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When Something Feels Too Big for You, What To Do. (Facing Challenges)

When Something Feels Too Big for You, What To Do. (Facing Challenges)

When you hear someone take on a big challenge or make a big investment in their business, does this kind of thought come to mind?

That is too big for little ol’ me.”

Hate to break it to you… but if that’s what comes to mind, then you’re exactly the person who needs to take on a challenge. Maybe not a huge one but something to stretch those muscles.

Your shrinking habit will get worse over time if you don’t stretch against those limits. Your fears will get louder. Yuck.

I’m not saying go quit your job tomorrow without a plan, or take a huge leap you haven’t prepared for. I mean, find that stretching edge that has a gulp feeling. That’s where growth lives.

I’m telling myself this as much as you, because I’m at one of those moments in my business where I need to take a brave step and the “too big” voice is creeping in. So here’s encouragement and a free “worksheet” to help:

Big Gulp Learning Experience

When I was 18, I was totally buying into staying safe and invisible. I didn’t know there was an alternative. I was being a good little wallflower, assuming being a good girl was enough to get somewhere. Nope.

One day I was at a gathering where this popular basketball jock was speaking about this wilderness trek he did for a week in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I whispered to my equally shy friend, Kelli, that I would never do something like that and she colluded in my small thinking… at first.

But then the speaker said, “If you’re sitting there thinking this challenge is not for you, you’re exactly who needs to go.”

Kelli and I turned to each other and said “Uh oh.”

I took a gulp. We both decided it was time to take a stand. We signed up. This was one case where doing what we were told actually served us well.

We trained all summer. Let’s just say, this is not what we normally did, being good TV-watching American kids. (Plus we were “good girls” in the Southern U.S., so being athletic wasn’t a visible option for us at that time.)

In August, it was time to head out on the wilderness trek. We did it, despite the fear. We impressed some of the athletes on the trip! Not because we led the way, no. But because we showed so much stamina through our hard moments.

There were lots of tears, from the physical pain and the altitude sickness. But our hearts were singing. I mean, you just can’t feel bad when you’re surrounded by endless views beyond what we’d ever imagined. (I had rarely seen a hill before that, having grown up on the Gulf Coast.)

Mainly our hearts were happy because we were stretching and reaching something NEW. Something we hadn’t seen in ourselves before. It felt amazing! It was a spiritual awakening.

We Have To Do Something We’ve Never Done

That hiking trip was one of the biggest turning points of my life. Plenty of big stuff has happened before and since, but that was when I learned how to fully live and face whatever comes with courage. Along with a few tears when necessary.

I hadn’t fully understood this concept of challenging myself in order to grow, until that trip. Sometimes I have to remind myself to keep taking those challenges. The inertia of staying still is so compelling.

Later in life I heard this perfect way of describing it, from a very joyful woman who had completely turned her life around while living with a life-threatening illness:

If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”

Suggested Exercise for Facing a Fear

Now that I’ve written all that, it is helping me find the courage to go bigger. I can always ask for help just like I did for that challenge. My fear is not gone but courage is now in the game with me too.

Now it’s your turn to find your courage to step forward into new territory.  This simple exercise will help. Answer these questions for yourself:

  1. What’s an exciting step that is feeling “too big” for you right now? Write the situation and how you feel about it.
  2. Name a time you took on a good challenge and had good results. How did you feel about it afterwards?
  3. Now with the satisfaction of the above success in mind, now reconsider the current “too big” challenge. Tap into your heart, not just your head, and see what guidance comes to you.
  4. What’s a small but courageous step you could take towards that big idea? (Such as call someone to learn more.) – TIP: Starting small is important. Freaking yourself out is not helpful.
  5. Will you now set an intention to take that step? Write down your intention starting with “I intend to _______.” Tell at least one person. Both the writing it down and the telling will give you more courage. Try it.

Remember life is an experiment. It’s about trying something new and learning from it.

I share tips and exercises like this to help you grow and stretch. Subscribe here for notifications.

If It Still Feels Too Big…

If something is feeling too hard, it might mean it’s time to pause and consider either a smaller step, or consider whether it’s truly what you want.

When it’s something I want but still feel stuck, I believe it means it’s time to ask for help.

I’ve got more suggestions in the related posts below.


Share your story or comments in the comments area below. Thanks!

Picture of Val Nelson

Val Nelson

I’ve been a self-employed career/business/purpose coach since 2009. I help introverts and HSPs (like me) who want to make a difference — in a way that fits our practical needs too.
Val Nelson | Coaching | Groups | Courses | Newsletter | LinkedIn

I appreciate feedback, good and bad. You can comment below or email.

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2 thoughts on “When Something Feels Too Big for You, What To Do. (Facing Challenges)”

  1. I just wanted to say hi! Margaret Brown led me to your blog, and this post helped put some things in perspective for me. Thank you!

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