, from our childhood wounds. Sometimes it’s our mud. It’s a crust of dirt made of our own stupid reactions. Sometimes, we borrow other people’s mud. We take in their fears, their wounds, their expectations. And we get so muddy that we can hardly walk. We feel stuck.
So, we need a shower. For me, this “shower” is most of the time a 30 days challenge. A period of aggressive, disciplined and powerful focus on a single direction. It’s like focusing a jet of water onto myself. Of course, the water is most of the time cold. Yes, a cold shower. It’s not comfortable at all. It’s also pretty hurtful. But, eventually, the mud goes away. I know that from experience.
I’m at the 5th day of this new challenge and I already feel the mud is going away slowly and I’m having a better picture of the situation.
First of all, physically. I’m in a much better shape. I started to run again (after a 5 weeks pause), and, when I don’t run, I swim.A former colleague from my first company – actually, the first programmer I ever hired in my first company, 14 years ago – didn’t recognize me the other day. We met randomly in a coffee shop and he even shook hand with me before he was able to see who I was. Which translates in the fact that I lost a lot of weight and I look, physically, very different. Of course, I didn’t lose all that weight in only 5 days, but you got the idea.
Second, on the emotional level, I realized two very important things:
- if something is bound to happen – it will happen. No matter what. Running from it, avoiding it, will just delay it, it will not make it disappear. If it’s an experience we need to have, we will have it no matter what.
- a lot of what I experienced on the emotional level during the last few weeks was mud. In other words, there were false emotions. Most of them were on the negative side: fear, anxiety even possessiveness. These things are slowly washed away. What is left is a much steadier emotional layer. It’s based on feelings of acceptance, hope and, yes, love.
I still have the feeling that I’m walking on thin ice. But the feeling that I walk is much better than the feeling of being stuck. Still have 25 days to go, but, so far, I feel I’m on the right path.
Some people asked me on Facebook what do I expect from this challenge. Well, I expect to clean myself from mud and start walking again, but cleaner.
So, if something is not going well around you, don’t be afraid of change. Do whatever you can to change your approach in order to better cope with that situation. Besides, this is the only thing you can do, especially since the situation is in such a way that it cannot really be changed, or it cannot be changed in a week or two.
Just go back to square number one, reevaluate your actions, your expectations and start doing things in a better way. If there are people relying on you, or people who will feel the effects of this challenge directly, let them know you’re not going anywhere and that you’re trying to solve things out, not to make them worse. Tell them upfront what you expect from this challenge. If you’re important for them – or the outcome of the challenge will be important for them – they’ll understand.
And maybe, who knows, they will even support you, in silent and discrete ways.