Since returning from holiday I've noticed an extraordinarily consistent trend. Lots of people seem to be entering a period of uncertainty, turbulence and change. There's a general sense of feeling unsettled, off-kilter and in a state of flux, and many people are re-assessing their lives.
What's going on?
According to an astrologer friend of mine, the answer could literally lie in the stars! Apparently, the unusual alignment of the planets this year has been causing chaos all over the place. Think of the riots in England this summer; the uprisings of the Arab Spring; the turmoil in the financial markets…
But its impact is being felt on an individual / personal level as well. The way people are experiencing this, she says, is like trying to dance on a moving carpet.
What a great description.
When faced with the unnerving sensation of trying to dance on a moving carpet, what do you do? Do you stay where you are, try to keep your balance and go with the flow? Do you hunker down, grip onto the carpet for dear life and wait for things to quieten down? Or do you throw caution to the wind, see it as an opportunity for change, and pitch yourself off the carpet?
Who knows, maybe this is an ideal opportunity for change, if you're willing to take the risk. To quote Julia Cameron, who wrote the excellent book 'The Artist's Way': "Leap and the net will appear."
If you're experiencing some of the turbulence I've described, here are some tips for surviving the bumpy ride.
Focus on Priorities
While everything else may be shifting, having clarity on what's truly important to you will help you feel more grounded. What are the non-negotiables in your life? Is it your family – your friends – your work? Is it your passion for travel – for art – for your home or community – for helping others – for sport? Regardless of what the future may hold, make a list of the things you absolutely know you'd want to take with you and be part of your future landscape.
Focus on the Future
If you're seeing this period as an opportunity for change, how do you want your future to look? Open up some possibilites by completing these sentences:
If I really had my way I'd …
If I wasn't afraid I'd …
Write a detailed description of how you'd like your life to look in a year's time (this could be a way to refine your priorities list above.)
Focus on Support
During any period of uncertainty or change, having a solid support team behind you can make a huge difference. Rally the troops but choose carefully. The people we spend time with can have a significant impact on our success. So choose those who will encourage you, give you constructive feedback, help you to make great decisions, be your cheer-leaders and pick you up when you falter.
Focus on Action, not Fear
Contemplating change (jumping off the carpet) can feel very unnerving. Fear feels real, but it is, in fact, just a thought. Here's an excerpt from a newsletter by Michael Neil www.geniuscatalyst.com which I think puts it brilliantly:
"Steve Chandler uses the analogy of a young child drawing a picture of a monster on a piece of paper and then running out of the room in terror. We create a scary thought in our mind, and because we do not recognize ourselves as its creator, we are run ragged by that thought, doing all sorts of things to avoid an imaginary consequence that we ourselves have constructed.
The exact moment the child sees that the monster is just a drawing and can't hurt it, the fear is gone. And the moment the child sees him or herself as the creator of the drawing, the very same thing that was so frightening becomes fascinating.
And the same is true for each one of us. The moment we see that our own deepest, darkest fears are just a thought, we open up a space in our minds for our innate health and wisdom and well-being to come through…
… And the moment we recognize that we ourselves are the creators of our own experience, this very same world that was once so frightening becomes an endlessly, wonderfully fascinating place to be."
And finally …
Above all, if you are experiencing a period of uncertainty, it helps to focus on what's positive in your life and, if you can, to see challenges as opportunities.
Hold on tight and have a great month!
P.S. I'm planning to run some new Coaching Support Groups - in person and by phone – soon. If you'd like to know more, please click here (scroll to the bottom of the page) or contact me for more information. Spaces will be limited.
© Annabel Sutton, Coaching Tips – 2011