by Linda-Ann Stewart
When you start pursuing a dream, or making a change, most people expect that they’ll progress smoothly one step after another. After they take a few steps, and find that they’ve hit an obstacle or had a setback, they get discouraged. They think, “It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. It should have been a clear path to success.”
But change doesn’t happen that easily. It generally happens with 2 steps forward and 1 back. You build up momentum, and then you trip or bump into a wall. You may even have to take a couple of steps back to catch your balance. For instance, when you’re on a diet to reduce weight, you don’t consistently lose the same amount every week. There are some weeks when you might not see the number on the scale go down at all. It’s also true in business. Your business will initially grow, then you’ll stall, and your finances will dip. It’s all part of the process of change.
It can be frustrating and discouraging. You can even feel anger or guilt, feeling like you must have done something wrong. These emotions can be more damaging than the setback. Your negative emotions about it can delay or hinder forward movement because you’re focusing on the block. This can lead to getting caught in a feedback loop and going nowhere.
Instead of re-focusing on your vision, you’re critical of yourself, give up, or upset that your momentum faltered. It’s like staring at an obstacle when you’re driving, rather than at where you want to go. You’ll naturally aim for the barrier every time. And because your energy is directed at the block, you’ll create more problems. It’s just the way the mind and the Law of Attraction work. Your actions follow your attention and the Law draws to you what you’re focused on.
The only way out of the loop is to let go of the self-castigation and shift your attention back to your goal. Change rarely happens in a straight line. It takes a zing sag course. By understanding that is normal, you let go of unrealistic expectations of yourself and the situation. You’re human. When you get stressed, tired, or distracted, you lose sight of your vision. It’s natural to then step back into what’s familiar, into your comfort zone.
There is a purpose to this process of change. It’s actually to help you make better progress. And when you realize this, you can master the dance and put the lessons to good use. Here are some of the opportunities that 2 steps forward, and 1 back, can offer you:
- When you step back into your comfort zone, it grants you the opportunity to assess and process your progress. You decide what worked and what didn’t, and allows you to prepare for your next step out.
- It keeps you from expanding too fast, going too far, or changing too much in a short period of time. If you do any of these, you don’t have the ability to sustain it. It’s like an army advancing too far in front of their supply chain. They have to retreat to maintain access to food, munitions and fuel.
- It allows you to consolidate your progress. You strengthen your infrastructure (mentally and physically), and get more stable and stronger.
- Your subconscious doesn’t like change. A step back lets your subconscious get comfortable with the results of your latest decision. That way, it won’t be tempted to sabotage you.
- The block may be a message that you’ve gotten slightly off course. Test to see if you’re going in the right direction, and doing it in the right way. This is when you can easily pivot to a new direction or try new strategies.
- Many times it’s an indication that you need more information, strategies or to develop a skill that you’ll soon need. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” or “What is this teaching me?”
Take the time to refocus on your vision. Go back to your original idea, the plan, strategies and tactics and distill, hone and improve them. Take what you’ve learned from the obstacle and apply it to your next step.
Instead of immediately thinking that things are going wrong, realize that it may be that things are going right. That’s the gift of the setback. It allows you to take a step back and get a better perspective of your path and vision.
It takes a lot of practice to master this mindset dance. You have to shift your attention from focusing on what’s wrong, to what it’s helping you do. When you’re able to achieve that, you make much faster progress.
Everything that happens in my life happens for a positive purpose. The Universe wants me to be successful. When I have a setback, I bless the situation, and affirm that something wonderful comes out of it for me. I trust that the Universe will guide and direct me, and help me discover the gift in the delay.
Watch the accompanying Monthly Mindset Coaching video, Has Your Progress Plateaued?