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What Do You Do When Storms Hit?

Aug 17, 2007
When you're a motorcycle fan like me, and you reside in the never-ending winters of the Northeast, you live for the arrival of warm spring weather. Well, the first day of spring has come and gone, but, so far, the season has not been what I was hoping for. In fact, this spring has already ushered in two major snowstorms, and Easter Sunday was colder than last Christmas day. Go figure!

This turbulent spring, with its unseasonable temps and unexpectedly wicked weather, is a great metaphor for the events of the last two months of my life. Just when I thought everything was gliding along perfectly, a couple of unexpected big storms hit.

Back in February, I came down with what I thought was a common flu. Bad enough. But then my flu turned into a whopping case of pneumonia that knocked me flat on my back for six weeks. Then the pneumonia somehow triggered a bout with asthma. I can forget jumping on my bike for a long ride anytime soon. Instead, I am struggling to just walk around the block without losing my breath.

I have been put on medication until further notice. True to the way things had been going, the medication they prescribed is one that my insurance company does not cover and costs $300 a month out-of-pocket.

In the same six weeks, I also experienced a staggering business loss, which will probably lead to the closing of one of my businesses I have owned for more than 20 years.

My saga goes on and on, but I won't bore you with the sad and sorry details because that's not what this article is about.

This article is about what to do when life's storms hit-as sooner or later they do for each of us. It's about reminding you that when that happens, you will do well to remember what you already know: that inside of you are stored all the tools you need to face any storm with calm confidence. No matter what hits, you already own all the most powerful equipment you need to come out stronger.

My personal dilemmas knocked me flat. Ordinarily, I am used to facing challenges-in fact, I welcome them. But this time, it was not so easy for me. This time, my life circumstances were so tough; I began to lose my way. I began losing my sense of self. I temporarily forgot that I had choices and I could change the way I was showing up for myself during this most difficult time.

Instead, I lapsed into feeling like a total victim.

Fortunately, I have a couple of people in my life who really care about me enough to not only tell me the truth-that I was complaining and playing the victim role and that "victim" was not who they knew me to be-but that I have all kinds of tools at my disposal to feel better anytime I want. They pointed out that I was not using the tools in my tool bag and reminded me to start using them again ASAP.

The first thing I had to do was identify the tools I knew would be most effective for me. For example, although I had not stopped my daily practice of prayer, I knew I could benefit right away by increasing the time I spent asking for strength and direction from my Higher Power. So praying more became my first tool that I reached for.

My second tool was to start turning inward and listening to myself through meditation. I had not been meditating at all and I know that tuning out the noise and getting quiet and calm is a highly effective way to soothe the spirit and reconnect with personal power. So I promised myself I would do that.

My third tool was to stop complaining about what I don't want and start shifting my focus toward what I do want. It's just the other side of the same coin, really, but flipping that coin made all the difference in how I felt.

My fourth tool was to really spend time every day in genuine gratitude for what I do have in my life. Such positive awareness can be the most powerful step of all.

And finally, the fifth tool I put into place was a sorting process. As I started to feel better physically and mentally, I took some action on the things I knew I could influence, and left alone those things over which I had no control or that were none of my business.

As I sit here this morning writing this article, nothing much on the outside has really changed. I still have very real concerns for my health, and my business is still in serious flux.

But on the inside, everything has changed.

On the inside, I am back to feeling centered and empowered, certain that whatever comes next is going to be incredible.

The main lesson I am learning from all of this is that everything happens for a reason and I do not always have to know what is going to happen next. It won't kill me to just sit with the not knowing. It could even be fun!
About the Author
Steve Kennedy is a professionally trained and certified co-active coach with a passion for "The Game of Business." Steve new book, 'Winning the Game of Business: The Entrepreneur's Quest for Ultimate Success', is due late Spring 2007. To learn more visit: http://www.winningthegameofbusiness.com
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