Are you being Sandpapered?
Whenever I am talking to someone who is indicating that they are ready to quit something, I always ask the following, “Are You Being Sandpapered?” In order for a piece of wood to become something beautiful like a table or door, the wood must be sandpapered. The process of sandpapering the wood is difficult, it feels awful, it takes forever, and it is exhausting. Without it, you don’t get a finished product. Without sandpaper, the wood never becomes what it was intended to be.
The same can be said for us humans. Life is the evolution from wood to table. We start in our natural state like the tree and we become a beautiful table only after we are worked on with intention, love, a lot of debate and of course sandpapering. In the moments of life where we are being sandpapered from our natural form, we often feel like we will never reach the other side. Like wood, we splinter, we are in pain, we are impatient with the length of the process and we are exhausted. We are evolving from what we use to be to what we are meant to be next. And yet, I believe that it is in these moments of being sandpapered, that most people quit. The roughness of having your bumps and lines smoothed away is often too much for most. These are the moments that separate those who achieve their dreams from those who don’t. One must evolve towards their dreams, they cannot wake and simply have them. Have you ever wondered why young adults who have been rich all their lives are often lost in the world even though anything they want can be made accessible to them? I fundamentally believe that dreams are the result of hard work and sacrifice and a journey of lessons that evolve us into better people. Having everything you want still doesn’t feel like accomplishing your dreams without the sandpaper process.
Whether you are driving towards specific goals, trying to mend a broken heart or just trying to maintain balanced emotions, you are evolving. Evolution is not inherently a process of beautiful discover or happiness being released from a bottle. Evolution is hard, and your dreams are entirely dependent on your ability to be resilient during the painful process of finding your purpose and living your greatness. Evolution can become the tragic story of a person with all the hopes and dreams that worked hard but quit every time they hit the rough patches of sandpaper. I believe most people quit in the moments before they get everything they had been working for.
We are not going to quit boss tribe. We are going to be intentional about understanding what evolution really means. We are going to stare down the sandpaper moments in our lives and we are going to remember that everything we are meant for is just on the other side of this process to smooth our rough spots.
I can look back into my past and point out every moment of sandpapering. I can share in vivid detail the times I thought I could not move forward. These were the times of self-doubt, self-critic, self-destruction and depression. I have been as bruised by the tough days in my evolution as any person. The only difference between me and others is that I never quit. I take breaks, I revaluate my timing and I full on lose my mind, but I do not quit. I have written down in my wallet all the hardest moments in my life that I have overcome, and I pull that out every time I want to quit. It’s interesting to be intentional about reminding ourselves of all we have already won. It is so easy to believe the current sandpapering is the worst thing we have ever experienced until we remind ourselves of how bad some of the pervious moments have been. I for one will never go through anything as hard as being sixteen and pregnant again. When I remind myself of that and then remind myself of all that I gained from going through that experience, I can live with the current dark times more easily.
So, here is your homework friends.
Write down the 5 most difficult situations of your life. Write down how you felt on the bad days and the emotions you felt during these times. Next, write down what you gained and learned from those difficult experiences. Write down how you have evolved in ways that make you better. I want you to write this one with a pen and paper. I need this one to stick. I need you to recall all that you have overcome in the moments you want to quit.
If you can’t come up with any lessons learned or obvious gains from your worst moments, you my friend have yet to complete the sandpaper process. You have quit emotionally and likely physically right before you became a more evolved version of yourself. If this is the case for you, worry not. At the bottom of your list, I want you to write the following:
I will not let the sandpaper process get the best of me. I will see this through and my dreams are waiting on the other side. I am being prepared for my purpose through the evolution from my natural instincts. If I stay in my natural state, I will not become who I hope to be. I am evolving, and I will not talk myself out of my greatness.