Last week I wrote a non-blog because I was feeling non-plussed. I was trying to gee myself up and force myself into a positive place, and it just wasn’t working. I am glad I gave myself permission to be flat, to have low energy, and to be less productive. Why? Because it allowed me, in my time and space, to get to the point to be ready to bounce back.
There are many ways to describe the concept of ‘bouncing back’. Resilience is probably the most common one these days. You could also use, grit, moxie, determination, persistence, pushing through, or toughing it out. I don’t know about you but, without exception, all of these descriptions are scary, overwhelming, intimidating and seem to suggest that the only way to bounce back is to force the issue. I used to be a firm believer that this was, in fact, the only way to bounce back.
As a footballer, the saying, when one of the players was struggling with keeping up, with some kind of soft tissue injury, or some other stiffness or soreness, was ‘jog it out’. We were fed the crazy idea that you can actually jog out an injury. It became a running joke (pardon the pun). “Did you hear John broke his leg”. “What’s his problem, he should just jog it out”. “Fred just got concussed and was carried off on a stretcher”. “He is so soft, why doesn’t he just jog it out”. We thought this was hilarious, but in fact, I now believe this is a very dangerous mindset when it comes to bouncing back, and to living a happy, healthy, and meaningful life.
Do I believe we all need resilience, grit, moxie, determination, persistence, the mindset to push through and tough it out at times? Absolutely. I don’t think anything great happens by just sitting, praying, visualising, affirming, wishing, or hoping it will just come knocking at your door. We have to get up and work towards what we want with an attitude that exudes, ‘I will do what it takes to make this happen’. However, I now firmly believe we need to honour ourselves. That means celebrate when we are in the zone and making things happen and welcome the times when we may hit the wall and need to fall flat for a while. This is what I have just been experiencing.
It is actually allowing ourselves to be human and understanding that we will experience the whole spectrum of emotions, moods, and energy levels. Instead of judging ourselves when we are feeling flat, I want to encourage you, as I have just done, to accept it, welcome it, and even enjoy it. When you do, the desire to bounce back will come naturally, without berating and forcing yourself to get up and go again when the get up and go again has temporarily got up and gone.
When I think about the most obvious representation of bouncing back, it would have to be the rubber ball. When you drop a rubber ball, it bounces back, right? You don’t have to slam it into the ground or force it to do something it is not designed to do. Inherently, its properties are such that bouncing back is a natural response. Did you know, that as a human being, you also have the same natural property? I don’t mean if you jump off your roof, you will physically bounce back up to where you came from! I mean, it is built into your DNA to find solutions, deal with adversity, overcome challenges, and achieve great things. That being the case, there is no need to force the bounce back, all you need to do is give yourself the time to be down, and process where you are at, then like magic the answers, motivation, and mood will return to get you back and bouncing again.
I know this is true because I have just experienced it for myself. What I did during my down time was resting, my couch got a hammering, I eased off my training, I walked, I noticed, and I spoke to the important people in my life to let them know where I was at. In my heart, I want more for my life and I always want to be moving forward. However, I know the only way to continually move forward, is to stop at times to re-fuel, body, mind, and spirit. If you want to drive your car across the country, you will have to stop at times to re-fuel and service it. Why would we be any different? I spoke with the wonderful Jim Wilson in my podcast this week called ‘Sam’s legacy’. Talk about bouncing back! This is a man who has achieved amazing success in the media, but also experienced incredible heartbreak. He lost his 6-year-old son Sam to brain cancer but has bounced back to use it as a way to impact lives and keep Sam’s legacy alive.
You are an amazing human. I hope you believe that. You are good enough just as you are. You have been created to do more, have more, and be more. You have also been created to have quiet, reflective, and non-productive times. Embrace it when the flat spot comes. Enjoy it, and just know that when you are ready you will naturally come bouncing back.