Sometimes we are so deep in it that we don’t realize how much progress we’ve actually made. Let me give you an example as recounted by a friend. This past weekend she witnessed a master-class dialogue between her husband and daughter. To say that her daughter has had a challenging year would be an understatement. She’s struggled with her health and with school. Each time my friend and her husband tried to raise the topic with their daughter, she shut them out and became intractable.
Fast forward six months. They were sitting outside, enjoying the beautiful weather as a family, when her husband broached the subject with their daughter. He began the conversation by pointing out the huge leaps forward that she had made. The fact that she has been actively attending to her health. The fact that she is working to engage with her parents more. And, her efforts to help out around the house. He asked her if she recognized the progress.
Their daughter’s response was to immediately look at how far she had left to go. She spoke of not being where she wanted to be with her coursework and not being more independent. Her father gently reminded her that both can be true. She can have come a very long way and still have a way to go. The benefit of pausing every now and again to appreciate our progress is that it can give us the surge of momentum we need to be able to keep moving forward.
Through this conversation, he was able to help his daughter put her efforts into perspective. And, in doing so, was also able to help her gain the confidence that she could continue to make progress toward her goals. After all, look at what she’d already accomplished! With that context, they were able to speak candidly about the gap between where she is now and where she wants to be and to identify viable next steps.
My friend noted that as spectacular as the content of the conversation was, the fact that her husband was able to have this conversation with their daughter…that she was willing to stay engaged…was an incredible testament to how far she has come in such a short amount of time. And, my friend is so grateful that her daughter is beginning to recognize it.