When The Game Changes

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!


When The Game Changes — 18 Comments

  1. This “anything might happen in a split second” was brought to our attention when we witnessed a car accident yesterday.
    A lady blacked out at the wheel and crashed into a post. She was fine but the car was very badly damaged. Had we left my in laws home a few seconds earlier and she would have crashed into us instead.
    I´m counting my blessings today. :) Thanks for the tool kit to face the uncertain.

    • Hi, Paula …

      Holy cow! How unnerving that must have been! It really does bring things into perspective, though, doesn’t it? I’m glad there were no injuries. Cars can be replaced … people, not so much.

      Thanks for sharing your experience here – it’s a sobering reminder that the game can change in the blink of an eye … and unlike in golf, we rarely get a mulligan, so our blessings are always precious!

      I hope you are able to stop by again … I try to post a new article by the end of each weekend.


  2. Lily-Ann that was brilliant! Excellent questions and advice. Yes, waking up in a hospital with numerous broken bodies top-down and being told that it was unlikely I would walk again was definitely a shocker. Especially for someone who lived for yoga, dancing, and hiking. I developed an incredibly resilient skin, being seen in a wheelchair with crazy wound-vac attached to my right foot. Interestingly, most people commented on my smile, which is what I was focusing on as well. Thank you for this great inspiration post Lily-Ann! You are wonderful!

    • Hi, Erika …

      Wow – that’s quite a game changer you had there. Holy cow! But what an amazing attitude you brought to bear, not allowing your circumstance to define you. This illustrates my point spectacularly!

      I hope that you’ve managed to successfully complete the healing process, and that you’ve reclaimed your mobility to the fullest extent possible? But if you’re still working on that, I wish you continued strength and patience as you recover.

      If you can come through such a devastating experience as this and still be smiling, you are indeed a remarkable woman … and a great example of an indomitable human spirit! Thank you so much for sharing a small part of your story here, and showing us the three R’s in action!


    • Hi, Carrie …

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and check in on this. Metaphors are great for illustrating a point, don’t you think? I’m glad it wasn’t too abstract.

      I appreciate your comment and hope to see you again …


  3. Having cared for my ailing mother for the past 10 years I can appreciate your post today! Life was a constant state of turmoil, illness and it was definitely a challenge to Recognize, live in Resilience and Recover. For me the most challenging was the Resilience. Thanks for sharing your formula! Best Regards, Wendy http://wendybottrel.com

    • Hi, Wendy …

      Ten years is a long time to manage such constant turmoil, but God bless you for stepping up to take care of your mother. I have no doubt it was extremely taxing and at times emotionally exhausting, so I can understand why Resilience presented the greater challenge for you.

      It sounds like you have moved through those three R’s with great success, and have emerged stronger for your experience. Elder care can certainly be a significant game changer, and the patience, dedication and compassion it takes to show up every day for 10 years is a testament to your resilience – you should be very proud of how this reflects on your character. I salute you …


  4. I started to read your post when I suddenly remembered I’d gotten a call from the wife of a man in my networking group. A wonderful man who has recently been diagnosed with parkinson’s and prostrate cancern. It’s made me keenly aware of how quickly life can change. I think you offer some great tools for dealing with change when we confront it.

    • Hi, Cathy …

      Indeed, a medical diagnosis can instantly change someone’s outlook, can’t it? I hope your friend responds well to his treatment, in both cases. These days, medical breakthroughs are being reported in the news practically every week … and the treatment of both these conditions has come a long way. I wish the very best for him.

      Change management is receiving more and more attention these days, which recognizes the importance of developing strategies to contend with how frequently change visits. If my few suggestions can help someone work through a hard situation, then I’m extremely gratified to know that.

      Thanks for stopping by, Cathy … I always appreciate hearing from you.


  5. Change is always happening and I appreciate how you stated that sometimes we don’t even know it is happening but it is. We deny it at those times, don’t we?
    The tools you suggested are beautiful as they help us to get grounded and in touch with our authentic and powerful SELF! Truly wonderful.

