Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Slump

When you're playing softball or baseball, it's the slump. If you're a writer, it's writer's block. If you're just living your day-to-day, there are many things we could call it.

The slump is never fun...

Whatever we choose to call it, we all hit a roadblock every now and again. It can be a storm of life, it can be focusing on distractions, it can be "getting lost" temporarily. We lose sight of who we are meant to be, what we are meant to do, and what we can offer the world.

The simple fact of the matter is that we all have moments of feeling inadequate or like maybe we've "missed the boat" on something. We get distracted from all that we are, and we focus on what we're not. We lose sight of those dreams that have driven us, and we get caught on an off-roading experience in which we stubbornly refuse to ask for directions.

I think we've all been there a time or two, and it can be a difficult thing to overcome. We start looking and nitpicking every detail of everything that's not quite perfect, instead of actually doing anything about it. Or, we obsess and decide that we're going to "fix" it all. We get caught up in the cycle of constantly trying to overcome it, all the while asking "is this it?"

Call it a bad case of not knowing "where to go from here...."

It's as frustrating a time as it is unproductive. We can't all be everything; nor, should we try to do so. We will fail, and we will be left even more frustrated in the wake of the post-superhero complex trail of shame. Nonetheless, we can all be something, and we can all be great at something.

Whatever your unique talents or skills are, there is someone out there who needs them. There is someone who needs to be inspired by you, to learn from you, to grow as a person because of you. It is when we lose sight of this fact that we get caught up in the "slump."

It happens...

Each of us has something to offer. Maybe, you're the funny one whose comic relief can get someone to laugh in a hard situation. Maybe, you're the teacher whose influence will shape future leaders or help that kid who needs it most. Maybe, you're the writer with a story to tell. Maybe, you're the musician whose creation can touch hearts and resonate with people. Maybe, you're the mom or dad who is the your child's hero. Maybe, you're a best friend who can offer a shoulder to cry on or a pat on the back, an athlete whose drive and determination inspires young children, or an everyday person working and fighting to provide for your family whose example of strength will forever be remembered.

There's a little bit of "hero" in each of us, regardless of how we spend our days, and there is someone looking to each of us to be those things. We all hit a slump from time to time, but you were made to be something. Go out into the world, and be it. Be it boldly. Know your name. Know your influence. Know who you were meant to be, and don't let a slump ruin that.

When in doubt, quote Dr. Seuss...yeah, that just happened.

Life is a journey, full of some weirdness, ups and downs, and a little bit of losing your way. But, it's all about remembering what's important, finding yourself again, and using who you are, where you are, and what you can contribute to make the world a better, kinder, more beautiful place. If you're in the slump, keep swinging, slugger! Swing, miss, fail, strike out, but always keep swinging.

Note:  for a little context, I found myself in one of these slumps recently. It was a strange case of knowing that part of my dreams had come true, and that I now find myself in my dream job, surrounded by some of the most fantastic people in the world. I'm not sure if it was an issue of complacency, of realizing that I still want so much more, of questioning this "new normal," or what it was...but, the slump came unexpectedly. For a brief time, I lost sight of so many wonderful things. I stopped working on new writing projects and worked on picking apart old ones. I blamed writer's block. I let myself waste time. I was wandering (well, and wondering...they can go hand in hand, I suppose). It wasn't until I gave a friend a copy of my book yesterday, and she smiled so big. She said to me, "You're a writer. That's so cool that you can just say, 'here's a copy of MY book' and know that you wrote this." It was a simple moment, but it was one that resonated with me, reminding me that I AM A WRITER. Throughout the evening and into today, that replayed in my head, serving as a reminder that, while I've been in a slump, I have something to offer those around me. I have stories to tell, and I have people to matter to. That is never something to dismiss or to cast aside, regardless of other situations. We all have an identity, and a slump shouldn't detract from that. Whatever you do, do it and do it well! 

It's okay to wander from time to time, as long as we come back to who we are.

In honor of the sappy, feel-good nature of this post, I'm including everyone's favorite sing-along, encouraging song...(made extra special by the fact that it's got the lyrics conveniently displayed, karaoke style, just in case your slump made you forget the words).

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