Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. John Lennon
I love this quote from John Lennon and often share it with clients when they’re feeling frustrated because things haven’t gone the way they planned; they haven’t made as much progress as they’d hoped; or perhaps a goal that was important to them hasn’t been achieved. Quite often this is due to the fact that ‘life’ simply got in the way.
Life Happens and sometimes it can throw up unwanted and unexpected challenges. I’ve experienced this myself in the past couple of months and have found myself having to deal with some very stressful situations. As a Life Coach I try to walk my talk and most of the time I feel I live a fulfilling and balanced life. But I don’t always get it right and there are times when everything is knocked for six. And I know that I’m not alone — this happens to everyone from time to time.
Here are a few of the things I’ve learned over the past few months:
Firstly, when we find ourselves in a stressful or challenging situation it’s really important to find ways to shore ourselves up and take care of ourselves. Take the pressure off — take it easy — don’t force yourself to do more than absolutely necessary. Try to eat well, take some exercise, perhaps book in for a massage or healing or reflexology — whatever you find to be therapeutic. If you’re feeling anxious, find something that will act as a distraction, be it listening to music, going to a movie, doing a hobby or taking a walk — whatever works for you.
Secondly, if you have limited emotional and physical energy and resources, it’s crucial to make smart choices and concentrate only on those things that are of the highest priority. What’s most important? Each morning ask yourself what are the three areas I need to focus on today? Forget everything else — just give yourself those three things to focus your attention on. If you can get more done then great, but don’t ask or expect too much of yourself.
Thirdly, reach out for support. It’s important not to try to soldier on and shoulder everything on your own. Seek out family and friends who you can talk to — share your concerns — spend time with people who care for, and will support, you. If you don’t have anyone to confide in, and your concerns are going round and round in your head, it can really help to get them out of your head and down on paper.
Finally, choose a positive image or mantra which you can use whenever you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed — or if you’re finding it hard to sleep. Think of something that embodies strength or calmness, or whatever emotional state you feel you need.
Mine is taken from this beautiful stone carving: All shall be well.
No doubt many of you will have experienced what I call the John Lennon Syndrome in your own lives. Don’t be too hard on yourself when life gets in the way and you don’t achieve as much as you’d hoped. ‘Life’ happens. Be easy on yourself and go with the flow. That’s what I’m learning to do.
ICF Professional Certified Coach
Author of 52 Ways to Change Your Life