Quotes on the Wall: “It Always Seems Impossible, Until it’s Done”

Several readers, who also know me personally, have commented that I should write about some of the quotes we have hanging on the walls at home. The first one I would like to write about is

It Always Seems Impossible, Until it’s Done

Broken Sleeps

I vividly remember Jacob, our firstborn, 3 years old and still waking up multiple times in the night. There was a patch of time where we were tired, run down and It felt like we would never get a full night’s sleep, never ever again…

We persevered, I mean what choice did we have. Then out of nowhere he slept through for a whole night, then 2, then 7. Before you know it we had a blissful few months of unbroken sleeps.  

Our next boy, Levi, came along shortly after. It felt like we were back to square one again, but this time it was different. We were back to multiple night wake ups, tired and run down, but this time we had the knowledge and experience that at some point it will change and this was just a stage.

A full nights sleep was not impossible, even though it seemed like it at that point.

Why Do I Have This Quote on the Wall?

For me this quote applies to lots of things, not just in parenting, but in life and business:

On a macro scale: starting up, running and selling a business (all 3 major goals on their own) tackling large life goals like buying a house and then aiming for no mortgage. Starting a family, changing habits and routines, packing up and travelling overseas…. you get the picture.

Also on a micro scale: a run, learning a new skill, even a really long plane flight. Writing a blog post when I can’t think of anything, making it to the end of the day when you are tired and have no energy. Getting through a really boring, day long, compulsory, first aid course 🙂

Or, digging an entire house foundation by hand.

Starting and Finishing

Starting something is fun, exciting, exhilarating. You’re full of optimism and enthusiasm. This is when I feel like I am on top of the world and can achieve anything I set mind my to.

The end, I am tired, but can now see how close the finish is, somehow I get an extra burst of energy to carry on.

Crossing the finish line, achieving what I set out to do can sometimes be a let down, not quite what I thought. However there is always a sense of achievement. Accomplishing what you set out to achieve is rewarding and satisfying.

The Middle

For me, the middle part is the hardest. The excitement of the start has worn off, but the end is nowhere in sight.

The middle is a grind

There are two types of “Grind” I find myself in

  • I don’t know what the heck to do next, I’m stuck! I have tried everything and seem to be no closer. I relate this to goals like fixing a business, parenting and changing habits.
  • I have the right approach, but the sheer volume of work required means the end is still miles away. I just have to keep going. I relate this to goals like a really long run, paying off the mortgage and building up investments.

The Powerful Part of the Quote

This is where the words “until it’s done” come into play.

Once you have done it once, or seen it done by others, it’s no longer impossible. It can be done, it has been done. It’s not impossible, you’re just not sure what to do next to achieve that right now.

That’s why it seems impossible

This is important, especially for the first type of Grind, the I’m stuck moments.

Phone a Friend

Actually just phone someone who is doing, or has done, what you seem to be stuck with.

In business I have phoned and asked other local business owners I knew where achieving what I wanted to do. As long as you go about it the right way, they were stoked to be asked and more than happy to pass on their nuggets of wisdom.

In parenting I have asked friends and family, especially ones who have done it before, if their kids did … and how did they deal with it.

Often the advice given does not apply to our situation exactly but it

This has helped me so much on my journey.

Ask Google

Many times as a parent I have typed a specific question into Google like

“How to help a 6 year old boy deal with his anger”

and found not only a wealth of knowledge but also re assurance that I am not the only person in the world that is experiencing this.

Use the internet, ask Google, read blogs and watch youtube videos of people demonstrating or breaking down the skill you grappling with.

The Just Need to Keep Going Part of the Grind

What about the goals where I have the right approach, but the sheer volume of work required means the end is still miles away.

I just have to keep going so I break it down into chunks. I might not be able to see the finish, but I can set a mini goal, a milestone and work towards that.

It’s important to pause and celebrate the little milestones. When we were paying off the mortgage we would celebrate milestones with a dinner out. When on really long runs I reward myself with a quick breather and a chocolate bar.  

These breaks or rewards may seem counterintuitive to what your trying to achieve. You could put that $100 on the mortgage and be that little bit closer. But I have found if you don’t stop and make small celebrations you end up putting the whole journey into the too hard basket and stopping for good.  

Another thing to do is pausing and reflecting on how far you have come.

Back to the Start

So this quote is on the wall, and I would walk past it everyday. Often it’s a blur in the background, but every now and then there is an “aha” moment where this quote is perfect for whatever grind I have found myself in.

It has jumped out and reminded me that it’s not impossible, it just seems that way in my mind right now. It’s motivated me to take another small step in the right direction.

Next time you find yourself stuck in the grind, the middle part…

Tell yourself It’s going to be hard, but you can do it.