Most of us have patterns for responding to disappointment in our lives. Maybe you tend to panic or isolate or get crazy busy trying to “fix it”? Maybe you talk about it to everyone and anyone, trying to get a handle on it and identify the ‘best’ way forward, not realizing you’re actually fueling the challenge in this way.
With September looming and the start of the new school year, it can have the same kind of energy as the start of the calendar year. That sense of optimism and new year, new resolutions. In the autumn, however, that energy can often be tinged with disappointment. Are you feeling very aware that 2/3rd of the year has gone by and you still haven’t achieved what you set out to achieve in 2022?
Is that you? Are you beating yourself up that you haven’t created the relationship you’d love or the fitness goals you desired? Maybe you’re still stuck in a role you’ve outgrown? Or maybe you’re making progress on some of those fronts but you’ve had some setbacks and they’re keeping you stuck?
Up until now, you and I have patterned reactions to setbacks or lack of progress. And here’s the good news! You don’t have to respond to challenges in that same old way. You can dictate your emotional response and there is great power in doing so.
So today I want to share with you a wonderful tool for dealing with challenge, setbacks and adversity. The next time something bad happens – and remember, you have the power of discerning what is bad and what isn’t – but let’s say you perceive it as bad, these are the three steps to follow:
- Push your internal pause button and schedule a time in your diary three days out. Basically, you are saying to yourself, I don’t have to react to this now. I’ll worry about it on [whatever day it is that’s three days away].
- Turn up the dial on your own curiosity of all the possible good that can come out of this situation and take any step that’s yours to take to enable that good.
- On day 3, go ahead and worry.
My mentor, Mary Morrissey teaches this tool. And she shares the story of when she first heard of it, she was married with a young family, about to start her teaching degree, and her husband came home, ashen faced, to tell her he’d been laid off work.
She shares how her immediate reaction was ‘this is bad. This is really bad. How can we afford to live, how can I keep going with my studies?’ They’d recently been at a seminar together where the idea of pausing one’s reactions and scheduling a time to worry was taught to them and with some reluctance, they decided to put the tool to the test. They agreed they’d panic in three days time and in the meantime they’d look for the possible good. These are some of the possibilities they identified:
- Her husband could get a new job
- He could get work closer to home
- If he had a shorter commute, maybe he could cycle to work, which he’d love
- He could get a job that paid a bit more
With these possibilities in mind, her husband spent the next couple of days going around to companies in the locality with his CV. Within 2 days he’d found a new job! This job was closer to home and did pay a little more. And he was able to cycle to work!
When Mary teaches this tool and her first experience of it at work in her life, she talks about her realisation that ‘I saved myself the panic and allowed space for something good to emerge’.
And that’s my invitation to you, to use this process to repattern your emotional responses to challenges in your life and create space for good to emerge.
Does every challenge get resolved within 3 days? Maybe not! So here are some suggestions for how best to respond if you get to day 3 and panic is high and fear is present. Schedule an appointment in your diary for 15 minutes on day 3: Disappointment Appointment.
During your 15 minutes, follow these 2 steps:
- Write out the fear. How am I going to pay my bills, talk to that person, find the love of my life…? As you write, it diffuses the energy. Your mind wants to catastrophize so writing about it helps you to stare in down. Take some time to capture what the fear/worry/doubt/disappointment is saying. Paint it red, not more, not less than it really is.
- Write out a higher perspective on the situation. The truth is that you are bigger than any situation, circumstance or challenge in your life. You are a son or daughter of Life. If you need reminding of this, have a listen to this beautiful recording by a client of mine, drawing on Rumi’s work. What’s a different perspective you can take on this? Like Mary Morrissey and her husband did, write a list of the possible good that could come of the situation or challenge. You may also write things like, I’m grateful for this opportunity to grow and learn (again!). I know there is good here and I’m open to it revealing itself to me. I’m grateful to know that there’s a bigger picture here, that I can’t see right now, but I’m trusting that it’s there.
As you explore a higher perspective, notice what shifts inside of you. Notice that as you raise your vibration to a higher order of thinking, therein lie the ideas and opportunities for resolving this situation.
The gift of perception is what allows you to be the architect of your future, rather than a victim of disappointment/circumstances. You have this gift within you and I’m reminding you of that today to support you in being your best no matter what is happening around you.
Do an experiment and see where it takes you, with a current or next challenge or set back. I’d love to hear your experiences and I inviting you to share how it goes here or DM me!