We're well into the 4th quarter and for some, that means thinking about the next steps. So I want to use this post to scratch around the surface, and figure out what that means for some of us. It goes without saying, that life has changed. The job market has drastically changed. How we are working these days, and for most of us, where we are working looks and feels totally different. Many of us are working from home now. That means we are creating dedicated workspaces in our spare bedrooms or at the kitchen table, to help us focus and attempt to adjust to our new surroundings. There's also the rest of our lives and the changes we have had to make to accommodate those differences. Our kids are homeschooled full-time or part-time, and probably doing so in the same space that has now become your new office. All of this is a lot to contend with, and yet, we are all still contending. If you are not working from home, then you have had to adjust to daily temperature checks, wearing a face mask or some sort of face covering. Not to mention, the discomfort that comes along with the new mask routine. This introduction of new routines has forced us all to make adjustments that we probably never would have considered in our previous life. As a result, we've had to figure out what we need to change and how to adjust to those changes moving forward. I won't lie, for me personally, this has not come without some level of resistance. Fighting against what I am experiencing vs. what I'd prefer to be doing. The resistance part can quickly become draining. Completely exhausting. It's that realization that prompts this post. So, I want to use this week's 4th Quarter Reset to talk about being flexible, making adjustments, and deciding to move forward.
Denial - This is where most of us begin. It's definitely where I tend to begin when I have to deal with an unexpected change. In complete denial. Things can happen so fast, and at a certain point, I am unclear if I can keep up. It's in these moments that it just feels safer to downplay a situation or say that it doesn't exist altogether. This approach is only so good, for so long. And eventually, you will have to consent to whatever the change is and decide to deal with it.
Resistance - Denial and resistance feel like the ugly twins from a horror movie. Your response to both of them is similar. But resistance is a push and pull. Denial is complete avoidance and a refusal to acknowledge that something has changed. Meanwhile, resistance knows that you know this is not a drill. This is real. Resistance refuses to go down without a fight. Resistance can quickly become exhausting. Especially if the thing you are resisting is bigger than you, well underway, and the manner that you have chosen to fight, isn't appropriate for the situation. All of that can weigh and wear you down. But resistance does lend itself to a personal awakening. Resistance is a real eye-opener. Out of resistance, perspective is born. You can either continue fighting in this ill-prepared manner, or you can settle your spirit and find a way forward.
Acknowledgment - Resistance ultimately forces us to acknowledge that whatever we are trying to avoid, or pretending doesn't exist is happening. It's happening to us, it's happening now and we can't ignore it any longer. We have to deal with it. This part isn't as bad as it would seem. We're no longer wasting time, fighting against what is happening. No longer wasting time burying our head in the sand. Acknowledgment helps us face this impasse straight on, and devise a plan to move forward. At this point, we realize it's us and our thoughts and our future. This in your face, come-to-Jesus moment helps us to adjust, take a breath, and get to work.
Plan - Now that we know we have to do something different, we need to figure out the details. The good thing is that we don't need to figure out all the details at once. We can put so much pressure on ourselves to see the full picture and all the details. We don't. It's okay to allow yourself to take it one step at a time. The truth is, no one can climb an entire staircase in just one step. So be gentle with yourself. You don't need to climb the entire staircase, you only need to get on the next step. While it is probably easier said than done...it is doable. Yes, you can absolutely do it. Decide what part of the change you can make, come up with a plan to get started.
Give yourself time to adjust - It's unrealistic to think that you will adjust to something new immediately, or even overnight. Evolution is a process. Adjusting to change takes time and it's definitely a process. Make sure you are clear about the time you will need to adjust and what you will need to be successful. Remember this is just the first step. The next step will reveal itself when you are ready to move. Keep in mind you are not changing at the rate or pace that someone else is. So don't compare your progress with anyone else's. You are climbing your own staircase. Also, be mindful that change requires some undoing and rethinking. So don't feel pressured to make sweeping changes to everything around you. This will all take time. Some thoughts and behaviors will eventually adjust or be totally unraveled. You'll learn what that is as you continue to make progress. This new step is different. The only point of reference you have is the last step you were on. So even if you initially rely on old thoughts, those too will begin to adjust to whatever the new step brings. It's important to be open. Be open to learning new things, new strategies, new traditions, and new behaviors. Learn to trust yourself, trust your spirit.
Celebrate your progress - This is important. By this point, you'll have done a lot. Probably more than you thought you could. Take a moment and celebrate that. It doesn't matter how you celebrate, but just take a moment to recognize yourself for growing, learning and moving. It was hard to manage the anxiety and fears you had. But you did it. You made changes despite the criticisms of those around you. You trusted yourself. Trusted the nudge, trusted your gut. Kept going. This transition is helping you become a better, stronger version of yourself. I won't try and convince you that the next step will be easier. It will come with a level of uncertainty, apprehension and discomfort as the previous step. But after getting over the first, you know what it takes. Now you what you are capable of. If you can see yourself on the other side, even if just for a brief moment, then you owe it to yourself to celebrate how far you've come.
We have to learn to be gentle with ourselves. We have the ability to consume so much of what's happening in the world. That access to information causes us to compare ourselves to every thing that everyone is doing. It's important to let that go and disconnect from the outside noise. The changes you need to make for your life, can't be decided based on what is happening on someone else's staircase, or in someone else's house. Learn to make necessary changes so that you can move forward in the progress and joy that is meant for you. Remember it's okay to ask for help. It's okay to acknowledge that you need a moment. It's okay to rest and sit still. As long as you keep moving after you have recovered.
I believe this is as true for me as it is for you. You can and will be the best version of yourself. Learn to acknowledge what is in front of you, create a strategy to move forward, celebrate your progress, and most of all, be gentle with yourself. You have permission!
These are absolutely my thoughts...