There is a beautiful Methodist church on St. Armand’s Key in Sarasota. Whereas I have never stepped inside the church, I have spent considerable moments in the mediation garden outside. There are welcoming benches and flowering bushes carefully placed offering a private place to reflect. Not even the nearby sounds of tourist traffic disturb the quiet of the garden.
Also outside the church on the street corner, the minister posts a monthly message. Generally a clever play on words, the message is always relevant to my life. Recently the sign read: “The task ahead of us is never greater than the power behind us.” The religious meaning does not get lost on me. I happen to believe in that power behind us. However, this week I would like to slightly alter the quote to read:
The task ahead of us is never greater than the power within us.
We have many examples of women who found a power from within to deal with a challenge. After losing an arm to a shark in 2003, Bethany Hamilton pulled from the power within herself to return to the water and become a professional surfer. Other women have raised children without the help of a spouse or partner, and perhaps someone you know overcame the challenge of a life-threatening disease. I believe there is a power, a strength within each of us, for these difficult events.
Sometimes when we faced with a difficult challenge, we abandon the present, failing to draw upon on that power within us. Instead we focus on the daunting task ahead of us, often obstructing our view of what actually is. We might be alarmed by a hint from a friend that our spouse has been unfaithful or perhaps note an odd mark on our skin and wonder how long it has been there. Too often, our attention goes quickly to the future and we become fearful of what has not even happened yet.
By taking ourselves out of the present we find ourselves in a fantasized future where we lose site of the facts, give in to fear and doubt, and avoid what needs to be done. By staying in the present, we can rely on the power within us, that internal drive to survive and move forward no matter the challenge.
A current example for me is my doctoral research. I have completed the classwork, received dissertation approval by the university, and now I have begun working with the actual data. The task ahead is daunting: gathering and interpreting data from three assessment tools, and displaying it in some meaningful way so as to add to the literature about women executives in Major League Sports. I spent a month avoiding the task, and fearing how difficult it was going to be. I became frozen, unable to begin writing the final two chapters.
This misplaced focus increased my fear and doubt and decreased my confidence. Once I returned to the present and called upon that power within, my mind seemed to be clear, and re-focused on my 35 year goal. I had university approval, obviously my first 200 written pages were written well. I can do this! I broke the task down into manageable chunks. I calmed myself down with some relaxation techniques, and relied heavily on that power within. The upset stomach disappeared and now I find this to be the most fun part of my research study, all because of the power within me.
I think women with high SUCCESSTROGEN levels consistently rely on the power within themselves to stay calm, in the present, and to organize and execute. I, too often, jump to the future first, delaying my ability to tackle the problem. And what about you? Do you believe in the power within you? Do you rely on it right away when faced with a challenge? Or, like me, do you sometimes find yourself thinking in the future, unable to act? When that happens, how do you get back to the present?