Hang in There!

Who knows what causes two people to not only enjoy one another’s company in the moment, but to remain friends and stay connected through the years?

I have a dear friend that I met years ago when she and I were going through the Hudson Institute Coaching Certification program in Santa Barbara, California.

When we met, Cheryl and I were both in senior HR roles, she at a bank and me in corporate America. Today, we are both in full-time coaching/consulting roles so I guess Hudson Institute did its job!  Thank you, Pam and Toni McLean and the rest of the Hudson team!

I remember telling Cheryl after I got to know her and see her in action that she was a natural coach. Cheryl was a beaming example of the coach I wanted to be: her style; her demeanor; her asking vs telling coaching; and her genuine caring for the client.  What a great role model.

While I was still in my corporate role and beginning to expand into the next best version of myself, Cheryl was my lifeline. I can remember pulling over to the side of the road on my way to speak to a large group of people and dialing Cheryl. The questions came tumbling out:  What am I doing, I already have a great job. What do I have to say that others will listen to and find of value? What if I flub up or freeze while on stage?

Good friends are those who take your calls even when it isn’t convenient.

They are the ones you turn to when your inner voice questions what you are doing or even worse, tells you that you can’t do it. That’s Cheryl for me.

Yes, I hung in there and made it through that day with flying colors and many other days since then as I’ve faced my fears, challenged myself, leaned into discomfort and ultimately made friends and embraced the world outside my comfort zone.

I think another thing Cheryl and I have in common is that we are both life-long learners, yet in different ways. She is a class taker, seminar attender, and podcast listener, while my preferred learning is reading.

The last time we spoke Cheryl was telling me about a webinar that she had just participated in. She said her first reactions were “been here, heard this before.” However, she told herself that she had already paid her money so suck it up and keep listening.  So… she did.

She ended up taking away two great things that day. The first was a coaching concept but the second and most important was the concept of just, “Hang in There.” By not giving in to her impatience and trusting that she was where she was supposed to be, she hung in there which helped take her to the next best version of herself.

We stand at a crossroad each day of our life

One road is called Opportunity Missed and the other is Opportunity Taken.

Experience has taught me that we are capable of so much more than we can even imagine. Does that mean that it’s easy? Does that mean that we’ll get it right the first time? No, it doesn’t.

How many times do we give up too soon without even realizing that good things or success may be just around the corner? How many times have we listened to our own voice or the voice of a Debbie Doubter and just quit?

We face challenges every day. Being told to hang in there or telling someone to hang in there is encouragement to keep trying to do something and not to give up… even if it’s hard.

When a reporter asked Thomas Edison how it felt to fail 1,000 times. Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps. Great success is built on failure, frustration, even catastrophe.”

What did Edison do? He hung in there. I’ll bet he doubted himself. I’ll bet there were times he may have wanted to quit… but he didn’t!

It’s essential that we shift our thinking and realize that everything we do is part of our journey …a journey that is preparing us for who we will become, what we will be doing, and where we will go next.

Even when we make that mental shift, perhaps the bigger challenge is to lean in … to take a breath, and enjoy every step of the journey (including the hard parts).

Ruth Rooney, author and friend shares in her book, Heartitude Works, that “Resilience is not for the faint of heart” and quotes Confucius, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Ruth goes on to say that “two steps forward and one step back is still one step forward.”

I for one, know and appreciate how having a great friend or two to listen, cheer you on and help you get up when you fall can make the journey easier, more enjoyable and heighten your probability of success. I bet you do too!

I encourage you to be the one today and every day that lifts others up.

Who is that person for you?  Who are you that person for?  I’d love to hear your “Hang in There” story.  Until we meet again, Hang in There!

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  1. Juris Bunkis, MD

    Thanks, Joan – another great job!

    Merry Christmas from Deb & I,


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