In this episode, we will discuss the steps to getting your life back in control when all hell has broken loose and your running with your hair on fire.
So, is your life out of control right now? Is it pure chaos? All of us experience this awful feeling every now and then because no matter how much self-development you do, there is going to be a time when even the most perfect person’s life gets out of control.
Now, there are lots of things we can’t control: your company may go out of business, you can get fired, your investments may plummet, your most valued relationships may end—the list is infinite, really.
This feeling is normal, and there is always going to be winter in every season of your life. There have been times in my life that were pure chaos when everything around me was collapsing on me and crushing me under the weight. Through all of the chaos what kept me going is the belief that it wouldn’t last forever. This is normal and even the people I look up to have dealt with this.
But I have learned that we would be far more effective if we focused on all things we can control instead; if we stopped worrying about the indefinite and started benefiting from the guaranteed? When I begin to feel out of control, I have learned to go back to what I have control over in order to bring me back to center.
“Why worry about things you can’t control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you?” ~Unknown
So, before we talk about the steps to get your life under control here are some things you can control right now in your life:
- How you breath when you are under stress
- How many times you smile today.
- Your level of honesty.
- How well you prepare.
- How often you meditate.
- How often you say “thank you.”
- How often you notice and appreciate small acts of kindness.
- How quickly you try again after you fall.
- How many times you say “I love you.”
- How much rest you get at night.
- Whether you listen or wait to talk.
- When you walk away from a conversation
- How nice you are to yourself in your head
- Whether you think positive or negative thoughts.
- How much time you spend worrying.
- The type of food you eat.
- When you answer someone’s question—or email or call
- How much exercise you get.
- How many risks you take
- Whether or not you decide to be happy or not
So, here are some proven steps to get you to refocus and get your life back from the edge of the abyss that I have personally used:
1. Offer help to others.
When you focus on someone else’s emotional or physical needs instead of dwelling on what has happened to you, you’re too busy to think about what happened, and you feel a sense of accomplishment instead of hopelessness.
Perhaps your earthshaking event is you lost your job due to downsizing leaving you jobless. You are rightfully devastated by the news but you know you’re capable of updating your resume to pursue a new job.
What about the person who works beside you and has never written a resume before? Why not suggest you work together to prepare both resumes? Arrange to do mock interviews for each other. A trial run can help alleviate the nervousness, fine tune your own skills, and could just outright make you laugh when you are at a time in your life when you need it most.
2. Look at the event as a not so gentle reminder.
It is so easy to take your life and people you love for granted. When something shakes up your world, it might just be the reminder you need to appreciate everyone, including yourself.
It is easy to perceive there are more important things to do rather than spend time with your loved ones. You don’t have time to go for a walk or sit together and talk. You have to get the kids somewhere, or perhaps finish that report.
And what about for yourself, when is the last time you took even a few minutes just for you. There’s always tomorrow, right?
When an earthshaking event happens, be grateful for the reminder that you can’t count on there being a tomorrow. Find the time for the people that matter to you, including yourself right now!
Looking for the silver lining like this goes a long way toward helping you deal with it and returns a sense of control in a situation that you didn’t initiate.
3. Respect and accept the strength of forces larger than yourself.
The smartest people in the world with the best resources could never stop an earthquake from happening. Sometimes you need to accept that there are forces larger than you at play. Accepting that you simply cannot control everything is an integral part of dealing with difficulties.
4. Appreciate twists in the adventure.
Limiting yourself in fear of what you can’t control will do you no good. Appreciate the adventure of not knowing what might happen next.
Roller-coasters, bungee-jumping, sky-diving, and many other man-made attractions are put in place to give people an adrenaline rush—a sensation that while it is happening, you are out of control and terrified. The pay-off is when it is over. Your heart is racing, your palms are sweating, and perhaps you are even feeling nauseous—but you did it!
By considering your earth-shattering event an adventure, you become a contender, no longer a victim holding yourself back. You regain control and are better prepared to find ways to get through it.
5. Consider how it helps you grow.
Every experience is a life lesson. You will be wiser, emotionally stronger, and perhaps have some newfound knowledge or skill in an area you knew nothing about before.
You and your family used to eat out all the time. But now, loss of a job means you no longer can afford to do that. At times you’re not sure how you can even afford to make a meal at home. Out of necessity you get creative. You seek out recipes that are most economical, invent a few of your own. You discover a passion for cooking.
You were considering going back to school for retraining but had no idea what you would study. Maybe now you do. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs achieved their status from having to deal with a situation they had no control over.
6. Be proud of yourself.
As you work through an earthshaking event, give yourself credit for every step forward. By acknowledging your achievements, no matter how small, you regain trust in your ability to fix what you didn’t break. You empower yourself to take the next step. Besides, the situation is beating you up enough—don’t help it!
Odds are, some of these resonate with you more than others; so what? You can’t do all of these things at once anyway. When I start fixating on something I can’t control, I pick just one of these to think about instead. Minor changes in thinking, I’ve found, lead to major changes in my reality.
I leave you with this great quote by Mary Davis:
Inhale Peace – Exhale Stress
Inhale Calm – Exhale Worry
And remember, it won’t last forever…Trust me on that…