High-Hanging Fruit

Liz Sumner Motivation Leave a Comment

I’ve been telling you about my steady flow of accomplishments since we went into lockdown. Somehow these strange new circumstances were allowing me a kind of permission and energy to get things done that I found remarkable. I was cruising along, feeling pleased with myself, when all of a sudden it stopped. I didn’t want to do anything any more.

I felt like Wile E. Coyote when he realizes he’s walked off a cliff. I had been chugging along, working on satisfying projects, feeling engaged, then splat– nothing felt appealing.

In trying to explain it to my coach I realized something interesting. My original projects had been low-hanging fruit– relatively easy (for me) and computer-related e.g. recording and editing my podcast, organizing my Italian vocabulary notes, making music videos– that sort of thing. The next bunch were tougher but urgent and had deadlines– doing my taxes, renewing my permesso di soggiorno. 

I’m now at the point on the list of things that are REALLY difficult. For me that’s home improvement and repairs. UGH.

The hinge on my window broke so I can’t open it. I think to myself, “If I get that fixed I might as well get the screens installed because a workman probably won’t come for a job that small.” So I reach out to the friends who might know a good repair person– but they don’t get back to me!

For those of us who struggle with motivation, possibly the hardest thing is to keep persevering when something doesn’t get solved in one shot. I can occasionally gear myself up to do a thing– make a phone call, go to the hardware store, find out the name of someone to hire– but that wipes me out. If that one effort doesn’t move the project forward I’m ready to give up. 

And it’s compounded by the imposed waiting. Currently workmen aren’t allowed to do non-essential repairs here. So even if I knew someone to call, I can’t hire anyone to repair or install or paint or clean. The roadblocks are so frustrating. I’m fixated on these impediments and unable to see a way around.

So here’s my advice to myself and anyone who relates. Take a breath. Have patience. Even if I had endless motivation I couldn’t bulldoze my way through right now. These strange times require creativity. It’s like new neural pathways are forming. Solutions will come from unexpected sources like inspiration in the shower. Give myself a little grace and practice being curious about what’s to come. 

A window will open.

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