My friend Jenny, in the hospital for knee surgery, shared a room with Liz, a back surgery patient. There was only one window in the room and Jenny’s bed was next to it. Every morning at 10:00, a nurse came in and opened the shade. Jenny would look out the window, and entertain Liz with her running commentary of what was happening in the park below. “So many children in the park today! Oh no! A little girl in pink shorts fell off the swing. She’s crying.” summarized Jenny. “There’s a birthday party with balloons and party hats. I feel as though we’ve been invited!” Jenny exclaimed. She described the ceremonious blowing out of the candles, and even sang “Happy Birthday” as though she was actually attending the party. Everyday when the nurse opened the shade, Jenny described the activity in the park with great detail and excitement. In a small way, Liz was envious that Jenny had the bed by the window.
The day Jenny was discharged from the hospital, Liz immediately requested the bed near the window. She could hardly wait for the morning to enjoy the park below. Like clockwork at 10:00 a.m. the nurse entered and opened the shade. And Liz stared into a brick wall.
That story has been around for a long time but it hasn’t lost its value. Jenny’s view was not restricted by the brick wall. Her imagination and positive outlook allowed her to see through an obstacle to view something better. Liz, on the other hand, could only see the brick wall.
Many challenges enter our lives and sometimes we cannot see past them. The bills this month may total far more than the balance in our checkbook, the weather forecast may be rain all week and the kids have off from school, or that slight lower back pain could indicate another kidney stone. Liz probably finds herself paralyzed at the thought of obstacles. Jenny, however, would likely figure a way to pay the most critical bills, send partial payments to others and negotiate a revised payment plan with the remainder. To manage the kids at home on rainy days, Jenny might select craft projects, rent movies, and coordinate play dates with other parents. If concerned about passing another kidney stone, Jenny would alert her doctor, drink plenty of water, and rearrange her schedule to be near home.
Challenges may be unwelcomed surprises in our lives, yet we can be prepared with a strategy. I have found a process that works for me. I’ve been able to break it out into actual steps and would like to share it with you. Step 1: Acknowledge the obstacle as something real, rather than pretend it doesn’t exist or think it may go away on its own. You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t open the bills they know they can’t pay. Step 2: Gather as much information as possible, to know exactly what “it” is, how big it is and the implications of the obstacle. Only then can you move on to Step 3, and identify whose help you might need so that you can in Step 4, develop a plan for moving forward.
That’s how you can see past the major issues blocking your view of everything else. The problems do not go away immediately, but seeing past them brings calmness, a level-headedness, and clarity of thought. Anytime you think your problems are too many, or your obstacles too big, match your issues up against Helen Keller…or any other woman who has conquered serious illness, physical or mental abuse, death of loved ones, poverty, and divorce. Trust me when I say that women have faced more and harder situations than you and still manage to live incredible lives in the midst of them.
Women who have conquered serious obstacles take pride in their ability to work through their “brick wall”. Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN levels have experienced many challenges and they do not fear the arrival of new ones. They actually welcome them. They lean on others for support if they need to, focus, and meet the challenge head on, never underestimating the level of difficulty. They never stop at the brick wall…they see well beyond it.