Our daughter left us for another country. A couple years ago, she decided she wanted to do her Masters degree in the Netherlands after traveling there for 3 weeks with her school. In June of this year she went there and started courses. It is an amazing opportunity for her to travel, to experience life elsewhere, learn a new language, be immersed in a culture that is different and to live life abundantly.
She is so lucky. Nooooo…. She worked really hard to get there. Getting her bachelors degree aside, there was a lot of prep work involved. Not only did she sell most of her worldly possessions, she had massive amounts of paperwork to get done. There was insurance, and a student visa and banking and government papers to fill out. Regular stuff that is needed, but a lot of work and a lot of not knowing if it is right, or if it will be accepted. The not knowing is often the hardest part. That and the not wanting to mess it up when you are not knowing exactly what is being asked. There was a point of despair when she said, “This is so hard”.
That feeling of “This is so hard” is really common. We have faced it in our real estate investing journey. Despite immersing in learning while doing our first flip and despite taking some courses, there are so many things that are moving parts. Getting a mortgage is not fun, especially for those who are not strong in paperwork. I have found it does get easier, but it takes time and practice and that is where it is hard. I wrote about our struggles in growing in new areas a couple months ago in this post. There are days that seem so hard and the burden heavy and mindset practices become more essential than ever.
Mindset practices are just that, practices. Practice is something you do before the big game. When we are learning a sport or playing on a team we practice, we do drills, we make shots, we might do some other exercises to build muscle to enhance our skills. We do all those things in preparation for the game. The practice is to learn and grow so that the skills are present when needed in the game. Still, practice is a perfect setting for practice but practice also happens in the game where there are different opponents and situations that don’t happen in practice.
Athletes also practice mindset. What happens in my mind when I do a bad throw, strike out, miss saving the goal? What happens when I do something wrong and I lose the championship game? Or what happens if my mistake causes a setback in the game that could cause a loss; what happens in my mind while I am still playing?
The practice of mindset helps get us back and keep on track. If we can’t shake it off, it can cause worse damage. If a person struggles with mindset on the field it can look like they have given up, when in reality they are in their head and not able to preform the acquired skills. This makes mindset practice as essential as learning skills.
The same holds true with life and business challenges. There are things that many people will not do because they are hard, complicated, too much work, feel impossible. There are things (dreams) people will give up on when the going gets tough or beforehand. It isn’t easy to do the hard things. The stress can feel insurmountable at times. The mindset practices along with support from others helped us over the last month to enjoy the great moments we had with family and friends.
Our daughter was not scheduled to come home this holiday; the plan was for her to visit next December. In November my sister invited me for lunch on a day in mid December. I showed up for lunch and my daughter was there. It was an amazing surprise. It was so wonderful to spend time with her during our stressful time and be there when she surprised others. She left a couple weeks later and will continue to do her hard work there while we do ours here.
Back when she called me that day in the spring, while doing the things she needed to do, to get where she wanted to be, and she said, “This is so hard”, I encouraged her, as mothers do. I told her, “That’s what makes you great. Other people will think you are lucky, they will wish they could do it too, but they won’t do it because it will be too hard. That’s what sets you apart, you are doing it anyway. It’s what makes you great.” (As her mom, I think there are lots of things that make her great.)
Since that conversation, it has popped into my head on various occasions when I have been struggling. There is a thing about taking one’s own encouragement (or advice); so easy to see what others need, so hard to give to oneself and receive. I have been encouraged by my own words, the words I spoke to her, as I have struggled with the challenges I have been working on. The mindset practice has been serving me in this game of life over the last while.
I leave you with this thought. When you have a goal, a dream, something you are working toward, it will get difficult, it will feel really hard, it will cause stress. That’s when mindset practices are actually practiced. Those are the times that other people won’t go through. Those are the times and things that make you great.