How are you doing right now? Do you, too, feel that some days give you courage and confidence, and things just go “swimmingly?” But then there are other days when your plans are thwarted or you feel like obstacles are being thrown in your way?
I know this all too well – and I often feel powerless. It can seem like things are happening in a way that simply leaves me no room to maneuver at all. At the same time, I sometimes get the feeling that some people are better at dealing with their current weather situation than I am. Things just seem to go smoothly for them.
Please don’t think I’m checking my neighbor’s lawn to see if it’s greener than mine. I’m not. Comparison doesn’t help us at all, because every situation is different and has its own facets. But sometimes we get the impression that there are life models that seem to be more stable and resilient than others.
This feeling of powerlessness, of being at the mercy of others, is probably the biggest pain point in all of this.
But here’s the good news:
We may be a speck of dust in space when it comes to many of the things that happen around us, with a very limited ability to change them. But how we deal with situations, how we evaluate them, and even what we make of them, is entirely up to us. In the end, I think it’s our attitude towards things that makes all the difference. Maybe you’re thinking, “She can talk, but she’s not in my situation.” That may be so, and I don’t deny it. But I’m also not here to promote the well-intentioned advice to “look on the bright side” or to find something “positive” in things. I’m well aware that this kind of advice tends to make people feel that their needs and concerns are not understood. Also, things are allowed to turn out badly and feel negative sometimes. That is part of the package. But this state should never last for too long and should only describe a snapshot.
Believe me, I can relate to the feeling some people have of standing in front of a huge mountain that seems immovable and impossible to climb – at least since I was diagnosed with cancer eight years ago, and was officially given a palliative status.
In a case like that, it’s worth taking a closer look.
For those people who seem to go through life more easily, what do they do differently? Do they have a strategy? I think they do.
It appears that those people accept life and its challenges and make the best of it. They seem to be less anxious or frozen and more adventurous, more curious about what might be in store and, above all, more creative. Instead of thinking in terms of limitations, they think in terms of possibilities.
The way they ride the wave of emotions in a flow reminds me of rodeo riding.
Rodeo riders, too, are aware of their abilities and limitations, but they can only ever judge the horse to a limited extent. Most of the time, they have no room to maneuver and therefore no control – at least not over the horse. They approach the ride with a zest for intensity and challenge, and feel passionate about creatively and powerfully facing the imponderables at hand. Their goal isn’t to gain absolute control of the ride, but to stay in the saddle for as long as possible. They set different goals depending on the situation. And they’re courageous, with a deep confidence in themselves, their abilities and the outcome of the ride. They’re aware of the dangers, but – and this is important – the dangers don’t make them passive. In fact, it’s from the dangers that they draw additional strength.
If you ask these riders, they’ll confirm that it’s exhausting and sometimes frustrating. But they’ll also say that they come out of each ride stronger, that they learn something each time, and that their mental strength is an essential companion along the way. For them, the ride is a thrill. Which is why they tend to see the uncertainties as positive and appealing, rather than approaching the challenge with negative preconceptions.
Have you ever managed to successfully navigate a bend in the road in your life using this strategy? It’s called a “pattern of success.” And it’s worth recalling this experience often, because it shows that you have the energy and strength to embrace your strength. You do not have to learn this skill from scratch. You simply have to awaken this particular resource in yourself more frequently.
And guess what: Once you realize this, the rodeo ride can actually be great fun. Even when – and let’s not kid ourselves here – it remains exhausting at times and we still have a desire for everything to “go like clockwork.”
We remain confident anyhow.
From the bottom of my heart, I wish you every success. And if you’d like more inspiration and maybe even some concrete strategies for dealing with rodeo rides, I hope you’ll reach out.
Go for it,
Your Crisis Manager