“Taneka, aren’t you tired?” This was a question posed to me Monday morning by the man who manages our weight room. He was concerned because we had two games over the weekend, yet there I was in the gym working out.
Of course, I was tired. We usually only play one game on the weekends, but last weekend we played two, back-to-back with no rest. I answered, “Yes, but I still have to work out.” He doesn’t understand English that well, so I kept it short and sweet.
He seemed confused.
The short exchange opened my eyes to an alarming truth. Most people don’t know how to push past “tired.”
I’m not talking about exhaustion. You should most certainly know when to rest for your physical and mental health. I’m talking about tired.
When you’re tired you’re uncomfortable. Irritable. Prone to slack off or even quit. I know plenty of people who want to stick with a plan consistently, but they don’t know how to keep going when they hit that wall. So they become stuck saying what they want to achieve, but never making it happen.
Honestly, two years ago I wouldn’t have been able to coach anyone through this. I used to start things without finishing, quit when I was uncomfortable, and blame others for my stagnation. Things are different now.
I don’t need anyone to tell me it’s time to put in work. As uncomfortable as it is, I know how to keep pushing when I’m not feeling my best. This drive is not something that’s reserved for a small, elite group of people. You can adapt it to your life too.
So why do people stop progressing when they hit a wall?
Most people stop progressing when they hit a wall because they have no idea why they were trying to progress in the first place. What’s your why?
Trust me if you don’t have a meaningful reason for pursuing anything, you will quit as soon as it gets hard. You need to dig deep and find something bigger than yourself. Something that continues to fuel you when life gives you several reasons to take it easy.
So how does a person “dig deep”? What does that look like practically? Well, I believe in asking the right questions.
Here are 3 questions to ask yourself (and answer honestly) so you can find your powerful reason to persevere.
1.) What do you want your life to stand for?
People often get caught up in pursuing things that don’t actually matter to them. When you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything. When it’s all said and done, what do you want your life to say?
This is a huge question that will require more honesty than you think. Dig into your value system. Think about how you want to be remembered. Paint a picture of legacy.
2.) What moves you? I remember the first time I had a significant impact on a young person. Something inside me came alive. I realized I was born to impact and serve the next generation.
This question is not just about the things that excite us or give us energy. It’s much bigger than that. The things that move us are bigger than us. They are about the world around us. When you discover the thing that moves you to compassion, and then action, you are moving in the right direction of finding your purpose.
3.) How do you make the world better? Answer this question by identifying your strengths, and how you can use them to contribute to your current environment. Often we are blind to the value we bring. So sometimes it helps to ask the people around us because they are the ones who are experiencing our impact.
Call up a friend or coworker, someone you spend significant time with and ask them to describe the value you bring. Ironically, if you ask several different people you will most likely get the same answer or something similar.
With a clear purpose, there isn’t much you can’t accomplish.
You will be able to push through adversity. The aches and pains of life won’t derail you, and you will be inspired to persevere when you hit a wall. Remember this piece of advice: Learn your why, and your how will be easy. You will be compelled to take risks and endure hardship. Most importantly, there will be deep meaning to your work and your life.