Turning Struggles Into Stepping Stones


This week I shared a post about the value in ‘taking the stairs.’ I’ve received a lot of positive comments about how that message resonated with so many. If you haven't seen the post yet, go check it out now! 


It can be challenging when everything in your life feels out of sync. For the longest time, I felt disorganized, and overwhelmed by expectations and responsibilities, as I was not fully disciplined in the pursuit of my personal, career and health goals. 


My life felt messy and disordered.


In the midst of chaos, the manifestations of my life’s purpose were actually starting to take shape. But of course, I didn’t recognize it at the time because I couldn’t see through the struggles, as I was disoriented and sidetracked by my issues. However, when I thought my life was falling apart, it was actually falling into place.


I unconsciously refused to take a step back and prioritize the important things in my life - my mental and physical health, my relationship with my husband and family, and my work - which were impacted by unimportant distractions. On top of that, I had been struggling with symptoms of burnout during the same time as starting a brand new position at work and developing Shattered Silence. 


There were so many moving pieces happening at the same time. 


I was desperately latching on to things that didn’t align with my path. I was in so much of a state that I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I wanted clarity. I prayed for a breakthrough that would immediately catapult me to a place of emotional ease, confidence, and control. On the outside, I tried to put on the facade that everything was great. And yes, there were some great moments where I had made some significant achievements, but a lot was still unraveling, and my focus remained on defeat.


One step forward, two steps back.


This was an expression that I eventually leaned into - I guess as a way of trying to comfort myself in knowing there will always be step backs. I had realized that my perspective on setbacks was skewed. I saw the steps back as an admission of failure, attached with feelings of shame, defeat, and disappointment. With some self-awareness, I started processing these setbacks through journaling, communicating with those I trust and working through it with my life coach. I was able to feel my rhythm and reconnect with my authentic self. In fact, these discoveries have led me to believe that the step backs were important in my journey. The wisdom I gained built greater emotional ease, which increased my confidence and strength as I continue to step forward towards my destiny. 


I’ve been thinking a lot about one of my favourite quotes from Martin Luther King Jr., and how it relates to my situation. He said, “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” I love this quote for many reasons:

1. Faith is my foundation. Faith is what I depend on when there are things outside of my control; when I feel like I’ve given my all and can surrender to something far greater than myself.  Faith has provided for me in ways that are indescribable. 

2. Faith has forced me to jump, to take the first step out of my comfort zone and into an arena of opportunities. Without faith, I wouldn’t have started on this adventure developing Shattered Silence - which has led to amazing connections and personal growth. 

3. Faith relieves the pressure of, ‘figuring it all out.’ In the past, knowing the plan, and trying to have authority over the outcomes was an artificial way of feeling in control. I accepted that there are many things that are outside of my ability to control, but there are also many things within my own ability to control — the choices I make, my response to situations, and trusting that this is part of the journey. 

4. Faith has also given me personal power and reflection. Within those step backs is a space designed for reflection and growth, and recognizing the power and strength in struggles builds acceptance of my situation.


Staircases are bi-directional - allowing us to move both up and down. So the next time someone says the phrase, “One step forward, two steps back,” challenge your own perceptions on the situation and lean into the process instead of solely focusing on the destination — honouring the space in-between (including setbacks) empowers us to elevate.


With love & care, 

martina kelades life out loud blog author-04.png

Martina Kelades
Founder of Life Out Loud

Martina has over 10 years’ professional experience working as a Personal Development Counsellor and Instructor and holds a diploma in Social Services (Addictions Counselling concentration) from the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), as well as a BA (hons) in Psychology from Mount St. Vincent University.