It happens to all of us. Those hard-hitting, sometimes out of nowhere, rock-bottom moments that literally bring us to our knees.
Trust me, I have had plenty of these throughout my lifetime.
They have become what I call: defining moments. As these particular moments are the portals that open up and ask me to look in the mirror in order to be really honest with myself.
These rock-bottom, or defining moments, often are or become the catalysts for seismic level quantum shifts and massive growth.
When they hit, sometimes, it can be easy to lose sight of that.
I had found over my years of experience, that the rock-bottom moments tend to hit harder as I continue to go deeper in my healing and maturity as I navigate my own Soul Curriculum. I had a mentor of mine once offer a perspective I felt truly summed up it well. She told me:
The reason the hits feel harder, and like the bottom drops out even more, is because the gap becomes wider. Meaning, that your baseline remains the same. but the trajectory of your growth has expanded. Thus the gap is wider. So, the fall back to base is deeper and harder as there now is more space to cover.
As we continue to grow and expand in our own leadership, where we started from doesn’t change. For it is the foundational framework, with all it’s conditioning, programming, trauma, and limiting narratives, in which we begin our journey, or quest, back home to ourselves.
However, depending on our level of commitment, and the actual work we choose to do, in our own self-exploration and learning curve, the gap in between where we fundamentally started and where we currently are can become quite massive. And, can feel like we are taking an even bigger hit.
I recently got to experience this gap once again.
The beginning of this year has been challenging. With several personal things all happening at once, along with shifts in the economy, world events, and more, my business has gone through several shifts. Some have been incredible, others have been a bit debilitating, to say the least.
In addition, I feel like this year has challenged me to take a giant leap, once again, out of my own comfort zone. It’s asking for a huge 10X shift, and with that I have experienced somewhat of a daily existential crisis in rediscovering who I am and what’s wanting to come through for my next.
Perhaps, you can relate.
I have heard from many of my colleagues in the transformational leadership, coaching, and training space, along with my clients, that there has been an interesting energy and prompting from the Universe to reevaluate, reassess, and reset … as well as let go of our previous identities.
Part of this energy is due to the intense eclipse energy of the past two years, as well as the residual, collateral “damage” from the pandemic. Both have been guided us to deeper self-evaluation. And, they have been asking us to take a look inside to connect back to something more meaningful.
As leaders, this is part of our walk, our journey in understanding the wisdom we are here to uniquely share with the world.
For it’s in these rock-bottom, or defining moments, that we get to take inventory and recognize our individual role in the overall Cosmic Plan.
Now, it sure doesn’t feel that opening and expansive when we are knee-deep in the energy of it, or are unable to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
We often feel stuck, lost, confused, and deeply frustrated.
The shame storm kicks in, along with imposter syndrome, and our need to self-deprecate. We look at everything we are doing (or have done) as being wrong or that we failed. We judge ourselves, compare ourselves against others, and we convince ourselves that we are not worthy, or not enough.
We falter. We lose momentum. And, we get stuck.
We fail to understand that this moment (or moments) are designed for us. That what is happening is part of our journey. Because in the actual moment, I mean c’mon … let’s be honest … it just plain sucks.
So, what can you do when the rock-bottom moment sideswipes you, and takes you out at the knees?
Let’s explore some options, opportunities, and possibilities to lean in versus shut down in those moments:
Be with it … all of it
Easier said than done, I know. Yet, when we allow ourselves to feel the suck, and to explore the fullness of the emotions and feelings that show up, we give ourselves permission to stay open and curious.
We can begin to ask ourselves more freedom-focused questions, such as:
- Does what I am doing still light me up?
- Is this feeling that is showing up trying to teach me something?
- Am I afraid of success (this is more the case than failure)?
- Do I need to rest and restore in order to get ready for my next level?
- Do I need to alter the way I am going about this?
When we take pause, or even stop completely, to check in, we might be surprised of the answers that want to come through. Too often, we lose momentum because what once used to light us up now, instead, has become something we are shoulding all over ourselves.
Other times, we are so busy being busy and trying to hustle that we lost sight of the fact that we often need to slow down to speed up. Even when we look at people’s individual Human Design charts, we see that no matter what Type you are, and how you are wired, we all need space for rest.
