“It’s just not happening fast enough.”
Have you ever found yourself thinking these exact words? Maybe you have started training or trying to cultivate healthier eating habits. Or perhaps you’re trying to build your business. Maybe you’re learning a new skill, like surfing. Maybe you’re working toward making some life shifts, quitting a job, moving cities, planning a life-changing trip somewhere…
But, you feel like it should be moving faster. You wonder if maybe you’re doing something wrong. And let’s be honest, it can be hard to keep the motivation when we aren’t receiving any gratification for our efforts. We come from the instagram generation. Instant gratification is our thing.
Recently I noticed I was battling this in my professional life. If I posted a quote or article, I would dip back into the socials constantly throughout the day to ‘see how it was going.’ I was constantly in the back end of The Salty Club socials and the website itself, seeing how our community was growing, how they were responding to our content. I would find myself feeling pretty bummed if things didn’t get enough clicks, engagement or response as I felt they ‘should.’
Here’s the thing, being committed and actively engaged in a goal is a great thing.
But when it veers over to the point of obsession, where you’re checking ‘results’ constantly, where you’re feeling like maybe you’re deficient because its not moving ‘fast enough,’ then that’s a problem. And ends up being detrimental to your whole mission.
It was then that I came across this quote:
“When you plant seeds in the garden, you don’t dig them up every day to see if they have sprouted yet. You simply water them and clear away the weeds; you know that the seeds will grow in time. The results will come when they’re ready.” Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron
I was doing exactly that. Instead of trusting the methods, goals and plans myself and my team put in place over the period of the whole year, I was digging up the seeds, putting them under a spotlight and yelling ‘TELL ME THE ANSWERS NOW, SEEDLING!’
Seeds take time to grow. Duh. There’s a whole party going on underground before you ever see anything shoot through the earth into the topside world.
Let’s take another example: surfing. Many say they want to start surfing, but don’t realize how much work it actually takes. Those girls in the pictures? They’ve been working at it for years. Through every setback, plateau, injury, disappointment, doubt, they kept chipping away. It takes work to learn to fly, it takes time, it takes a million things happening under the surface before you can get that cool gratifying picture for Instagram.
Yes, it’s hard sometimes to stay motivated when you’re not getting results as quickly as you would like.
This goes for anything. Maybe you’ve started a training regime, or are working to cultivate a healthier diet. Maybe you’ve committed to start working toward a professional or personal goal. If you’re currently working something long-term with no short term gratification, if you’re incessantly looking at markers of how things are growing, if you’re doubting the seeds will actually come to harvest, I invite you to breathe a little bit. Have a little more trust. And focus a little more on the joy of the task itself. Remember the seeds, people! Remember the seeds. Life can’t happen all at once.
And you know what? I don’t think we necessarily should receive the results we want straight away.
Getting to work even when no one is there clapping builds character, it builds resilience.
I was listening to an interview hosted by Sasza Lohrey, founder of BBXX.world. On the outside, she has built a thriving online business, a podcast, all centred around intimacy, sexuality and communication. On the outside, you would look at her and think; ‘this woman has made it.’ Interestingly though, when she was asked how often in life she actually feels successful, she said; ‘about twenty per cent of the time.’
I could relate. Majority of the time I don’t feel ‘successful’ at all.
Those electric, excited moments of ‘I’m KILLING this’ are actually few and far between, spaced out by a lot of hard work, doubt, plateaus and unsatisfying moments. If I decide I can only be happy when I feel successful in this way? Shit, I’m committing to only feel joy about twenty per cent of the time.
So thank the plateaus, the planting seasons where the seeds haven’t yet shot up out of the ground. It helps bring you back into the present, a reminder that we need to be present in each building action, and find the joy in that. Because these moments are what life is made up of.
Keep going. Trust the seeds. The harvest will come when it’s meant to. And remember, no one feels successful all the time.
Photo: Shelby Neufeld