5 Steps to Weathering Your Personal Storms
By Mary Lyn Miller
With the country gripped in the aftermath of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, it reminds us that we often experience similar "storms" on a personal level. The loss of a job, a loved one, a break-up, moving, health issues and other traumatic transitions can "knock you off balance" and make you feel everything is destroyed. While transitions are natural phenomena, here are 5 Steps to moving into the peaceful eye of your storm, rather than being tossed about and battered by it.
- DON'T PANIC
Oh, sure, that's easy for me to say. The natural reaction to change is often to panic. Unfortunately, this state of heightened fear produces poor decision making, and you may do far more damage to yourself than the initial storm ever could. For instance, many people come to me after losing a job saying, "I have to get something else immediately - I don't care what, just something quick." Once calmed, however, they see they have a perfect opportunity to re-evaluate their lives and move into something they like much better - slowly and steadily, rather than rashly. Fear creates more fear. Focusing on the positive aspects produces calm.
- STAY PRESENT - DON'T "WHAT IF" YOURSELF
You can only deal with what's going on right now. In crisis (real or imagined), your mind can race, creating all sorts of horrifying scenarios of the future. As you project them, your body immediately responds putting you into "fight or flight" syndrome. This creates tremendous stress and reduces your ability to respond constructively to the present situation.
Eliminate "What If" from your vocabulary. I hear, "What if I don't get work soon enough? What if I can't find my passions? What if I'm not good enough? What if they don't like me?" What if it all worked out well? Stay present, do what's right for you right now, and the future will begin to reveal itself to you.
- RE-EVALUATE WHAT YOU REALLY WANT
Facing change is an excellent time to re-evaluate what you really want. Look at what has worked in your life, what has not, and make some new plans to revitalize your life. Most of us don't move out of our comfort zone until pushed against the wall. If you want help in re-valuating your life and/or work, discovering your core passions, creating a new vision and life plan, as well as the support and steps to implement it, please look for contact information at the end of this article.
- CREATE A NEW VISION
If your old life isn't working, you have to create a new vision of where you are going. How can you get somewhere else if you don't have some idea of where that is? A new vision does NOT require a detailed plan of HOW you will get there. Once you know you are headed to Chicago, there are a variety of ways to get there. Vision is really what drives all of us. Is your vision exciting? Or are you visioning fear and lack? Every January, I conduct a 'Visioning' teleclass series to help you set the tone for the year.
- KEEP MOVING - BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO IT ALONE
Energy begets energy. Sometimes the smallest steps create amazing impact. But, most of us are still thinking with the thoughts that got us into situations and have lifestyles that aren't as rewarding as we would like them to be. Nevertheless, keep doing something - anything - that is in alignment with your vision and things will begin to happen.
Join a group. Go to church. Get support. Get a coach. It's just plain easier, faster, and more effective to be accountable to something or someone for your action steps. Also, you need feedback. It's good to have as much new information as possible.