How do you feel when you have spent time and energy (money!) planning, preparing, hypothesizing and getting ready only to have something unexpected showing up….
‘What the …’!?!
Take it from someone who has been there many times; it’s not a fun place to be – but what can you do?
There is a choice of:
1/ escaping and carrying on as if nothing has happened – until reality hits us back, big time and with hefty back interests.
2/ go into the ‘it is what is it’ and deal with it, with logic and patience.
Transforming the ‘what the heck is happening?, why me?, why now?’ into ‘let me walk this, maybe there is something in it for me at the end of the day’.
Let’s agree: it’s hugely difficult to feel comfortable when dealing with the unknown, mostly because we are losing our hard-earned sense of control.
Could changing perspective and seeing unexpected changes as part of any Hero’s journey be the path to more wisdom? (who knows? But isn’t it worth trying?).
Curiosity instead of Reactivity
Curiosity – has been given a bad name for the sake of preserving a form of peace – but there are so many forms of curiosity to choose from; how about that faithful and wise companion whose first purpose is to get you over the hump of ‘this is not acceptable, I am not dealing with it!’?
Curiosity when it is inquiring, questioning and respectfully asking, is what keeps our brain youthful.
While fear has us assume a situation is dangerous or unsafe because it’s new and unknown, curiosity will say: ‘let me take a look, in case I am missing something’.
Curiosity calls us out to notice those possibilities that our first impression (often tainted with survival reflexes) would not have us even consider.
The beauty of coming from a place of curiosity is that it’s all about gathering data and information – no strings attached.
You retain the power of ‘yes’ or ‘no, thanks’, knowingly, at any time.
Sounds good so far, right? Now we need to give curiosity a companion.
Open-Mindedness instead of Meh
As curiosity made you pay attention, open-mindedness can now take over and expand your horizons – while keeping your judging brain in its lane.
And before you judge your judging … it’s normal to form opinions about others and situations. We all have those tools that are memory and hindsight as gatekeepers so we are not tempted to repeat the same old, same old.
Buuut, if you put in the same space first impression and confirmation bias, you may end up watching opportunities slip by without being given the benefit of the doubt.
Keeping an open mind will mean less reactivity; and if we choose to, more learnings.
Emotional detachment instead of Why me
Do you know what makes already uncomfortable things even harder to deal with? When we are emotionally invested and take everything personally.
This is when feedback becomes ‘they don’t like me’, and a remark is a personal attack … stress, conflict or plain avoidance.
Unchecked emotions tend to put us in a no-man’s land.
They keep us stuck.
What to do? check-in with yourself regularly – it’s perfectly normal to take things to heart because you are proud of what you do. But keep an eye when it goes too far. Being emotionally detached may be your new way for more inner peace – and less extreme reactions when the new stuff starts showing up, uninvited.
Alignment instead of All over the place
So far, so good – on the road to feel more in control, we have enrolled the curious open-minded brain.
Results? choices, opportunities, potentialities; hmmm…maybe too much of a good thing? this is when the brain goes whoaaaaa, a.k.a. analysis/paralysis and overthinking.
Good time to use your decision-making process with the help of your inner GPS: body/mind/soul.
Because this is the best way for you to feel ‘aligned’ with what your inner wisdom wants for you: saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from a place of self-awareness and conscious choices.
Instead of all frazzled with too many choices, being aligned is being in agreement with your ‘advisory team’, and be in a better place from which you can trust your inner judgment, and make ‘adult’ decisions.
Everything and anything can be feedback
Think positively, they said….yeah well, easier said than done.
When we are in the middle of the sh*tshow, our first reaction is self-preservation. So positive blessing in disguise will need to wait.
Use that time to work your solution-finding skills and give your brain a job it will like. Make an inventory of your life and careers milestones, and list the wealth of skills, strength, connections that you have accumulated.
The unknowns of the past are no different from your today’s.
As you have been cultivating a healthier relationship with them – coming from a place of curiosity and being open to listening; once past the first moments of surprise, you can start seeing lessons and experiences in whatever is showing up; either an indication as to what you want or the ‘nope, never’. Either way, it’s valuable data coming your way.
Finally…cultivate the art of being present
I cannot leave you without mentioning another way to get you to a place of relative control when life happens: being present.
Presence in the here and now is that place of stillness where the brain can sit and integrate the lessons from the past, while working on what you desire for the future.
This means mentally directing your brain to be in a place of observation and analysis of what is placed in front of you, instead of the stress and overwhelm of going through a to-do list, re-playing for the x time the same conversation, trying to guess what’s going to happen next.
Trust someone who is constantly in the ‘what now?’; the ‘what next’ will appear to you when you are ready!