I thought it was time for a word about the value of perseverance, with some caveats. Here's a personal story:

One of my projects (I have several ongoing because we creative types like it that way) is re-painting my 120 yr old farmhouse and adjacent garage. Now, I could have either hired a contractor to do this for many thousands of dollars or recruited some friends to help me, but I chose largely to do it myself. Why? Why would a 55 yr old woman take on such a task?

The answer to that is that I have, through my life, somehow always been challenge-oriented. Maybe it was due to my parents' natural expectations that I could do anything I set my mind on or perhaps my experiences in life taught me that. Regardless, I have found that every time I meet that expectation, the belief that I can accomplish a task grows stronger.

Back to the painting task: I am not unusual in being a bit unsettled by climbing a ladder. Shorter ladders don't make me nervous, but taller, extension ladders have found me quivering, and not in a good way. I recognized that this in itself was a challenge to be overcome. I also appreciate that our inner senses, our emotions, include nervousness, fear and even anxiety, and as such, these serve as important signals. So I paid attention and decided I would use a tall ladder with caution. As I wrestled with this tall and heavy ladder, I felt other emotions bubbling up...such as frustration. Even though I am strong from my karate practice, I am still a 5-04 woman wrestling with a 24ft extension ladder. Add to the scene a bed of morning glory vines behind the garage. (I'm an organic gardener and although I have kept them out of my gardens, those vines are resilient!)

But, I saw in my mind my goal, with the ladder in place, and worked until it happened. Next, I climbed the ladder with paint, brush and rag, bracing myself and preparing to paint a section. I heard a buzzing and noticed a small wasp's nest in the eave near my target area. Sigh. I did resort to spraying the profusion of nests earlier, but really didn't want to do it again. I decided to just quell my natural excited reaction and proceeded to paint. The wasps ignored me.

It wasn't until I dismounted the ladder to move to the next section (another wrestle) that I noticed I had missed a spot. It's interesting how, when one steps back, one can see everything. It gave me another opportunity for a workout, climbing up and painting that area.

I moved to the next section, thinking about the great question: "How does one eat an elephant?" Of course, the answer is, "One bite at a time." It was with this mindset that I moved along the garage wall...one section at a time. As I painted, I let myself become aware of the repetitive motion of the brush, the feel of the ladder against my body, the buzz of the wasps, the breeze coming off the beautiful Skagit Valley, the hum of distant traffic. Before I knew it, that section was complete.

There is something so richly satisfying in physical labor. Being lost in the motion but also looking back to see what has been accomplished is a lasting boost to self esteem. No words, compliments or gifts can equal the sense of achieving what was once a challenging and even daunting task. That being said, it is a wise person who knows their limitations and ask for help. I will be recruiting a professional to finish the side of my home that is not accessible by porch roof! Thank you.

Oh, and my advice to make a chore more enjoyable: Choose your favorite color and wear it!

If you need some help finding the emotional commitment to take actions on your goals, give me a call. I'm pretty good at this stuff!