Staying Long Enough for the Breakthrough
“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”
–William Feather (1889-1981), American author
A while ago I was in Florida to shoot an episode of Lifetime’s, The Balancing Act. When I travel I make every effort to stick with my workout and nutrition routine, which includes yoga and eating healthy.
Yes, I do indulge and love the occasional margarita, chips and guacamole; however, because of my commitment to health and being twelve years post MS diagnosis, I stick to my program as much as possible.
The day before the show taped, I headed to a local Bikram Yoga studio. One of many things I love about Bikram is the consistency – 26 postures done at 104 degrees in a moving meditation. I have been doing Bikram for years and still have a long way to go. When I go to a new studio, I head toward the back of the room out of respect for the local regulars. This also gives me perspective and humility, forcing me to surrender to whatever is going on in my mind and cleansing out the thoughts that are not serving me.
When I walked into the room, I knew it was going to be extra hot. I placed my mat and towel and waited as the instructor spoke to the new students, offering reassurance and guidance on what was to come.
Five minutes into the class I was drenched in sweat. Two gals next to me, who were both new, were already struggling. One of the women went out (an absolute Bikram no-no) and returned a moment later. After a few minutes she went out again, but this time, she did not return.
The teacher poked her head out the door and said sternly, ‘Anna, get back in here. You need to just stay in the room.’ Grudgingly, Anna returned to the class and sat sullenly on the mat. It would have definitely been an opportunity to be embarrassed or angry; however, Anna sat stone faced, eventually leaning forward, bowing and putting her forehead on the towel, submitting to exhaustion and defeat.
As I observed Anna, I was inspired to ask – how often do we try to run when our breakthrough is most likely to be found by simply staying long enough? Are we giving up way to soon? How much would our lives shift by staying uncomfortable for a short while? Could we lose the weight, make more money, or improve our relationships, just by staying the course?
A poll by Mental Health America found that over fifty percent of American women feel that it is normal to be depressed? Seriously? When did our society shift from dreams and progress to apathy and complacency? When did it become ok to run from hard work or, in Anna’s case, a little sweat?
The truth is that it is not normal to be depressed and that any type of progress we desire to make is going to take effort; we are going to have to ‘tough it out’ and hopefully there will be a teacher, mentor or inspiration who will stick with us and bring us back, even if we try to run.
The irony of any breakthrough is that it is often precipitated by a breakdown. In other words, to truly transcend, we must accept that we may be uncomfortable. The wonderful thing about Anna is that even though she wanted to run, she chose not to, and in the end, she received everything she required.
In my own life, there have been many times that I wanted to run, especially in the early beginnings of free enterprise. I reasoned that it would surely be easier to get a job and work for someone else, though in my heart I knew that being my own boss and creating my own life was something I deeply desired to do. Looking back, I see so clearly how simply staying the course led to the breakdowns that eventually became the breakthroughs – the breakthroughs that elevated me to the next level; this is something I also desire deeply for you.
I believe that we are all destined for greatness and that the secret desires of our hearts are meant to be dreams made manifest. I want to encourage you to stay the course and know that your breakthrough is sure to happen especially if you have already had the breakdown. Go for your dreams with passion and enthusiasm and never give up. You are destined to play a big role in this life so go for it…just stay in the ‘room.’
Susan Sly is a best selling author, speaker and entrepreneur. She has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime Television and the CBN. Susan is the mother of five children and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.