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Nail or Straw, What are Yours?

We’ve all heard the saying, “the nail in the coffin and the straw that broke the camel’s back.” And if you haven’t heard these sayings, they essentially mean that was the thing that ended it all, closed the chapter, and called it quits. The thing that finally made the person let go. The nail or the straw is different for every person. What shuts the coffin for one person may just be another hurdle for another person. What breaks the camel’s back for one person may just be another haystack to search through for someone else. Everyone’s breaking point is different. Everyone has a different amount of resilience and perseverance. Each person has their own reserve to push harder.


The struggle is some of us don’t know what our nail is, we have no idea when the camel’s back is broken, we can’t gauge our reserve, and we continue to push beyond the point of pushing. This usually results in devastation. What could have been a potential fix, a not now, but later, or a save is now a full-out disaster? The camel could’ve had surgery, rested, and been back on its feet; instead, it may never walk again. The coffin was nailed shut, but it wasn’t buried.


Understanding, learning, and accepting your level of resilience, perseverance, and knowing when to let go are critical parts of growing as a person, especially if you are trying to do something outside of your comfort zone or more significant than you. For me, that significant thing is raising a family and growing a business. In this journey, I’ve had to set clear mile markers to let me know I am on the right path. I’ve had to establish what my nuggets from God were and how I would recognize them and know that was a nudge to keep going. And, I have had to be clear on my nails and straws, the things that would signal me that it was time to let go.
For some people letting go feels like giving up hope, but it’s quite the contrary. Letting go is not only having more hope, but it also consists of having faith. Letting go is releasing power and control to an unknown and believing everything will be okay. Things will work out exactly how they should. Letting go is relinquishing the idea that we can make things happen, and doing this one more thing could shift the outcome. Letting go is hoping for a miracle while accepting whatever comes and knowing it will be okay. Letting go is preparation for the unknown.


Part of nothing changes, but everything, is understanding that things are going to be how they should. Nothing can change that. Accepting this is everything.


Here’s an example. We should work out, eat healthily, drink water, and be good to our bodies because doing these things can help us “try” to prolong our lives and live better lives. We can do everything in our control to aid this and try to make this reality, but in the end, we will all die; this doesn’t change. Accepting this reality is everything. There will come a time when we must let go and accept this reality. We won’t be able to do anything to reverse the clock, to stop the inevitable, and trying to do so will cause more harm than good. Knowing when that moment is, is knowing what the nail or straw is.


For me, there is a level of peace and empowerment in letting go. In some ways, it relieves the stress of feeling like I have to do something. Instead, I am passing the ball to God to the Universe. I am saying I have done all I can do. It’s your turn, do or do not do. This is a team sport, and I have gotten the team as far as possible. I feel this is also true in reverse. Sometimes God says I have done all I can do the ball is in your court now, do or do not do. And on the flip side, God can say okay, we have come as far as we are going to go; it’s time to exit stage left. We played a good game, now bow out gracefully. The nail.


The key to making real change and real progress is recognizing when these things are present. The next time you start a project or journey, create a list of nails for yourself. Give yourself permission to say if these things happen and my R&P (resilience and perseverance) tank is low or empty, I’m calling it. I am letting go and giving it to The Universe, and The Universe can either do or not do. Set markers on what a low R&P tank feels and looks like so you can recognize those feelings if and when they appear. Provide yourself with a let go plan. What will letting go look like? How will you let go? How long will you give yourself to fully let go? Then write your expectations from The Universe. How will you know God is doing? What will it look like, feel like? What will you do if God does, and what will you do if God doesn’t. Then have faith and hope, start your project and let go of the rest.


Once you have this plan, you can begin your new journey with a sense of security, knowing that you have a plan. Knowing that you are fully equipped to conquer whatever lies ahead.

carry on.

Life strategies

Help is on the Way

I was at my local grocery store and decided to use the self checkout lane. These lanes are designed to make our life easier and assist with us getting out of the store faster. However, like most things designed to make life easier, they don’t always do that. Sometimes you go through the self checkout and you find yourself thinking, I should’ve just stood in line.

Thats the thing about life there are no real shortcuts.

As I was checking myself out, I probably had way to many grocery for the self checkout, I heard the machine next to me saying “Help is on the way!” “Help is on the way” over and over. The lady using the machine was frantically looking around for said help. The cashier was busy assisting someone at that moment. The machine continue to sing out “help is on the way!” “help is on the way”. The lady tried to hit a few buttons, move her groceries around in the bagging area, but still nothing. She sighed a loud sigh and looked around again. I glanced at her and gave her a gentle smile and she shook her head in frustration, as she said “where is help when you need it. I can’t get this stupid machine to stop talking this is ridiculous.” I smiled a smile of it will be ok  and said “Yes these things can be frustating. I’m surprised at how busy it is today. I’m sure she will be here soon.” She sighed another heavy sigh, poked the machine a few more times, and then finally gathered up all her grocery, “I’m just going to go get in another line, this is ridiculous. I don’t have time to wait around.” And she sped off.

No Sooner than she sped off, help walked up!

The cashier looked around and said where did they go? “she went to another line, I responded” The cashier cleared the machine and moved on to the next person. This moment was so profound to me.

In the alchemist, Paulo Coelho writes about the universe testing everything we have learned right before we are about to reach our destiny. He says things will get really hard and this is usually when most people give up. They give up right before the thing they really wanted is about to come true.

In life things will get hard, the road to success will be a bumpy ride it is only those that continue the road who will reach the success.

The key to staying the course is being patient and having trust that help is on the way.

When we are in the midst of a storm, it’s easy to get agitated, irritated, frustrated. It becomes the norm to complain. in fact, people expect you to complain. They say things like I don’t know how you are dealing with that, that is crazy how do you do it, better you than me, I couldn’t imagine, maybe you should go back to doing what you use to do, that’s why you don’t do things like that and so on and so on. Often times, they will hop on the bandwagon of complaining and even lead the path. (steer clear of these people)

You have to trust that you are on the path that God has laid out for you, you have to listen to your heart and persevere, you have to be patient knowing that good things come to those who wait. You have to trust the universe and believe that the universe wants you to succeed. You have to trust the lessons you are learning and believe there is something to be learned in every situation. You have to trust help is on the way.

“one dies of thirst just as the palm trees appear on the horizon”-the alchemist

Believing these things will allow you to continue to forge on during the moments of difficulty. The lady in line was just a few moments away from being seen. Had she taken just a few more moments to be patient and maybe ask herself what can I learn in this moment as I wait, her journey may have been easier and in the end faster. On my way out of the store she was still standing in line. Although she may accomplish her goal (checking out) it took a lot longer because she wasn’t patient and she didn’t trust help was on the way. There are no shortcuts to life, we will be tested, we will struggle along the way, but if we are following our hearts the journey will be faster than if we derail from the path, try to turn around, or worse stop.

In the famous words of Dory…..

“just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming”

And believe help is on the way!