Hitting a wall is a common expression that means different things in different circumstances to different people. What does it mean to you?
One Wed a few weeks ago I was supposed to give a speech in my Toastmasters club. In the middle of the night on Tues night I woke up in a total panic.
“I’m not ready. I haven’t practised it. I don’t even know how long it is.”
The fact that I’ve been in Toastmasters for seven years, given many speeches, and run a local speaker event didn’t erase the dread we sometimes feel in the middle of the night.
Tossing and turning for a few minutes I decided that if I wanted to get back to sleep, I needed to make a decision to reschedule for a later date. I’d go to my meeting any way and tell the chair I wasn’t ready. Okay, done. I went back to sleep.
In the intervening hours though, something happened. When I woke up, I’d changed my mind.
Maybe I would give the speech. After all, I thought, I’d had it scheduled for a month. I’d been sorting through ideas for the same amount of time, keeping some and discarding others, so I had a fair idea of how to pull it together even if I hadn’t practised it.
So what if I was flying by the seat of my pants? At least it would be done, right?
Introducing the Three W’s
You may not know them by these names, but you’re probably acquainted with the three W’s already: the WALL, the WOBBLE, and the WILDERNESS.
I hit all three in those few hours before the meeting. Hitting the wall was coming up against my own wall of resistance.
Imagine standing nose to the wall, with fists trying to break through, but the wall successfully remaining upright and impervious to my pounding fists.
Has this ever happened to you? Most of he time we struggle to break through the wall when all we have to do is take a few steps back and see that it’s not a wall but a door.
The second we change our perception we can see the door handle that will allow us to open the door and step through.
Most walls have doors. We’re just standing too close.
Driving to the meeting, I reached the point where I was ready for whatever happened, even if it wasn’t very good.
The state of acceptance may have been my saving grace.
People learn to walk tightropes. The walk along the tightrope is a continuous trip of losing and regaining balance.
Although most tightropes we walk are metaphorical, life does invite us to walk them.
I remember a riddle someone told me a few years ago. There were five frogs sitting on a log. Four of them decided to jump off. How many frogs were still sitting on the log?
Answer was five. Because deciding something and actually doing it are two different things.
(Apologies for the trick!)
Can you picture the frogs sitting there thinking, “Maybe I’ll jump off. No, the water looks too dangerous right now. I’ll just stay here where it’s safe. Or I’ll wait until someone else jumps off and see what happens and then I’ll jump.”
Okay, so maybe frogs don’t think those things. But if they did…
THAT’S the wobble.
Wobbling is normal. It’s not something to try and avoid. Who could? Who would want to live like that with no possibility of making another choice once a decision had been reached? Talk about hitting a wall!
Learning to love the wobble could even lead to making it feel more like a dance.
“Care to do the wobble with me, there’s some great music playing?”
Entering the Wilderness
Anytime we don’t know the answers to our questions, any time we venture into the unknown and don’t have a completed plan in advance, we’re entering the wilderness.
This is the place where our ego will say, “Don’t go there. It’s too scary. Stay here where it’s safe.” (Or suggest that I postpone my speech!)
I’m getting more comfortable with the wilderness.
But I know also it’s often a fun place because of where it leads.
Excitement. Enthusiasm. Expansion. SELF expression.
I gave the speech and in the end, it went really well. I was totally present and ‘on’ and others thought it was one of my best.
After we go through all the stages of hitting the wall, dancing the wobble, and entering the wilderness, we reach a new land of discovery which I’ll call the World of Wonder.
The World of Wonder
I felt really good about the speech. But mostly the process for me was one of developing trust in myself, taking a risk, and being present!
What if I’d cancelled? I’d have missed a great chance to grow!
Never Miss the Weekly Post
If I couldn’t take a risk in my home club, where everyone knows me, and where I feel quite comfortable, where could I take risks?
Which led to the more important question, “Where could I take bigger risks in my writing, in how strongly I stand up for my beliefs, in the way I create and live my life?”
I know these lessons are never one and done. They’re a spiral. They constantly task us to be more of who we are, and bring us more opportunities to live into the authentic expression of our true nature.
The more interested we are in learning to trust and risk, the more we’ll be hitting the wall, dancing the wobble, and entering the wilderness.
So why isn’t it better to go straight to the World of Wonder?
Well, that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?
Some questions to ponder:
When have you hit a wall? What happened? What important lesson did you learn?
How has dancing the wobble helped you make an important decision?
What do you do when you find yourself entering “the wilderness”?
What was the biggest risk you’ve taken to date in your life?
I invite you to share in the comments.
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