Take Generators and Manifesting Generators (combined these two Types make up 70% of the population) for instance.
When frustration shows up (the signal, or emotional themes, for those with a defined Sacral Center), it tends to signify one of three things … an it’s always an opportunity to check in and listen to your own truth.
Because Generator Types have an incremental, stair-step way in which they are here to learn, plateaus are natural and will occur. These plateaus are a place to catch your breath, so to speak. More times than not, this is a signal to reset, restore, recharge, and prepare yourself for the next climb.
It’s the epitome of “what got you here, won’t get you there.” You’ve mastered a summit, and now need to refuel to climb the next level. It’s like a game of Tetris, with levels of greater difficulty. In order to master the next level, you need to have space to prepare yourself for the challenges that lies ahead.
Another message that comes through when frustration shows up is that when you check in with yourself, you might find you no longer are lit up and passionate about the thing you are driving towards. This allows space to pivot and make new, and better, decisions for you.
Not everything you say “yes” to that felt correct or right in that moment has staying power. Meaning you don’t have to follow through on everything you start. This is especially true for Manifesting Generators. Sometimes, you only need to climb a summit or two to capture the lesson or skills you need to make a new, and more expansive, decision. It’s okay to pivot.
The rock-bottom moment occurs many times because we let the frustration build up and keep trying to “push” through, thus creating greater resistance. At some point, there needs to be a release. Hence, the rock-bottom, hard stop, moment that shows up.
I like to also call these: “Universal 2x4's” … as, I know for me, sometimes it takes a “sucker punch” from the Universe to slow me down. And, it’s only in the slowdown, or the complete stop, that we can listen and hear our truth.
This gives us space, not only to rest and catch our breath to prepare for what’s coming, it also lends us room to evaluate whether we still are on the right track for us at this point in time.
We can ask: Does this still feel right or correct for me?
If the answer is “yes,” then it might mean how we are going about the thing needs to change. Sometimes we get stuck because we are on the hamster wheel of insanity. We keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting and demanding a different result.
What we fail to remember is we are not the same person we were when we started down this path. As we grow and evolve, we learn new (and better, more efficient and productive) ways to do something. We are given, and need to take, an opportunity to apply knowledge we gain along the way.
Therefore, we need to pause so that we can apply said knowledge. We can refigure the how. Effectively, when we do this, we give ourselves back the freedom of time, and often the freedom of purpose, as well.
Be gentle with yourself
One of the main objectives in life is to learn. Failure is actually our superpower, as it means we are stretching ourselves beyond our current limitations. We don’t grow in what we know, but in what we allow ourselves to experiment and play with, often getting messy in the process.
Real growth comes from challenging ourselves past our comfort zone.
It means we need to fail in order to see what doesn’t work, or to understand where our current ceiling of capabilities exists.
Failure shows us the gaps. It illustrates our biggest opportunities.
For instance, say you are trying to get from Point A to Point B. Yet, as you embark upon the journey to get there, you fail. This is a powerful gift. You now can look at the trajectory between the two points to see what you are missing: the right coordinates or the right vehicle, for starters.
Maybe you need to acquire a new skill set, or you need to collaborate with someone else. Perhaps, you need a different equation to solve the problem altogether (as there are more ways to get to 2 than simply 1+1), or you need to ask different questions. Maybe the problem hasn’t been fully vetted out, and instead of finding the root, you still are swimming at the surface.
Whatever it might be, failure is a portal, an open door, to step through to assess, question, explore, and test out different things. When we embrace failure for the magic it provides us, we then create space for curiosity, creativity, innovation, and play.
We need to be gentle with ourselves in the process. When you fail at something, you yourself are not a failure. It’s the process of the thing that failed or didn’t meet the expectations we set. It’s is not a character defect.
How you handle failure is a function of your character.
By giving yourself, what I call: “space and grace,” you learn to be gentle with yourself as you learn. You demonstrate the qualities of kindness, compassion, empathy, and grace for yourself. This is the ultimate form of self-love, and it’s how you lead yourself first.
We are meant to be resilient. For it’s in accessing that resiliency that we stretch, grow, and evolve. Most of us are nowhere near accessing the fullness of the hidden potential that lies within us, thus not fully realizing the magnitude of what we are truly capable of.
