Life is a series of highs and lows.
Last week was a bit of a low for me and was finished off with some awful news of an old friends passing. I’m so sad for his family. He was far too young and such a great guy.
When tragedies like this happen we tend to contemplate our own mortality, and sometimes we want to make radical changes to the way we live.
Whether it’s our lifestyle or relationships, the sudden death of a friend can trigger a need for fuller living and regret for wasted time.
Similarly we hear of people who have life threatening illnesses who embark on health and well being or spiritual experimentation.
My trigger for change happened a long time ago, and this was another jolt to remind me that life is too short not to live with gusto.
Some people believe the decision to change is the hardest part, and once we make our mind up the rest is easy. That kind of thinking can set us up for negative self talk when the inevitable happens.
Even after a shock the decision to change isn’t easy.
Neither is the process.
Radical change isn’t easily maintained for long without setbacks.
We revert to default behaviors or habits.
Fear kicks in when we leave our comfort zone.
Self defeating monologues go on in our heads.
I have been in the process of significant change for a long time and recent setbacks have seen me fall back into old negative thinking patterns of self doubt.
This weekend I was lucky to be in the right place with some amazing people at the right time for me.
I spent 3 days on a leadership program with an inspiring and supportive crew.
I heard stories of great achievement in the face of adversity. I listened to stories from others facing similar fears, and human frailties.
I was reminded about the power of perspective. Reminded of the importance of self reflection, mindfulness, resilience and using response instead of reaction.
It was enough to lift me into a different mindset completely.
Reinforcing things I knew, but hadn’t been practicing as much as I needed to recently.
Even coaches need coaching.
In real life awful things happen. Then good things happen. Then there’s lot’s of everyday things that happen.
None of it has anything to do with my luck or what I deserve in life.
How I respond to it however, can determine the quality of that life.
I can choose to be defensive and passive. Thinking things are happening to me and I’m powerless.
Or I can choose to be constructive and focus on the things that get me where I need to be. Take ownership. Use my resources. Take action. Step into an effective role instead of a passive one.
It’s not always easy, but the more we practice constructive, positive behavior, the more likely it is to become our default setting.
When it comes to making life changes it’s important to be kind to ourselves. We didn’t create these habits or thinking patterns over night so how do we expect to change them without lots of imperfect practice?
When something bad happens, or we mess up, it’s normal to go through the process of negative emotion and questioning why. It’s unrealistic to be permanently positive. We’re human.
We can choose the path we head down after that initial reaction has passed though.
Solution oriented and positively hopeful, or negative, reactionary and destructive.
The more we pull ourselves up into constructive pathways, the more likely that will become our default setting.
Like any great achievement it takes practice and perseverance. Mindfulness and self awareness. Support and self nurturing.
Whatever the catalyst is for positive change, being aware that setbacks are inevitable and FORGIVABLE will help us to get back on track quickly.
Laying the foundation for new default settings.
For anyone who is interested in the program I did, I have shared links of the organisations involved. I recommend both so highly for anyone who wants to be more effective in their personal, professional and community life.
Lord Somers Camp and Powerhouse, Power2Lead.
Practical Workplace Strategies.
Check their sites for current and future programs, I’m grateful I did!