Hitting “The Wall” and How to Get Over It!

Taking on a new project, learning a new skill or trying something you’ve never done before often comes with it’s own set of obstacles, which are addressed in the book, 101 Reasons to be Yourself, as well as in the online course, No Regrets 101. What happens when you actually begin something, then ‘hit the wall’ before you finish?

Hitting the wall can be a painful and deflating process that leaves dreams in the dust. You started with enthusiasm, a sense of adventure and maybe even a plan but one day, you just couldn’t carry the project through to completion and gave up. If this happens repeatedly, it can become the biggest obstacle to ever trying again to follow your dreams. Somehow, your subconscious decides that you won’t finish anyway, so why bother trying?

One strategy that I have used to get back into the game is to write out everything that I have accomplished and carried through to completion, whether it was a project of my own or something I did at work for someone else. Then I recall how good it felt to succeed despite the struggles along the way. Reflecting on the times you were ready to throw in the towel and didn’t gives you some insight into your own willpower and what drives you. My personal favorite example is when I developed a series of marketing campaigns for a starter company on no budget and with no direction (and very little support, I might add) that resulted in a 40% per annum increase in sales for the two years I worked for that company. I ended up leaving in exhausted frustration and anger when I was told that it probably would have happened anyway and no, I couldn’t have a raise. If I could accomplish that much in the face of that kind of adversity, I figure that I could do anything. (By the way, sales dropped after I left.)

The following year I became a self-taught singer/songwriter/guitarist and ended up with a band, gigs and recording grants. I used the negative reaction from my previous employers along with my own sense of accomplishment to fuel a passion that carried on for years.

Another strategy is the ‘Perfection Blocker’ technique. Ignore the voice in your head that says you have to do the job perfectly. Just do it. It probably doesn’t have to be perfect on the first try. Writing is a perfect example. I killed my first two novel-writing attempts with ridiculously high expectations and over-editing, but was able to complete, then edit and publish 101 Reasons to be Yourself by going with the flow and saying no to the voice of perfection along the way. Remember that you can edit, revise, restructure or rebuild later. Just get it done. If it is a project like building a house or creating something with expensive materials of course you want to get it right the first time, which leads to the last strategy up for discussion today – knowledge.

If you hit the wall because your project is too hard or you perceive it to be outside of your abilities to complete, then stop what you are doing and learn how to proceed or ask someone who knows to help you. It’s that simple. There is a lot of help and free information in the online and offline world if you take the initiative to look for it.

Finally, getting over the wall might require that you walk away from it for a while, or maybe lean against it with a hot cup of tea or a glass of wine. A case of burnout is not a good reason to give up on something you want to do. A case of burnout is a sign that you need a break. Go on vacation or go out with your friends for the evening. Have a good laugh. Go for a walk. Go for many walks over many days if necessary. Once you do what you need to do in order to regain your joy of living and enthusiasm, completing the project will flow much more easily.

Remember why you started, envision the completion and keep on keepin’ on to live the life of your dreams.