What Does Progress Look Like?

           Diana Hardy, MS

What does progress look like? Well, it is messy, very messy. Are you sure you want to see it? Most of us are not so sure that we do – because some part of us knows that the path to get there may not be as “glorious” as the end goal.


We all think about this on New Year’s Eve or perhaps on a birthday or an important anniversary. “Progress hasn’t been what I was hoping for”, I think to myself.  Because in my mind, this is the progress that I am hoping for: a straight arrow that rises in one clean line from my starting point to the heights. It feels good to imagine my progress like a single mountain peak. There are no set backs, no losses along the way. The path rises and there are no twists and turns. This is what I want. But I have never had that.


What I have had is progress that looks like this. The mountaintop comes after so many frustrations, moments when you have to pick up the pieces and set out once more. There are moments along the way when I feel that I have not made any progress at all. Einstein’s quote comes to mind, “Failure is success in progress.”


The stories of heroes usually involve some battle with themselves or others or with what seems to be an insurmountable obstacle. We usually enjoy the story more when the odds seem to be stacked against the underdog. But most of all, we like to listen to stories of those heroes who tell of victory without omitting the mistakes they have made, the failures they have had, the tears they have shed and fear that it all might have been for nothing. I recently watched the movie “Secretariat” about the housewife who decided to enter the tricky business of horseracing in the 1970’s in order to save the family farm. Secretariat started off his career so poorly that he was not even noticed yet his victory in the Triple Crown is still considered to be one of the greatest of all time.


I think that this is what progress looks like in the counseling room as well – whether I am trying to work through grief or past trauma or anxiety – progress is a messy business and it takes courage to get started and courage to start over and over again.


Have you tried to makes some change or shed some baggage from the past before and felt that the timing wasn’t right or that the therapist wasn’t the one for you? Maybe it is time to try again. We have a fabulous team at Life Skills Resource Group. Give us a call for a free consultation at 407-355-7378.



Diana Hardy