Look for the supporting evidence (because you'll find what you're looking for)
After several months of hibernation, I can’t begin to tell you how good it feels to be above ground, feeling the sunshine on my face and the hope for what lies ahead.
If your experience has been anything like mine, you’ve probably had a bit of a rough go these past few months. And that’s an understatement. Up until a few weeks ago, these were some of the phrases you could find in my journal . . .
“It’s been a tough-ish week post-holidays. I definitely went down a scarcity spiral worrying about money.”
“I feel like I’m not in the energy of taking my business seriously and thriving.”
“It’s hard to plan or imagine anything right now.”
“I feel like all is chaos and I’m being pulled in so many directions and that I could go forward in all of them.”
“I’m tired of trying to keep things afloat [in those relationships].”
“I do feel like I’m hiding/playing small with my audience and the longer I stay away, the harder it feels to return.”
Woof. Even just hearing those played back puts me right back into that stuck space. It felt like all areas of my life were being challenged, from friendships to business to my sense of home to my dating life. And I’ll fully admit that after a while, I fell straight into victim mode.
I know I’m not alone in this because I meet my clients here often. When you’re feeling stuck and stationary, it’s easy to fall into the trap of discouragement, not knowing if or when you’re going to emerge from this uncomfortable hole you’re in. Logically, you know that you won’t stay here forever, but emotionally, it can feel like an eternity. You know that you’re learning and growing through your discomfort and creating the capacity to receive what lies ahead, but you can’t help but feel like it shouldn’t have to be this hard.
Even if we’ve not yet “arrived” to where we’re going, it sure as hell feels a whole lot better to be moving than it does to be standing still, right? So in these seasons of stuck, what we need is a reminder of our momentum.
One of my favorite exercises I use with clients is to challenge them to create an evidence log, where they keep track of the moments that often go missed by our very own eyes.
What they keep track of may differ depending on their situation and what they most need reminded of, but generally speaking, it’s a place where they can look back and see the many ways they are in control, the many ways they are showing up the way they had hoped, the many ways they are experiencing joy, fulfillment, and/or success.
An evidence log can look however you want it to look. I’ve had clients update spreadsheets, log their wins in their journals, or keep a running note on their phones. The how doesn’t so much matter so much as its ease to update and ability to review.
Clients have used their evidence logs to gain confidence before a performance review at work, to quiet their inner critics’ voices around their own abilities, and to find steady ground during a period of uncertainty. They’ve used them for small moments of celebration and gratitude.
The point of an evidence log is this: You find what you’re looking for.
So if you’re looking for evidence of how things aren’t working out for you, you’re going to find it; I guarantee that.
But, the inverse is just as true. If you look for evidence of how things are going well for you, you’re going to find it. It’s kind of magical, too; the more you notice it, the more you cultivate it.
I took my own coaching guidance and journaled the many ways I have been actively showing up for myself amid the challenges I was experiencing and the list was long. Here was my revelation:
“I have always been able to count on and trust myself to take care of me. And I’m doing and being so much that is good for me right now.
When am I going to let go of this victim mentality and embrace being content and in progress?
Can I trust that it’s safe to feel good?
Can I trust that the right people will support me both in times of good and in times of challenge?”
I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that within a week or two of leaning into this self-trust, things finally started to turn around. Simply put, I feel better. I feel more connected, productive, and purposeful than I have in a long time.
Of course, we could totally chalk it all up to the beautiful weather that finally broke out here in Pittsburgh last week (and I am a firm believer in sunshine and warmth making all things new), but truthfully, I think this shift occurred through:
Acknowledging and accepting the very real pain I had been experiencing
Gathering the many ways I’ve already been showing up for myself and thereby releasing the need to do more
Noticing and celebrating the small wins going on all around me
Sometimes, we’re asked to be in seasons of discomfort and uncertainty, but our stillness doesn’t mean we’re not going anywhere. Look for evidence of how this season is working for you and you will find it, little by little.