You will have noticed that I have not blogged here for a long time. I meant to but a small change in work circumstances in around April last year pushed me off track. Once I adjusted to the change in my routine it should have been a simple matter of starting again. The trouble was by then I was out of the habit and it was going to take an effort to restart. Not much effort. About as much as climbing a molehill. But I made the classic mistake of enlarging that molehill in my mind. The more I ignored it the larger it loomed until it was so big a mountain in front of me that I wasn’t sure I even wanted to get over it. I thought probably I’d rather turn my back on it and ignore it. Except then it cast a shadow in front of me and I could never get away from the fact that I was not blogging. In my mind it became a big Should Do Time Eater that I resented and resisted. I totally lost sight of why I had wanted do it in the first place,
I am sure you have had issues like that in your life before, whether it’s the box of junk that has sat irritating you on the floor of your bedroom for eighteen years or the job you hate and know you should change. As you can see, I managed to reduce my mountain back down and produce this post so I thought I would share how you too can turn your mountain into a molehill:
1. Look at your mountain.
Where you put your attention is where you will get results. Stop walking around your mountain with your eyes on the ground. Look up at it and decide to take it on. Stick your tongue out at it to show it who is boss if you like but whatever you do, simply decide to pay it some attention.
2. Map your mountain.
As kids my Dad would insist that holidays involved a ‘little walk’ up a mountain. I would trail behind, longing to be left at the bottom with a good book. It was standing joke that we never got to the destination as easily as we were promised. There was always a false horizon, a bend obscuring the next ( usually long) section of the walk or a barbed wire fence necessitating a detour. If you have a metaphorical mountain in your life, map it before you start to conquer it. That way you will be able to take the most direct route to the summit. By ‘map it’ I mean, fully understand what your mountain really exists of. Take a time to journal, in words or visuals, what it really is that is forming this huge block in your path. I bet it’s not the obvious. I was telling myself, ” It is because my commute is longer than last year. I don’t have time to blog. I don’t even really have time to think about why I don’t want to blog any more.”
It took me exactly thirty-five minutes of sitting in a cafe with my journal on the way home from work today to realise that actually what was preventing me was (a) a belief that I had nothing to say that was of interest because I had started to tell myself I was a boring insignificant person living an unremarkable life and (b) the fact that I hated the fact that the WordPress theme I used for P•C•S required a photo for each post in particular dimension for the slider and I had to remember to regularly maintain which posts were ‘sticky’. It looked great, it was a pain the butt to use and it made what should be a simple blog post feel like a major software issue.
3. Get a sherpa.
Mountaineering is a whole lot easier with someone carrying your load and who has walked the path before. Your sherpa may be a friend, a family member, an online article, a podcaster you see as a mentor, a book, or a formal life coach. anyone or anything that can give you a boost to dealing with your mountain as you mapped it. You may have a team of Sherpas handing off one to the other as you proceed along the way.
For me in starting to write this post there were three guides who had had good motivating input into my life in the preceding days. I’ll tell you more about them in later post but for now check out Brooke Castillos’s book Self Coaching 101 as recommended to me by Lisa Call and Michael Hyatt’s podcast and blog. The combination of their simple teaching lifted a burden from me and enabled me to get going towards that mountain.
4. Plan a recce to base camp.
Note you are not going to base camp yet. Just identify the first steps you need to take to get over your mountain and the equipment it will take for you to do that. For me, I decided it was to change my WordPress theme and so I needed to find the Filofax that had all my log in details and go and sit at the computer and do that one thing. Then schedule a good time and enough time. But soon.
5. Go to base camp.
Do not even think about the mountain. Take a little easy stroll to base camp and do that first step. Remind yourself that’s all you need do. That is the one goal for today. My task today was to log into word press and swap my theme out to a new one. I allocated one hour straight after dinner. It is a law of physics that it takes more energy to start an immobile object moving than it does for that object to continue moving. so yes, this is the hard part. So make it a small hard part and it becomes totally doable.
6.. Do not go the long way around.
Trust me. Don’t be a hero and climb the rock face if there is a gentle winding path. I recently ditched my ailing windows laptop and bought an iMac. I bought it because I wanted one and thats good enough reason but I partly justified it by telling myself it would motivate me to blog if I had a Thing of Technological Beauty on my desk. Ha! It just took me twenty minutes of searching manuals and help forums to work out how to add the • in P•C•S. (Alt key plus 8 if anyone cares). probably unnecessary effort. On the good news side, once I got on to WordPress I realised that I didn’t need to check out a gazzilion new themes to find a nice simple one. I needed only to check the box in my existing theme set up that disabled the photo slider function. It took six months of constructing my mountain and summoning the energy for an expedition to get to that point and six seconds or less to execute.
7. Enjoy the challenge.
On my drive home tonight I heard David Suchet on the radio saying that the reason the generation who were young in World War Two tend to think of the war years as the best years of their life is that for the people at home there was great unity of purpose and of those on the front they were being tested and people needed to be challenged to be happy. On the way up your mountain you may encounter a rock fall or other unexpected hurdle. I for example have currently no idea why WordPress in my iMac will not let me upload pictures as I used to do. You can treat such rock falls as trip-ending disasters. Or you can enjoy the extra excitement of scrambling over or around them. (I figured out, by playing around and not letting the B*(&(%* computer beat me, that if I save a photo to my desktop it will load from there.) Now I feel triumphant in the face of all adversity!
And that was when I truly believed my mountain was climbable after all, and why I stayed at my desk and started writing this. Really, blogging was only a mountain in my thoughts. In reality it was a titchy little check box on a computer screen and a couple of trackpad swipes. A molehill.
What are you making a mountain in your life? will you take the steps today to turn it into a molehill?