It’s reminding ourselves that we are still children who are learning. Think about how you support a child when they are first learning to walk or ride a bike. We need to extend that same space and grace to ourselves, as well.
Reflect and journal
Find a way that works for you to keep track of your journey, especially your rock-bottom moments. For these moments truly do define you. As you learn, expand, and grow, document those shifts.
Many times where you started in the beginning of the rock-bottom moment and where you end up on the other side are seismic shifts apart. The path is usually not a linear one, but one of a massive quantum leap.
One of the things I try to remember when I feel like the Universe just cracked me upside the head with a universal 2x4 is to reflect back on previous rock-bottom moments and the trajectory of where they led me, and where I eventually ended up, as a result.
These are true 10X moments for me.
And, I would wager, they likely have been 10X moments for you, too.
We so often get stuck in the mire of our current reality. We keep ourselves limited in our own potential as we think our present dictates our future. And, when we do look back, we think our past is indicative of what we are truly capable of and our highest potential.
Instead, as Dr. Benjamin Hardy shares in his work with Dan Sullivan, we have the opportunity to reframe that thinking. Meaning instead of keeping ourselves stuck in making the present a function of our past, thus believing it is what outlines our future, we need to flip the script.
Let the present moment give meaning to the past.
When we do this, everything becomes part of our learning and growth. We move out of victim consciousness, as a result. Then, when we start to envision our future self (the 10X version), we start to make better decisions in the now to help align and move us towards that.
I firmly believe that our rock-bottom moments show up to slow us down enough to remember that. These moments might last for a few hours or days, or even weeks or months. The amount of time is irrelevant, it’s what we do with the time that matters.
Sit with what’s moving and showing up. Reflect, journal, and create space for contemplation. Look at past patterns. Redefine and reframe your past. Acknowledge the road you have traveled, and assess all that you have learned, achieved, and been able to share with the world up to this point.
Brag Sheet & Smile File
I also am a big fan of having tools and strategies to keep you from spiraling down a slippery slope when rock-bottom moments hit. I have two things I keep close by when I am feeling like either imposter syndrome has take over or just like I got sucker punched and taken out of the game:
- Brag Sheet — this is a running list of accomplishments, milestones, and ways I have invested in myself over the course of my life. It includes everything from degrees, to certifications, highlights, achievements, awards, recognition, and the toolkit of tools, resources, and frameworks I have created myself. In it, I also have a waterfall map of all the ways I have invested in myself to get me this far.
- Smile File — I have two of these. One is electronic and saved on my laptop, the other is a physical box on my desk. These “files” includes the gratitude, testimonials, and love given to me on behalf of my work, and the way I have showed up in the world. In my box on my desk are cards and letters from around the world (my favorite pieces are the hand-drawn cards from the kids I have had the honor of interacting with over the years). Online, I have a folder for all the testimonials, reviews, and comments highlighting how my work has impacted others.
Both of these provide me a source of grounding when my Monkey Mind takes over. When I am feeling at my lowest, I will open one or both of these resources and let the words and love pour over me.
I encourage my clients to create their own Brag Sheets and Smile Files, too.
We all need a remember of who we are, how we are showing up in the world, and the impact we are creating in our service to others. It allows us to tap into our own humanity, our light, and our gifts.
Stay curious and play
I can not stress the value of play enough. As someone who found herself winding and grinding, burning and churning, and hustling at all costs (that cost being I ended up in the hospital with what I thought was a heart attack nearly 15 years ago), I know firsthand what happens when we forget to play.
Play keeps us open.
It allows us to attract in what truly lights us up (which by the way is our purpose in life … do that which lights you up and follow your own path of bliss). Play keeps us fluid and nimble, and it keeps us young.
Let your inner child have a seat at the table.
Promote a sense of wonder and awe within yourself, and with your family, teams, organizations, and communities. Let life be a laboratory to test things out, to experiment. Allow yourself room to get messy.
For, it’s only in showing up in the rock-bottom moments themselves that we can fully extract the magic they have to offer us. Everything, and I really do mean everything, happens for us. It’s only when we allow ourselves to be open and receptive of that that we open up access for so much more.