When Hard Work Fails…Do This

I was raised to believe that if you work hard, you get what you want. If you’re not getting what you want, work harder. If you still aren’t getting what you want, dig deep – work harder, longer, faster.

As much as I believe in the joy we feel when working towards meaningful goals, I wish I was taught the other side of the “work hard” lesson: the importance of reevaluating your goals when you’re working hard, not getting the results you want, and feeling shame, blame and pain.

Take, for example, what I’m dealing with right now. My beautiful wife, Parisa, and I have been trying to have a baby for more than two years. There have been sky-high expectations followed by soul-crushing disappointments. We regroup, we refocus, we “work harder” (making a baby isn’t all fun and games!) but still… no baby.

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Shame and blame move in fast when you’re “between trapezes;” flying from one goal to a bigger one but still reaching out for support, safety and yes — success.

Chris Parisa Shelton wedding All is WellOur no-baby mystery was robbing Parisa and me of what we cherish the most; joy and love. When we married November 11th, 2011, our wedding banner read, “All is well” because everything was; we shared the same values, concerns, hopes and dreams. Both of us believed “hard work pays off” and for the most part, our hard work paid out in professional and personal rewards. We were happy and shared that happiness with others.

But working hard can only accomplish so much when you’re dealing with life’s big questions and challenges. How can I support those I love? How can I be brave when I’m frightened? How can I access my joy when I’m not getting what I want?

Every day I wonder how I can transform a childish expectation that “hard work pays off” into a wise, peaceful acceptance that life’s delays are not life’s denials.

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I’ve come to realize, as has Parisa, that how we’ve been living, “working hard,” was not an ideal environment for a baby. We want to be calm and settled; relaxed and secure.

Today both of us are still working hard but this time from within. We’re not moving faster but moving mindfully as we create softer, more tender, peaceful lives. I am learning how to set boundaries, say no and say yes.

But above all else I have come to see the Universe as a benevolent, kind and patient mother who only wants, and sends, the very best our way. No hard work required. And the pay off? Joy, hope, faith and love.

May you find peace and balance today.


-Chris Shelton

{Image credit: Pixabay}


About the Author

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Chris Shelton is a certified practitioner and teacher with 15 years of clinical experience in Qigong, an ancient holistic health modality that combines traditional Chinese medicine with movement, breath and visualization. He’s helped thousands of people across the United States and around the world reclaim their health and enjoy lives free from chronic pain. Chris has worked with Special Olympics teams, professional martial artists, weight lifters and celebrities looking for deeper meaning in their lives. Chris’ belief in the healing powers of Qigong is rooted in first-hand experience. As a teenager he suffered from a devastating back injury that left him in constant pain and partially paralyzed. He attributes his full recovery to Qigong, a holistic approach perfect for people who want non-invasive, affordable and empowering healthcare.Chris’ work has appeared in newspapers and magazines and been featured on radio and television. He is founder of Morning Crane Healing Arts Center in San Jose, California, and the author of Qigong for Self-Refinement. Chris is often found chasing after his favorite herd of turtles: his wife, four kids and one grandkid. His second book, Ancient Medicine, Modern Miracles: Tools for Healing, Eliminating and Preventing Disease, is currently being read by publishers.

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