(Estimated reading time 3 minutes)

This post talks about snow shovelling, but it’s really about finding a way to overcome the self-sabotage that makes something feel overwhelming.

This week we got a ridiculously large amount of snow. For one reason or another, I faced clearing our driveway on my own. It sounds like a small task – it was not. It was so overwhelming I didn’t even want to begin because it looked and felt like an impossible job for one person and a shovel. The self-sabotaging thoughts in my head were as relentless as the waves on the seashore. You can’t do it. You’re not strong enough. Someone should be helping you. You’re not fit enough. Why is this my job anyway? My wrist injury can’t take this. I’m not doing it. It made the shovelling very hard. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard anyway – heavy, wet snow and lots of it – but the thoughts made each load feel like a burden I couldn’t lift – the kind of mental sabotage that had me giving up before I had even begun.

Taking a break to get out from under the resentment that was quickly crushing any thoughts of being able to complete this task, I realized that I was the only one who could do this job on that day. Necessity had me taking a deep breath and looking for a new perspective – my current one was not helping me in any way.

I told myself the physical challenge was just a training exercise to develop the mental endurance I would need this year. With each muscle-burn and every ache, I said to myself that despite feeling weak and inadequate I had what it takes to do the job. I reminded myself I was stronger than I thought and that the endurance I needed to push through this physical task was just a small amount of the perseverance I would need to develop to move from where I am currently to where I want to be this year.

My new perspective gave me the motivation I needed to finish the job. I knew that changing my thoughts would help; I was surprised by how much it did. I realized that the power is not in the moment itself, only in the interpretation of the moment. When we rank life’s challenges shovelling snow is low on the list, but the self-sabotaging voices remain the same whatever the situation we face.

You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength. Marcus Aurelius

Here’s to living with clarity, courage, compassion and confidence!

Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash


  1. Sue,
    I connect with loved ones each morning to hopefully help them to realize their self value and encourage them in their journey. At times I use words from your writings. Thank-you for me and thank-you for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Sue:

    I recall vividly the “ridiculously large amount of snow” that you so wistfully refer to.
    And although I cannot claim to have possessed a wrist injury at the time…..
    I can tell you this:
    It took a while to shovel the length and breadth of our driveway and sidewalk…..
    Then the obligatory ‘loop paths’ to the birdfeeders and corn cob spikes in our backyard…..
    THEN the paths across the front lawn of the abandoned house across the street, around its western side, and behind it to the back entrance where the paw prints of the stray kitties that visit our home disappear.
    Did it seem like an overwhelming task, or even a monumental one?
    I suppose it could have.
    But I donned my Sennheiser Bluetooth headphones, tucked my iPhone into the inner pocket of my winter coat, and listened to Robert Lewis of Men’s Fraternity as he presented a session from his ‘Authentic Manhood’ lectures.
    Tell you what, Sue:
    It never occurred to me to bemoan the hardship of the task at hand…..
    Especially when Robert Lewis was levelling me with power-full statements like this:
    “What is a real man? Contrast the lives of Adam and Jesus: A real man is one who rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously and accepts the greater reward, God’s reward. This manhood vision desperately needs to be proclaimed throughout our society.”

    And so there I stood in the falling dark, snow shovel in hand.
    And I wasn’t thinking: “Hey, I must be an authentic man! Who else would go to all this trouble just to ensure that these abandoned kitties have a fighting chance to survive?”
    I wasn’t even thinking about how deep and heavy the wet snow was.
    Instead, I was crying aloud to God: “Lord, I want to be a real authentic man. I’m 58 years old. Is it too late to transform the inclinations of my heart?”

    Anyway, that’s my story.
    Next time you’re faced with a snow shovelling session (hopefully minus the wrist injury), perhaps consider listening to an inspiring podcast or audiobook, or even an album of music that infuses your heart and head with wonder.
    Bluetooth headphones work really well in these instances, because you needn’t concern yourself with wires or headphone jacks, and you can pause, fast forward or rewind without having to take your mobile device out of your pocket.
    I daresay that any self-sabotaging thought, such as the enormity of the task at hand, won’t have the opportunity to manifest itself.
    My two cents’ worth, at any rate.

    Yours in the Keeper of the Fire and the Wind,
    PhiL >^•_•^<

    Liked by 1 person

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