Are You In A Hole? Step One: Stop Digging

How to start moving after being stuck in a rut.

Put the Shovel Down!

Have greater success with removing what isn’t working in your life

I once got a call from a very nice lady, she was distraught, she was in a hole about waist deep and she desperately wanted to get out of the hole. This sounded awful so I went to go see her immediately to see if I could help her get out of this hole. I found her and it was worse than she had described the hole was even deeper, her eyes were barely visible and she was sobbing. “What do I do?” She implored, worried and upset about what would happen when she couldn’t even SEE out of the hole anymore. And I replied “Put the shovel down and stop digging.”

This story didn’t actually happen with a physical hole but it has happened with people feeling really overwhelmed by their lives, by their stuff, by their to-do list and by their negative thoughts.

The very first thing to do is to put the shovel down, to stop digging.

This sounds obvious, like most good advice, but it isn’t because we become blind to our own shovels.

Your shovel might look like…

  • using a credit card that has a revolving balance that you really want to pay off. You need to stop putting things on credit. Put the shovel down.
  • buying more shirts even though you literally can not close the dresser drawer containing the shirts you have. Eliminate to make room for what you want most.
  • eating the donut even though you are looking to remove all sugar from your diet on a mystical day you refer to as: Tomorrow.
  • saying yes to another meeting next week even though you’re overcommitted and not sleeping well already.
  • another negative comment in the mirror as you leave the house for work.

Did you just have a moment where you realized you had a tight grip on a shovel or two and didn’t even realize it?

Me too. That’s the wonderful thing about being human, we’re always learning lessons and the most important ones keep coming up until we get it right.

Should you go on an addition break while we’re doing our Subtraction Project? Only you know how big the hole is with the “stuff” you’re dealing with but I will tell you that your awareness alone will shift the VOLUME of stuff you bring in and that while your physical energy is being spent removing what doesn’t work you’ll be much more discerning about what you do bring in.

I would encourage you to make the following commitment during our March Subtraction:

  • Wait 3 days to add something. Practice patience with what you desire and trust that if you want something today that it will be available for you in 3 days (or in 30 days). Whenever I’ve made this intention I’ve found that not only is the original thing still available I’ve found something EVEN BETTER in that space of wait.
  • Don’t add things that you’re subtracting. Let’s say that you’re dealing with a container explosion — don’t ADD more containers — seek the usefulness in what you have.
  • No settling. Anything that you add in this month needs to be for the LONG haul. A good question to ask yourself is if you were to move across the country would this get careful packed? If not, don’t add it in this next month.

Originally published at

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