This has turned out to be among the top 3 most challenging years I’ve experienced. Not my favorite, but certainly a learning experience.
If you find yourself in a personal storm, below are 8 actions for letting go and moving forward.
When a personal storm hits
Living a full life, for better and worse, sometimes includes personal trials. If you find yourself in a situation that even with all of your tools you cannot shake off the turbulence, then try to recognize that you’ve just entered into a personal test.
These tests are a gift, although they may not feel like it. They are our opportunity to grow to the next level of our capacity. If, like me, your first reaction isn’t to say “yay, a personal storm”, you may find it helpful to hold onto this African Proverb: smooth seas do not make for skillful sailors.
These life storms can be rough, but if (when) you experience one, try to remind yourself that you have everything within you to make it through to the other side. Be compassionate to yourself and continue to take one step at a time as you zig and zag in the direction of your ideal outcome. If you don’t have clarity about your ideal outcome, you may want to check out the True North exercise in chapter two of The Busy Woman’s Guidebook to Vibrant Vitality.
There will eventually come a day that you’ll notice you are out of the worst of the storm. Even if the circumstances have not yet fully shifted, you’ll notice you have grown enough to navigate what is. That’s when you’ll need to get out of the habit of operating in a storm and move back into your natural rhythm and flow.
Once we create habits, even those that are unpleasant like weathering a storm, we need to be deliberate in our actions until we can hear our next path forward.
The first step is to gather the lessons you’ve learned from the experience. Notice what you’ve learned and write it down.
Next notice the ways you’ve grown. Similar to how a sustained physical workout is the path to growing stronger muscles, a life challenge can offer you the opportunity to grow as well.
Finally, let the rest go. It’s not easy to do, however I highly encourage you to try. I wrestled with this one a lot. What finally helped me get comfortable with working towards letting the rest go was to remind myself of the opportunity cost of those thoughts.
Holding onto the residue of the challenge occupies precious real estate in our thoughts that could otherwise be focused on our path forward.
Paul Graham wrote an essay titled “The Top Idea in your Mind” and in it he wrote “I’ve found I can to some extent avoid thinking about… by telling myself: this doesn’t deserve space in my head”.
How can you apply that to your situation now?
Actions for Letting Go and Moving Forward
If you find yourself in a personal storm, I wish for you grace and strength as you move through it. As best as you can, be compassionate with yourself, stay solution-focused, and remember that our challenges compost into fertile soil.
Here are the actions for letting go and moving forward
- If you find yourself in a personal storm, use your tools to aim to get back to your center
- If you find that even with all of your tools, you cannot shake off the turbulence, then recognize you’ve just entered a personal test; an opportunity to grow to the next level of your capacity
- Remind yourself that you have everything within you to make it through to the other side. Be compassionate to yourself and continue to take one step at a time as you zig and zag in the direction of your ideal outcome.
- When you are out of the worst of the storm, take deliberate actions forward.
- Gather the lessons you’ve learned from the experience and take them with you
- Notice and celebrate the ways you have grown
- Leave the rest behind
- Plant a beautiful future in the fertile soil of your composted challenges