    • Hi, Dawn …

      Yes, sometimes when change announces its presence, we are shocked and amazed … “didn’t see it coming,” we’d say. But if we go back an analyze, we often truly did see it coming – we just ignored it, as if that would somehow make it turn around and go away. But it rarely does, and that reaction is almost never productive.

      Still, it’s a natural human response – especially when the change is an unwelcome one. Most of the time, we’re left to simply find our way through it. When that happens and it becomes abundantly clear that the game has indeed changed, I find that the sooner we begin the adapting process, the sooner the ‘pain’ subsides.

      I’m a firm believer in tools that help us regain our equilibrium during such times, and I’ve had really good success with those three R’s … so I’m glad they resonate with you, as well.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment here …


  6. Thank you for this post Lily-Ann.
    My family have seen our fair share of change these past few years. In hind sight, I think I mulled around in the denial phase far too long resisting change, even when I knew change was inevitable.

    Learning to become flexible has been a real challenge, but I’m a darn sight better at it than before. Thank you for bringing this to light for me…

    • Hi, Theressa …

      That’s the thing about personal growth … with it, we get to be better than we were before – which is the only measurement worth pursuing, in my view. Most of us do have a challenge with flexibility, I think you’ll find. Yet circumstance has a way of insisting on it, in my experience – so that if you don’t yield to it, you run the risk of breaking. And some of us do that, too … sad to say.

      It sounds like you are really pulling it all together, and that’s going to make all the difference to how you wake up each morning. It’s not an easy journey, that trip from denial to our reality … but once you dig into it, things start to get a bit easier and life slowly begins to normalize once again. I hope that’s how it goes for you, too.

      Thanks for stopping by to read my post … I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment, and to share your thoughts.


  7. A wonderful post, Lily-Ann; a reminder of the importance of developing strategies for those times when life takes an unexpected turn. We hold on tight to what we cherish most, finding security and comfort in the familiar. When our perfect model of the world is threatened by unexpected or unwanted change we typically react from a place of fear. Your three R’s model emphasises ownership in relationship to recovery and this, for me, is key. We all have the ability to rework and reword our life narratives, to step off the road and consider new directions. Courage is the first virtue because it underpins all other virtues. And from courage comes resilience. Looking forward to further posts Lily-Ann.

    • Hello … and welcome to my blog …

      You have me at the disadvantage of not knowing who I’m addressing … but I do relate to what you’re saying here. Fear is so often the motivating force behind many a complex emotional reaction – which presents a challenge to even the stoutest heart. Fear develops a life of its own, and then further complicates whatever issue is causing it – a double whammy.

      But courage conquers fear, and I agree that it underpins all other virtues. I appreciate your perspective and look forward to future comments from you. My routine is to post by the end of each weekend, more or less, so I hope you can stop by again.


  8. I’ve always had the tendency to rely on my partner in times of distress; I don’t know what I would do without him. If I had to go through some of life’s turmoils without his assistance, I would’ve been lost for sure.

    I need to learn how to cope better on my own because the day will come *(eventually)* when he is no longer there to be a rock in the night. (heavy sigh)

    • Hi, Bonnie …

      I believe I know just what you mean … to spend a lifetime with a loving partner is a blessing, but it can also tempt us to be more reliant on them than is perhaps good for us. And yet, isn’t partnership all about supporting each other and sharing both the joys and disappointments of life? Hard to balance that against developing independence, I know.

      The important thing is we ‘recognize’ that life itself is temporary, and all things that we treasure will eventually fall away – including us. For everything, there is a season, remember? And a time for every purpose under heaven. So if we are in the season of partnership, so be it. Let your ‘resilience’ keep you there for as long as possible. Cherish it for all its worth. It’s about knowing what season we’re in, I think, not necessarily about avoiding it.

      But when the game changes … and it always will, no matter what the game … we must ensure we have our second tier support network in place for our hour of need. As long as we have this, we have a way to ‘recover’ from the unexpected – or the unwelcome. Much easier to say than to do, of course, but any Plan B has to have a starting point. Sounds like you’ve at least begun yours.

      Thanks, Bonnie, for sharing your thoughts on this …


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