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“Rock bottom became the solid foundation upon which I rebuilt my life” – J.K. Rowling
 Do you ever feel like you’ve hit rock bottom with a project, an idea, or some part of your life?  While I’ve always done my best to keep moving forward when a plan doesn’t go as expected, I definitely admire those who start over after heart-wrenchingly disastrous circumstances.

I’ve started over by moving to different countries, switching careers a few times, and it’s hard.   So when something tragic happens and people start from the bottom – well, those stories inspire me. Turia Pitt is one person who comes to mind, but I’ll save a list of inspirational people for another post.

Having the Self-Confidence To Rebuild

 

 I think that self-confidence is actually a huge part of being able to re-build, no matter where you’re starting from. Perhaps “rock-bottom” is an exaggeration for most of us. Even if you’re starting a little closer to the top than that, you have to believe it for it to be possible.
Sound wishy-washy?
I’ve realized how true this is in a small way this year – through swimming lessons.  Although I had lessons as a child, I was never confident in the water, and it turns out I was more like terrified of the ocean as an adult. It’s been almost a year of private swimming lessons, and turtle-like progress (but I can finally swim!).
In the pool this morning, it hit me – it wasn’t until I felt more confident, until I believed in myself that I started to improve.
Now, how could you believe in yourself so much for most of your life, and have one or two areas of doubt? It happens to me all the time. Really, it’s about believing what seems like an impossibility, is not.  Like me swimming in the ocean without being scared at all, and feeling comfortable with waves washing over me far from the shore.

 

Rebuild the “I’m Not A ______” Mentality

 We often compare ourselves to others without really being fair.  We believe we’re Motivational Monday 62 Comparenot something, and hold on to that. I believed that I was simply not a good swimmer, to use a small example.
  •  If you’re a beginner, of course you won’t be as successful as an expert –  but we compare ourselves to experts
  • We categorize people as “naturally talented” without really exploring how they got there.  Of course, some people do have a talent for something special – but I’m willing to bet if you dig deep down into most success stories, the foundations are not only rock bottom, but rock made of continuous pebbles of spurts of effort.
  • It’s okay to fail.  We fail sometimes, and we need to pick up and keep going . You can be anything you want to be, so don’t give up trying.

3 Strategies To Start Over From Rock Bottom

 Here are three top strategies you can implement to help you start over:
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1. Focus on the Present

Hang on. What about visualizing the future as I’m always talking about?  Or creating a strategy to choose exactly how something turns out, as best as you can?
 Sometimes, I think we need to focus on making the place we’re in right now the best it can be. For example, I was determined to wait until my PhD was over to redecorate my rented apartment. I’d do it on a budget, but still, I’d make it cozier.
Well, it turns out that by making little tweaks now, I can feel so much more at home.  Like painting the walls, or buying a plant. Taking a few hours to make myself more comfortable now has really helped changed the energy in my apartment and make me want to work harder to reach the goals I visualize.
So visualize the future – but don’t forget to work on little pieces of the present!

2. Find 2 People: One Where You Are, And One Ahead

Two people?  Yes, I’m suggesting you search for both a role model, and someone who is more like a peer.  We often have a tendency to compare our situations to other people’s and make wildly unfair comparisons.

When there is only a role model to look at, it can seem that you’re in a place far, far away from them.  Find some colleagues who are in the same place you are, or slightly ahead.  Get together with them and talk – it’ll help you with Step 3 below!

 

3. Create A Rebuilding Plan

Now, before you create a plan, remember this:

Pain is meant to happen.  I was reading this Livestrong article on pain this morning and it got me thinking. Now, I know the article is about accepting physical pain, and learning what your body is telling you. However, I think it applies to emotional pain, too. For example, their idea that pain helps warn us against future pain can apply to feeling distressed, depressed, or stressed after an event, too.

 

 

Well, that means re-building is meant to happen, too 🙂  As difficult as it is when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, know that you can rebuild, too. Think about where you want to be, what your role models and the other person you chose in Step #2 are doing, and know you can do it, too.

 

What are your strategies for re-building? For creating something new when your first idea didn’t work, or something in your life failed?  I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below! 🙂

 

Have a lovely and productive week!

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P.S. Photo fans, the photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took way back in 2015 in the Pyrenees Mountains in Huesca, Spain


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