As we go through our life day by day, most of us will eventually settle into a routine of sorts – with our jobs, our family, our friends … what we do on weekends, where we buy our groceries, all the minute details of living an ordinary life.
But what happens when something suddenly drops into the middle of your ordinary life and literally rocks your world – and not necessarily in a good way? What tools do you have access to that will help you stay grounded and get you focused on solutions? Or, if your situation is unresolvable, what coping mechanisms do you have?
What’s Your Plan B …?
At some time in your life, you will find yourself facing challenges that you may not be quite prepared for … perhaps the sudden death of a cherish friend or family member, or maybe losing your job and seeing your financial security collapse before your very eyes. Traumatic, stressful situations that you have very little control over, yet which affect your future in a most visceral way.
What will you do? How will you cope? Where will you turn for guidance or help? What is your strategy for managing such a crisis?
These past several years, we’ve collectively experienced what seems like relentless waves of crisis upon crisis: in the corporate world, the political world, the financial world … businesses closing, jobs disappearing, scandal after scandal, deranged gunmen – how on earth are we supposed to establish contingencies for all this?
A New Version of the Three R’s …
The fact is, you can’t … it’s impossible to foresee what the future holds. But does that mean we’re at the mercy of circumstance? I would say not – or not entirely, anyway. True, for the most part we can’t control what’s happening around us – and really, we never could. But we can take ownership of what’s happening inside us … and to that end, I have a completely different interpretation of the three R’s – recognition, resilience, and recovery.
So, how do we invoke these three R’s to our advantage? Well, recognition is likely to be the trickiest. We may not even recognize that the game is changing until it’s already upon us. But once it is, it’s imperative that we get very clear on every aspect of its impact on our life. This is not the time for denial or ignoring. This is the time for realizing what just happened and how it will affect us. At this point, accurately assessing vulnerabilities is key, and we must be fearless in doing so.
Resistance Is Futile …
Once we know the full extent of the damage, we must rely on our resilience to endure the transition we’re about to face. This will likely entail a certain level of grief, and it’s important to honour that process. Change can often equate to loss – and whether it’s material or emotional, loss is almost always tragic. So we must allow ourself to experience any sadness our new situation may bring … but let’s not get stuck there. We have to begin the process of readjustment, and the sooner the better … especially if there’s no escaping it, anyway.
Recovery comes as a result of being efficient in embracing the change – whether we’ve had to sell our home and relocate, find another job, say goodbye to a loved one … or some other life-altering event. We need to keep it all in perspective, do what’s needed, process the emotions around it, and then move toward recovering our equilibrium. During this process, many tools can be applied – meditation, counselling, journaling, long walks, or just being comforted by friends. Whatever works is the perfect tool to use.
This cycle of recognition, resilience and recovery is definitely not an overnight process. Each of us will experience it differently, depending on the enormity of our challenge. But there’s one thing that’s certain … change will come. And when it does, and your routine is upset or your life is altered, how willingly will you adapt to it? Can you turn life’s page without tearing it? Or, as many do, will you resist in futility as change overtakes you?
… and as you consider this, remember to stay focused on the Good Things in Life!