Life is all about curveballs and unexpected changes. I’m not aware of anyone that has lived life exactly like they imagined and planned for. Sometimes these changes come out of nowhere and alter your life forever. A sudden job loss. The unexpected passing of a loved one. Other times you get some warning, but it doesn’t make the change much easier. We are creatures of habit and dislike things that challenge and change our comfort zones and routines.
Fully process the change
When navigating a large change or sudden curve in your life, it’s important to address your needs in four ways.
Physically. People will most often jump to their physical needs first. It’s the survival instinct in us as humans. Think about what you need to do take care of your immediate and approaching needs. Do you need to start saving money if you know your job is going to end? Can you put food on the table? Having a sense of security will help you navigate the next steps.
Mentally. You need to allow yourself a chance to mentally process the change. If you are the one that is delivering hard news to someone, you need to allow the other person that same space to process. Leaders sometimes make the mistake of not allowing the person to process the news effectively because they have had a chance to process it before delivering the message.
Emotionally. As we discovered in emotional intelligence at the beginning of the year, emotions are not good or bad. They are simply an emotion. It’s important that you allow yourself to work through the emotions that you have during changes that impact your life. Suppressing them only lengthens the time it takes to work through the change.
Spiritually. Meditating and having a prayer life will help you stay focused on the larger picture and will provide you with a sense of comfort in the tough time.
Look for the resulting opportunities
There is an opportunity in every curve that life throws at us. Losing the job might be the push to get you into the career that you always dreamed of. Getting unexpected news at the doctor’s office can be the wake-up call you needed to a healthier lifestyle. Take full advantage of what your current curve offers you. If the opportunity is not obvious, search for it. It’s there somewhere.
Begin to change to the new reality
As you process the change, you have to adapt to your new environment. I’ve seen many times where people failed to let go of the past and it kept them from a great future. It’s ok to acknowledge and think back fondly on the time before the change, but you also have to continue to live life and enjoy the moments that you are currently in. Make the necessary changes and move forward.
The curves that life throws us are not always fun. I personally don’t look forward to them either, but my excitement about what life holds around the corner keeps me going.
Persistence: The fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. -Oxford Dictionary
The act of continuing on in spite of difficulty or opposition. Some people would call that foolishness. Why keep at something that is not working out? Others see it not as a reason to stop, but as a reason to keep at it. Many of our most cherished accomplishments come from our persistence to keep going. Here are a few keys things to remember as you look to increase or strengthen your own persistence.
Find your fire (motivation)
What is your motivation? What is the why behind your goals or what you want to accomplish? You may have to ask yourself that question a couple of times to get to the true root of your motivation. An example would be that I want to get a new job. Why? Because I don’t have an opportunity to grow my career. Why do I want to grow my career? Because I don’t like to simply maintain the status quo. Why? Because I find value in the challenge and love building new things.
We had to go three deep to determine the motivation, but we found that it wasn’t as simple as a motivation to get a new job. That person is driven by the need to build and be challenged. Knowing your true motivator will help you on your journey to reach your goal. Make sure your fire is hot, bright and you are highly motivated and focused to meet the goal.
Stay in a positive mindset
It’s important to keep a positive mindset in the face of adversity and setbacks. It’s a guarantee that it is going to rain on your fire. Someone will try to snuff out your fire either inadvertently or on purpose. l. We’ve talked before about overcoming your mental obstacles. (Passing the Baton Episode 109) Those tips will help you during this time.
Find ways to keep yourself motivated and in a positive frame of mind. Some people write themselves encouraging notes and leave them up around the house and car. Others journal about the positive things that happened to them that day. My family is doing a project where we write out something that we enjoyed about the week and we put it in a large jar. At the end of the year, we plan to take everything out and reflect on the great things that happened this year.
Set up your accountability
Set your goals and share them with others. It’s a way that I have found to hold myself accountable to reaching my own goals. I was on the fence about pursuing a certification in talent development. It was expensive, nearly all self-guided at that point, and a majority of people don’t pass it the first round. I was in a leadership meeting where we were asked to share a goal for ourselves for the year. I stood up claimed the certification as my goal and then that was it. I was fully in then! Letting my peers know kept me accountable to reach my goal. After many hours of studying and practice, I received my certification on the first pass 6 months later.
Accept the criticism and failures along the way
Take criticism and learn from it instead of dismissing it or letting it drag you down. I try to look at everything that doesn’t go like I had planned for or hope and try to find the lesson to be learned. Sometimes it was a lesson on how I could improve myself and other times it was a lesson to not repeat the mistakes of others. You are going to have haters and naysayers and that’s actually an ok thing. When you are surrounded only by those that agree with you and love you, you won’t be challenged to keep improving.
Find your motivation. Stay positive in the face of adversity and learn along the way. Your persistence can help you achieve goals that you thought weren’t possible.