Archive for October 2012

How to be Storm Ready and Survive Life’s Toughest Moments

How to survive life's toughest moments

As Hurricane Sandy unleashes its fury on the east coast of America, millions of anxious people all along the east coast are living the nightmare.

We all face dramatic storms that change our lives forever. Maybe yours have included the death or serious illness of someone you love, losing your home, prolonged stress or the inevitable but painful end of an important relationship.

Sadly, the impact of these events can be devastating, leaving you bruised and battered for years.

Yet, as bad as they can be, major life storms do pass and life does go on, albeit dramatically changed. Life itself is a series of unstable, tumultuous times and quieter periods and while we often can’t change them, we can control how we deal with them.

Regardless of whether you’re currently in the eye of a ferocious storm or enjoying relative peace and stability, it’s wise to have a ‘Storm Kit’ ready for whatever life throws at you next.

Packing a Storm Kit won’t make bad things happen. Like life insurance or airbags in your car, it will mean you’re well prepared. So, let’s pack you a Storm Kit for when the storm clouds next gather in your life.

7 Storm Kit Essentials

1. Create an early warning device

Not so long ago we had little or no warning of pending disasters. In the same way we now the ‘know how’ to predict major storms, you too have early warning devices to anticipate the events that could upend your life.

Listen to your intuition – if something just doesn’t feel right, act on it. Recognise and acknowledge the indicators that tell you all’s not well. Increased conflict in a relationship, significant change at home or work and the health and wellbeing of those you love all provide vital clues.

2. Prepare for the worst and be ready to do and be your best

Once you know that a big storm is on its way, inevitable and that you’ll be right in its path, it’s time to batten down the hatches and prepare.

If possible, get out of the storm’s direct path. Knowing what’s within your control, do what you can to diffuse stress and decide how you want to ride it out. Consciously choose how you’ll respond, put coping strategies in place and be kind to yourself.

Remember, you’re stronger and more resilient than you may feel right now.

3. Know your priorities

Write down what’s important. You won’t be able to take everything with you and that’s a good thing! Let go of  everything that doesn’t really matter. Offload beliefs, responsibilities and tasks that will suffer if you struggle to maintain them as the storm unfolds.

Focus only on what’s important to clear the clutter of what keeps you busy but doesn’t add real value. If you’re not sure what’s important, clarify your core values and beliefs and use them to guide you.

4. Call on your powerful Inner Resources

Inner Resources are those internal ‘states of being’ we draw on to give us the strength and courage to face the worst that life throws at us. In times of crisis, these include faith, persistence, calm, resilience and perspective.

Think of a time when you’ve survived a potentially debilitating life crisis in the past. What was it that got you through?

Even in your darkest hour, there will be strong beliefs and ways of being that kept you going. Having called on them before, you know with absolute certainty that you can call on them again this time.

5. Have essential emergency supplies on hand

Both practical and emotional, emergency supplies are anything to make the crisis more bearable as the storm passes through your life. Stock up on healthy food, treats that make you feel better and activities to recharge your batteries and help pass the time.

One of my clients who was nursing her father through a prolonged and painful terminal illness, found comfort working on a beautiful tapestry. Sitting next to his bed for long hours as he lapsed in and out of consciousness, she patiently stitched. While it gave her something productive to do, each stitch created a precious bond with her father that would live on long after he was gone.

6. Build a strong support team

This isn’t a time to be stoic and brave – never go through a major crisis alone! Decide who you want in your life at this time and reach out for help. We all need connection with others and this is even more important during a crisis.

Close family, friends and caring professionals will do all they can to help you out and sharing the experience will lighten the load. Even asking for help with something seemingly small will make a big difference.

7. Create a mop-up plan

Knowing this storm will pass, turn your attention to what you will do when it’s all over. Making plans for life after the storm reminds you that life will get better. Major life storms have an uncanny way of bringing you new choices.

How will life be different and what opportunities await you on the other side? Even if you can’t predict exactly how you’ll feel or what life will be like, now’s the time to start planning optimistically for the future.

Change is inevitable and making it through to the other side alive means picking yourself up and moving on, when you’re ready. Give yourself time to heal and with firm resolve, know you have everything you need to move forward to a brighter future.

Carpe Diem

Caroline Cameron

 

 

 

PS. Even if you’re not currently facing a major ‘life storm’, you may know someone who is. Please share these tips and help lighten their day.

