What is certain about LIFE is its uncertainty and with this comes daily challenges and opportunities. Sometimes these are small and easy to navigate and other times they are significant game changers. Being able to meet these moments, recognise their potential and turn them into a source of learning, growth and power is the key to living optimally.
Over the past 6 years working with a diverse range of clients on every topic imaginable I have found these core skills are essential to meeting anything and everything life throws at you.
Let go of struggle.
The root of most general unhappiness is struggle. This occurs when you attempt to control, change or fix a situation you have no real influence over. You may lose your job, be passed over for promotion, get sick, your partner ups and leaves or you can’t get pregnant. All these events occur daily, are painful and need to be grieved. Grieving is a natural, healthy and powerful process that allows losses to be acknowledged, mourned and released. Failing to grieve is what can keep you stuck in cycles of self-defeatism, blame, anger, sadness and depression.
Take on the challenge.
Challenge is a situation, person or event that appears to be in the way of getting what you want or sabotaging your success. You know it is a challenge when moving past it asks you to side-step your ego, step out of your comfort zone, take a risk or change your approach. Challenges become struggles when you resist making the change needed or get stuck in blame, defensiveness or self-defeatism. Learning to view challenge as tool for personal growth allows you to side step struggle, seek out the change that needs to happen and take the appropriate steps to move forward in a life enhancing way.
Find the opportunity.
Every form of struggle and challenge comes with a hidden opportunity to learn, grow and evolve your perspectives and in doing so become wiser. It is not always easy to see the silver lining when you have suffered a major setback, lost confidence, are feeling low, are in emotional pain or afraid of failing. To live with confidence, clarity and inner peace requires moving past resistance to meet these challenges and actively seek out their potential. From here it is possible to influence your circumstances and build a strategy to move forward.
Drop the baggage.
Baggage is a collection of painful past experiences, misguided childhood learnings, cultural fears and unmet expectations that keep you living small. Combined these become hidden beliefs that hold you back from taking risks, being adventurous, being visible or following your dreams. Most baggage is a collection of ‘shoulds’ that come from outside influences such as family, schools, media and society and have little to do with what is right for you. Taking the time to look inside and empty out what no longer serves you makes room for new and exciting possibilities.
Reveal the wisdom.
Wisdom is the ability to know what is right and to look beyond the surface for deeper truths about your situation. Wise people are those who choose to explore their life experiences from a higher ground in order to evolve as a human being. In the past elders offered counsel drawing from the wisdom of their ancestors, GOD and the natural world and upheld a set of rules that governed the integrity of their people. This safety net no longer exists so it is essential to grow within you an inner elder who can wisely guide and care for your personal integrity.
Discern rather than judge.
Discernment is a form of wise judgement about your own position in a situation that allows you to stand your ground and set clear boundaries without making others wrong. Judging on the other hand makes false assumptions and harsh comparisons about yourself, others or the situation based on your personal beliefs. Discerning improves self-esteem and generates positive regard in difficult circumstances, while judging increases conflict, facilitates harmful behaviours and gives away your power to influence, affect and guide your circumstances.
Envision a life that is thrilling, passionate and meaningful.
Vision is the capacity to see, feel, hear or sense the outcome or future you most desire and translate this into reality. Knowing what you want is not a skill you are born with, it needs to be cultivated through experimentation and self-awareness. This requires taking risks, stepping out of your comfort zone and letting go of others ideas of who you are and what you can achieve. A vision is more than a dream, it is a commitment to create a life on your own terms and take responsibility for the work involved to make it happen.
Practice gratitude even in the darkest moments.
Gratitude is a purposeful acknowledgement of the good in your life, within others and the world around you. Being grateful is an act of humility that reminds you of the beauty and value in being alive and facilitates appreciation, kindness, forgiveness and compassion. Gratitude is not the outcome of a life going well, it is a daily practice of actively seeking out the gift even in the darkest of moments. Like all inner muscles, gratitude is only effective when it is exercised regularly without expectation of what it will create.