-mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously.
I rolled in to a music festival I was playing at a day early and found myself walking around a city I’d never been in. As I stood at a distance and watched a few busking musicians play for passers by, I could’t help but think about our fortitude as artists, musicians and creators and the fact that it’s a direct result of what we choose to focus on. From where I stand, it seems to me like we have three options.
Focus on the people who don’t seem to give a crap that keep on walking, resulting in discouragement due to your current situation and what you see in front of you.
Focus on the few people who stop and listen for a moment, resulting in an ebb and flow of encouragement due to your current situation and what you see in front of you.
Focus on the work only you are able to do in the universe and realize that your current situation and what you see in front of you is not a true representation of the impact your efforts are making in the world, resulting in your fortitude being found internally.
The goal for me is to constantly be functioning and focusing consistently within the third one. In all transparency, however, I struggle with floating between these on a regular (sometime daily) basis and needed to find practical tools I could could use to help pull me from the mental despair of 1 to the positivity of 2. I also needed to find daily habits I could form to set my day up to successfully focus 3.
The good news is that I’ve found two things that have been a massive game changer in my life when it comes to all of this.
The first is something I call a “Fortitude Folder” and it’s something I’ve been experimenting with this past year.
Anytime someone sends me an e-mail, voicemail, direct message or text that is genuinely sharing how something I’ve done has impacted them in a positive way… or just encouraging me that I’m on the right path, I save it in a folder labeled “Fortitude.”
When I find myself discouraged, questioning myself, or in a funk (THAT WE ALL GO THROUGH REGULARLY) I open up that folder. Without fail, I find myself encouraged and pulled from the focus of 1 to 2 almost instantly.
Lemme Break That Shit Down: I have a streamlined workflow that I use within Evernote on a daily basis so I save my files within that and use a tag labeled ‘FORTITUDE’ that each individual message is saved under. It even allows me to save a voicemail as an audio file within it’s own note to listen back even after I’ve deleted it from my phone. If you want to make this even more effective in your life, go for a run/walk/workout. Move your body, get your heart rate up, get sweaty AND THEN open this folder and give it a read. Try it, you’ll feel like an instant bad ass. As they say, change your temperature, change your mood.
When it comes to setting myself up for a day of functioning at the third level, the single greatest habit I’ve found is what I call “Starting Your Day On Airplane Mode.”
Simply put, the first hour of every day (I fail constantly, but this is my regular goal) I avoid all external input from the outside world. READ: I don’t look at my phone/emails/messages/social media for the first hour of everyday. Instead, I meditate, read something inspiring, journal or write.
Lemme Break That Shit Down: Experiment with this hour and find what works best for you. The only rule is that you’re not checking emails/messages/social-media/news (anything external). I use my phone as an alarm, so what helps me is to turn it on airplane mode when I go to sleep and I don’t turn airplane mode off until an hour into my day. It’s that easy.
I heard in an interview recently that the goal of life isn’t perfection, it’s progress. If you’re anything like me, sometimes I get discouraged or overloaded and just need a couple small practical tools and habits that I can experiment with implementing in my life to see if they help along the journey.
If you end up trying these out, or have found tools and habits related to this that you’d like to pass along my way, I’d love to hear from you.