If Only I’d Known That Back Then…

Top 12 Life Lessons to replace struggle with ease

Life Lessons_If Only I'd Known THAT Back When...

Ahhh, hindsight – it’s a beautiful thing!  One of the best parts of growing older is the wisdom that comes with life experience. Like many wide-eyed 18 year olds, I launched into my adult life full of expectation, enthusiasm, energy and more than a little naivety.

10 major career and countless life changes later, only the naivety has gone and curiously, I learn much more quickly these days!

Whenever I gain a blinding new insight or learn a new skill, I find myself thinking, ‘if only I’d known that back when I was …[insert life struggle]’.

So here are my Top 12 Life Lessons shared to make your life easier:

  1. Every question has an answer and every problem a solution

Once you believe this, you’ll never be stuck again!  Even ‘do nothing’ or ‘do it later’ are solutions.  If you don’t know, someone else will – it’s just a matter of reaching out and asking.

  1. You can’t hang your star of happiness on someone else’s tree

In the same way we hang decorations on a Christmas Tree, we often abdicate the responsibility for our happiness to someone else. If you’re waiting for someone else to make you happy, you could be waiting a long time.  Be happy with and for people, not because of them.

  1. The best lessons come from the toughest stuff

While I’d not have chosen some of the challenges life has sent my way, I am grateful for what I learnt from them.  We never really know what we’re capable of until we’re tested.  Remember, when you’re going through a rough patch, you’re quietly building courage, resilience and confidence – inner resources you can call on anytime.

  1. This too will pass

The best thing about tough times is that they don’t last forever.  When the clouds part to let the sunshine in, leave the pain behind and take the lessons with you.  The greatest of times are often momentary too so embrace them for all they give you and cherish the memories.

  1. You always have a choice

Wow!  This is so simple and yet I only figured it out a few years back.  Once you adopt this one, you can wipe out self doubt.  We may not be able to control the events in our lives but we always have a choice about what meaning to put on them.

  1. Other people aren’t right or wrong – they’re just different

When someone annoys or disappoints us, chances are they’re pressing one of our core value buttons. Even though they may claim to hold the same values as you (eg integrity, respect, loyalty or achievement), their actions and words may appear to be incongruent. All that’s happening is they’re putting a different meaning on that value.  Neither right or wrong, it just is.

Respecting others beliefs and values doesn’t mean you have to compromise your own so there’s nothing to fear or protect.

  1. Everyone’s doing the best they can with what they’ve got – save judgement for something that needs it

No one sets out to do the wrong thing intentionally. The action or words may not be right by your personal principles but judgement won’t change them.  It merely leaves you frustrated, angry, drained and helpless.

Focusing on the behaviour rather than the person (play the ball, rather than the man) fosters acceptance, maintains perspective and keeps your emotional energy and powder dry for something that really does matter.

  1. Do something good for someone else every day, expecting nothing in return

The world and everyone in it owe you nothing!  Doing something selfless feels great because you know you’ve made a difference without expecting it to be reciprocated.  Being generous in all you say and do costs very little and has the potential to be profound.

It costs nothing to smile, appreciate and deliver a random act of kindness. Life is karmic and one day someone will do something incredibly generous for you.

  1. History never repeats and the past is never the future

Thank goodness!  Historical scars and baggage can hold us back from trying something new.  Circumstances and you have changed.  As you attempt something you’ve failed at in the past, remember you are now wiser and better prepared.

  1. Regret, guilt and self-doubt are futile

Seriously, if I had a dollar for all the time, head space and energy I’ve invested in negative emotions in the past, I’d be rich!  There is nothing to be gained for anyone, least of all you, by rehashing the past and beating yourself up.

Accept that you did the best you could under the circumstances and let it go.

  1. Every day is a brand new sheet of paper – write on it whatever you like!

No matter how bad yesterday was or how uncertain tomorrow looks, today is a brand new one. Only take with you that which is useful and decide how you want to live this one day.

Isn’t it great that we get to start over every 24 hours?

  1. Be the best version of yourself you can be, always.

Trying to be someone you’re not to live up to others’ expectations, is exhausting! Living your best life means being you to the best of your ability. You know when you’re being truly authentic when there’s no internal conflict going on, no matter what.  Rather than wrestling your demons, make peace with them and accept yourself for who you are.

After all, there’s only one amazing, talented, beautiful, wonderful you!

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

PS. The Great Life Redesign has more Pearls of Wisdom to help you replace struggle with ease.