Persistence (Part 2): Using The Dark Side

When it comes to getting after my running goals, I guess you could say that I’m trying to prove something.

To others. But mostly to myself.

I’ve got a chip on my shoulder, and I am totally cool with that. I’ll tell you why...

As I discussed in the last post, persistence requires that you understand the challenges you’ll face and have a plan for when they show up; that you have a strong why, so that when things get tough you’ll remain focused on where you’re headed; and sometimes, it requires that you detach yourself from the emotions so that you can take action no matter what. 

(This last one is why today’s idea of using the darker side of your energy to stay persistent might feel confusing.)

But, stay with me...

While I know the idea of using a negative thought to drive you to accomplish your goals goes against all of the positive psychology and self-help out there, I think it’s useful. 

I believe in the power of visualization, imagination, positive attitude, a growth mindset - I coach on these aspects all the time - but the flip side can be equally as powerful to stay persistent.

In fact, if you look at people who have been highly successful at achieving their goals, most of them used rejection or past failures as a driver to keep going. 

Walt Disney was told he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”, and we all know how he handled that feedback. 

Michael Jordan rose to the top using the fuel and fire associated with being cut by his high school basketball team and told he wasn’t good enough.

You hear similar stories of rejection, disappointment and setbacks from individuals like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Charles Darwin, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis...the list goes on.

Applied to persistence, I think using the fuel of rejection, failure or a limiting story works. I was reminde of this concept in Tommy Backer’s book, The 1% Rule.

Polarity states that the everything that exists has an equal and exact opposite. Showing up consistently to work towards a goal comes from both sides of our life - the dark stories and the bright ones.

Happiness doesn’t exist without sadness, we have to have a contrast of emotions in life. So if we are to use positivity and optimism to be successful, I think we can also utilize the darker emotions to pull out power.

It’s about being scrappy. Fierce. Relentless.

I didn’t get to complete my collegiate running career because I had to drop out of school and was hospitalized with an eating disorder that nearly cost me my life. My last race in college was Nationals, and while I crossed that line an All-American, I have always felt I didn’t get to finish what I started. 

I’ve had a chip on my shoulder and just can’t let it go.

That chip, the dark side of this goal, is comprised of my coaches words and manipulation that led me on that trajectory and the fact that I let not only my parents down, but I let myself down.

I did’t go out the way I wanted, so I’m on a quest to prove that I can do something bigger.  I want to prove what I’m capable of when I’m healthy.

I’m not finished. 

Digging deep and finding the parts of you that aren’t accessible through positivity alone can be a powerful strategy if done the right way. 

The truth is, it doesn’t really have anything to do with other people or old stories if you’ve moved on. It’s just a tool to use in a productive way to motivate yourself to keep going. 

I’ve used it to fuel my business growth, to get out on stage and speak, and to raise my kids.

You have this energy within you. If there is a healthy distance between you and the story, and you are capable of detaching yourself from the feelings in a way that doesn’t consume you, you can use the force of it to launch yourself into action.

Maybe on your quest to get fit you can remind yourself of those who laughed at you for having that goal.

Maybe as you work to achieve your career goal you can tap into the old story that you aren’t cut out for it.

You can use the negative energy to overcome the resistance and the setbacks in a powerful and healthy way.

What do you have to prove to yourself? To others?

If you are a high achieving woman who recognizes that overall health is crucial to goal achievement, join me and other women in The Goal-Setter’s Club today!

It’s in this group that you’ll find conversation, accountability and support, be able to ask questions AND get all kinds of tips and tricks from yours truly. Once a month I will pop in for a live Q+A session as well! It’s gonna be AMAZING. :)

Next week I’ll be back with one final tip for staying persistent AND consistent as you work towards your goals.