If you are in a hole, feeling acutely down and at a loss of meaning, it is probably not helpful to reflect on your purpose, engage in positive visualization, or write in a gratitude journal. A better bet is to accept what is happening in a non judgmental manner, practice self-compassion, and reach out for help. If, on the other hand, everything is clicking and you are on a roll, leaning into your purpose (or other sources of motivation) and being actively grateful for your lot is a pretty good idea.
Many of the concepts used for performance and well-being are like tools. They are only powerful when applied in the right circumstances:
- Developing a big and diverse toolkit helps.
- Having the self-awareness to see clearly and know where you are right now; and then understanding what tools are most likely to work helps.
Another way to think about it: Level one is knowing some tools. Level two is knowing a lot of tools and how to use them. Level three is knowing how to use a lot of tools and when to use them. Level one and level two you can learn predominantly from others. Level three you got to learn from experience. It is the wisdom level, and it is constantly changing as you and your situation are.
As you keep learning and practicing tools for performance and wellbeing you may find that some seem at odds with each other. For example: going it alone versus asking for help; self-discipline versus self-compassion; and reflecting on your purpose versus showing up and getting through even if it feels meaningless. Yet these seemingly contradictory tools are actually complementary. They are yin and yang. Two sides of the same coin. The coin? You. The sides? When things are going well and clicking; and when you are stuck and in a hole.