How do you handle unexpected ‘surprises’? What do you do when life throws you a curveball? Let’s face it, we ONLY have three choices when we are peppered with hardships…
Yes, we only have three choices when life throws curveballs at us: we advance, stay neutral, or we digress
Advancing is perhaps one of the most difficult choices, but also the most rewarding one.
Obstacles and hardships are normal. It is really tough to be in a situation where you have little or no control, especially if what is happening has a large impact on your life. The best thing to do is to embrace the things you have no control over.
There is a multitude of angles from which to approach situations, and sometimes it takes out of the box thinking. Redirecting your attention from that which is immovable allows you to shift your focus to a world filled with infinite possibilities.
When you surrender your resistance, the situation begins to shift
Here are some perspectives that always help me whenever I’m going through difficult times:
1. Knowing it will pass and that you will not feel this way forever.
“Everything ends. Whether it’s good or bad, it doesn’t last forever. When a situation is troubling for you, it may seem as if it will never end. But that’s just a subjective and distorted perception. Our minds tend to expand negative events as they happen and so it appears like they’ve been going on for a lot more than they really did, and as if they will continue to go on for a long time.
Nevertheless, even the worst kinds of situations end at some point. Sometimes you need to do something to make them end or hurry that moment. Other times, they will simply wither and die on their own, and all you can do is have patience and wait. Either way, things will change.” (source)
2. Approaching the hardship with curiosity
For example, when the economy tanked in 2009, my savings were depleted and no one was hiring within my industry. I was a single mother with no way of supporting my family. My stress began to transform into depression.
This is when I decided to be curious about what depression felt like in my body, my emotions, and the thoughts that were playing on repeat in my mind. Not only did I examine the pain, I also examined what took me out of the pain.
What I found helpful was being out in nature or connecting to sensations, like the feeling of my bare feet on the ground, or taking a big breath whenever I felt in a state of overwhelm.
Instead of being passive I became engaged with my feelings, which opened up the opportunity to transform my situation.
3. Knowing when to step in and when to step out of your feelings is important
Taking a balanced approach, where your feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated, creates endurance.
Be aware if you feel like you are going too far into your feelings and need to be pulled back out. If you are having a hard time doing this on your own, never hesitate to ask for help.
4. During hard times you can experiment with employing an inquisitive, adventurous and playful mindset
By doing this, the situation becomes more interesting and you are more likely to be engaged. You may want to test different approaches, such as examining the situation from different angles, exploring what you can learn, improving how you handle future situations and playing with how you approach people and their responses.
For example, if it is taking longer than expected to land a job and you’re getting frustrated, you can try being playful with how you approach interviews.
In your interviews, rather than the conversation being all about you landing a job, you can turn the interview into an opportunity to get to know another person and how the company they work for approaches business.
Most importantly, play redirects your attention from the outcome to making the process more enjoyable. This allows you to be more easygoing, which usually delivers much more satisfying results.
* This is an excerpt from the tips and tricks section of my guidebook, Full Potential, which is a professional development guidebook to help you get clear on career and life choices – ignitingfp.com
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