The other day, my yoga teacher Kofi said “The Yogi is someone who takes responsibility for the thoughts that go through their mind.” I love the simplicity and deep meaning behind this quote, and it fits perfectly with my recent podcasts on managing your thoughts. This week, I want to talk about managing your thoughts when things aren’t going your way.
I find that many of my clients come to me feeling overwhelmed about having to do it all, while also wanting more out of their life. It feels like they can’t keep up in life as it is, so going after their bigger dreams seems impossible. My coaching approach is an active process, and I know (and want you to accept) that your circumstances and the balance between the different parts of your life will always be shifting.
What this means is that I encourage you and show you how to take action in your life, so you can learn as you go. Sometimes, you’ll spend more time and effort on your family. At other times, your career will need the most attention or it may be your health. Your attention and efforts will likely never be equally distributed between everything, but with some awareness, it shouldn’t get too far out of balance, either.
I also want you to be aware of and accepting of the present. Not only so you can enjoy what you have now, but so you can make the best choices toward your Extraordinary Life as they fit with your current circumstances. Life seems to “just happen” sometimes, and sometimes those blocks are hard to ignore. While some people are inclined to just push through, I believe that if you want to achieve your dreams in a sustainable way, there is a better approach.
Things are always going to pop up in your life that weren’t on your roadmap. Maybe you get an unexpected promotion that changes your stress-level at work and brings in extra income, or your elderly parent gets sick and needs attention. Perhaps you are a new parent and misjudged how much time you really wanted to be at home with your family. When life throws you a curveball, you might need to make a conscious choice to slow down on realizing your dreams for a while… but if those dreams are still important to you, you need to stay connected to them, too.
The best example I can come up with that we can all relate to is the pandemic. No one was expecting the world to come to a screeching halt like it did in 2020, and it changed all of our lives in various ways. You know that I’m intent on creating my Extraordinary Life no matter what, and that included during the pandemic. Yes, many things were put on hold, but I still kept my dreams front and center (even if I pressed pause on them for a while). Here’s how I managed to keep my mind on track through it all.
My business is almost entirely run online, so when things shut down I didn’t have to change a lot. However, many of those in my networking community were panicking! How could they shift to working remotely and using Zoom when they’ve never had to do it before? I decided to hold a few informal workshops to help them, because it was easy for me. It also helped me to focus on someone else, and not myself.
If you are feeling frustrated or having trouble managing your thoughts, try helping someone else. It’s hard to be helpful while focusing on your own problems.
Once it was clear that my kids were going to be doing school work from home for an indefinite amount of time, it seemed important to spend more time with them while I had the opportunity. Prior to that, my teens were often with their friends when not at school or studying. I normally kept strong boundaries around my work, but I consciously decided to soften them and make myself more available to my kids during that time.
I also decided to focus on my fitness more. I started mountain biking again with my husband and my son because we suddenly had an abundance of time on our hands. It was also another opportunity to strengthen my relationship with them both, and it seemed more important to do that than grow my business.
With the new opportunity of time with my family in front of me, paired with all the other stuff of the pandemic, I decided to coast through life for a while. Note that this conscious choice is very different from living life on auto-pilot! I still kept a connection with people online who knew about my goals, kept going with my blog, and revisited my ten dreams for ten years each day. I just stopped doing the extra things to move my dreams forward for a short time.
Later in the summer of 2020, northern California experienced hundreds of fires that started from a lightning storm. One of the bigger fires ended up only miles from my home. There was a lot of panic as the evacuations got closer and closer, and we even moved our most important belongings to a friend’s home some distance away. While we were never officially evacuated, we did spend one night away from home out of caution. It was scary, and we know many people who lost their homes and everything in them.
After such a close call, I chose to take time to show gratitude and appreciation for my home. Somehow over seven long weekends I painted the entire interior of our home, other than the master bedroom and bath. I did it mostly on my own, and I honestly don’t know where I got the energy because it was a huge undertaking. The process really did help calm my mind and thoughts, and it felt like I was accomplishing something with tangible results.
2020 was a mess for me, as it was for most of us. But, as our family settled into a pattern and the kids slowly returned to class, my focus naturally shifted back to my business because I’d stayed connected to my goals and dreams. Thanks to my networking friends, making use of coaching programs myself, and of course writing those five things I'm grateful for and my ten goals and dreams every morning, I was ready to pick up where I’d left off.
If you’ve been feeling untethered and don’t know where to focus your energy these days, my Design Your Decade Workshop will help you find clarity on where you want to go. I have live workshops coming soon, or you can jump in with the DIY version any time.
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