Hey there! Ever had one of those weeks where the universe decided to test your limits? You know, like preparing for a live in-person workshop in Africa only to be met with an intense struggle that had nothing to do with you? Yep, I was there a couple of weeks ago.
Embrace the Chaos, Don’t Fight It
Instead of facilitating workshops and meeting my new clients, I got a front-row seat to a corporate melodrama. At times, it felt like watching a soap opera—only with construction helmets and safety shoes. I could’ve been frustrated, could’ve wallowed in self-pity, but nah. I mean I traveled all the way to Africa intending to do a job. I realized that moments like these are not barriers; they are opportunities for growth, learning, and relationship-building. (At times, that wasn’t an easy realization with all of the emotions swirling about me.)
The Power of Mindset
When you’re stuck in a quagmire of disappointment and frustration, it’s all too easy to slip into negativity. But here’s the secret sauce: your mindset. What exactly is mindset? We hear that word tossed around a lot. Since I had a 17-year career in information technology, I see mindset as the operating system for your brain. Just like how you wouldn’t want your computer running on outdated software, you wouldn’t want to tackle life with a mindset that holds you back. The good thing about mindset is that YOU are the programmer of the operating system.
Picture mindset as the lens through which you see the world. It’s how you interpret the good, the bad, and the downright confusing, frustrating, and disappointing events that come your way. And we’ve all had our share of those. Instead of saying, “Why is this happening to me?” ask, “What can I learn from this?” or “How can I use this situation to create even greater value for everyone involved?” Your brain is like Google; ask it better questions and get better answers.
Staying True to Your ‘Being’ and ‘Doing’ Purpose
We talk a lot about the ‘doing’—the goals, the KPIs, the quarterly reports. But what about the ‘being’? Who you are is just as crucial as what you do. Especially in moments of crisis, aligning your actions with your core values and inspiring attributes isn’t just comforting; it’s empowering. Who do you want to BE? How do you want to show up in your world? Do you know? What are the qualities and characteristics that you aspire to? These can be your North Star. When you see a vision of your future self, how is that future ‘you’ different from who you are today? Me? My future self is a woman who is more inspiring, present, generous, daring, focused, and passionate. Chaos affords me the opportunity to toss my brain’s expectations aside and focus instead on becoming the person I want to be as I stay present and do my best to add value.
The Discipline of Thought Mastery
Your thoughts aren’t always your friends. Some of them are those pesky neighbors who come over uninvited. You can either let them in or politely show them the door. Mastering your mind means choosing which thoughts deserve your attention and which ones are better left unattended. This self-awareness is the first step in deliberately developing your mindset so you can create the lens through which you want to see your world. It is so powerful! I hope that you have the opportunity to practice this every day.
Tips to Conquer the Roller Coaster
- Be Self-Compassionate: Extend some of that love you shower on others to yourself. It’s not selfish; it’s survival. Stop being harder on yourself than you are on others. Does that even make sense? Aren’t you a human being just like others? What makes you think that being harder on yourself than you would be on them is a good thing?
- Build Relationships: Instead of simmering in annoyance, use the occasion to deepen relationships. Step into the world of those around you. Don’t be afraid to walk into a difficult situation and learn their perspective. You don’t have to take sides. Listening and engaging to create a sense of belonging is what folks need so they don’t feel alone in their struggle. After all, a shared struggle often leads to a shared vision.
- Celebrate the Small Wins: Your flight was canceled, but hey, you got your luggage back, didn’t you? I met some fantastic people who were in the same boat as me. I had the opportunity to spend more time with the people I’m going to be working with. I got to meet a chiropractor from Mansfield, TX whose son bought him a ticket to the Dallas Cowboys game. (The canceled flight meant that he’d miss it, though.) A moment of gratitude amid the chaos can be a game-changer.
- Embrace Flexibility: When life gives you lemons, make lemon meringue pie. Or lemonade. Or lemon chicken. Or put them down your garbage disposal to make the whole kitchen smell better. The point is: be flexible and adapt. Focus on showing up in the world the way that you want to be seen.
- Have a ‘Go-To’ Centering Technique: For me, it’s neuro-axiologically designed centering questions that bring out my best thinking. And it’s what I’ve been teaching for over 15 years. (It really works!!) For you, it could be a quick meditation or even deep breathing exercises.
Life doesn’t always go the way we plan, and that’s okay. What truly matters is how we respond to these curveballs. So, the next time you find yourself in the midst of unexpected drama, take a deep breath and remember who you want to be in this world. And then be that YOU brilliantly!