Storms come quickly, bringing chaos. Life is swimming along at a normal and even comfortable tempo then suddenly from nowhere BAM! Something happens that in a minor or major way uproots your life. And the weatherman didn’t even tell you it was coming.
Yesterday we had a storm hit us. Our landlord dropped by to tell us there would be a 4000kr increase in our rent starting in February. My reaction process started with f……………….k!!!
Amazingly I then went through a series of reactions that by the end of the day I was feeling happy about this challenge and determined to overcome it.
First reaction : survival mode. I looked at the budget, can we pay?(We could but only just from now on until we generate more income we are living the way I hate counting every kroner and have no opportunity to save).
Second reaction: shock. I cried. A lot. I talked my frustration out (in a snotty and garbled way). Mr T was wonderful and comforting he tried to get me to say it would be ok. But right at that moment I couldn’t. I was overwhelmed so I cried until I could cry no more. It was cathartic and released me from the drama of my fears.
Third reaction: Success experience. I knew I couldn’t do anything more about the problem right then and there. What I needed was a success experience. So I did the washing. Something small but easy to do (well it would have been if the cat hadn’t removed the waterpipe and therefore also flooded the bathroom! However I cleaned it all up and solved that problem so ha ha success!) For the rest of the day I gave myself small manageable tasks that made me feel successful.
Fourth reaction: Finding the positive. As I spent the day making small achievements, I realised that this financial pressure was actually a blessing in disguise. Life has been very comfortable of late, too comfortable. Not that I am saying being comfortable is wrong. My experience has simply been that comfortable without a little challenge makes boredom.As soon as this was realised my energy shifted. Now I could see we have been given an opportunity.
Fifth reaction: Energised and determined. Having proved to myself I can succeed all day, and after brainstorming, I could now see that the things I had been thinking of doing to increase our income and not yet done I now have an immediate motivation for. A kick up the butt to get my plans and dreams realised. Suddenly I am raring to go!
So who knew that a rent increase would actually be an inspiration and motivational factor!
Of course it might not have been. If I had chosen to sit down and stay at reaction number one, then this storm could have been crippling both mentally and financially. Storms are crap. We all know that. We have all been there. But the important thing about the storms that hit us is not how we are hit, but how we survive afterwards. Storms bring change and peace after them if we choose to respond in a healthy way. Next time a storm hits, slowly and in your own time try these five steps and you will turn your problems into opportunities.
Survival mode: Batten down the hatches and do the minimal things you need to do to survive.
Shock: Allow your emotions to come out. Do Not repress them. Allow yourself to get to the emotional state where you feel like a wrung out dishcloth. It empties the sadness, frustration and anger out of you.
Success experiences: Do some very simple things that you can succeed at. Wash the dishes. Do the washing. Feed the dog. Nothing you have to think about, just something you can do. MAke yourself do this. It’s actually the most important step as it transitions you to a positive space.
Find the positive: How? Look for it. There is always a positive side. A lover leaving does allow you to do things you didn’t do because of the relationship. A broken washing machine brings with it the opportunity to really deep clean the bathroom which you have been putting off for months. What opportunity did this storm bring?
Energised and determined. Find ways to overcome the challenge life has thrown at you. You don’t have to start then and there (unless you want to). Look at the opportunity this challenge has brought you and work towards to achieving whatever it is that opportunity brings you.
This process took me one day unfortunately (or fortunately) I have had a lot of practise. It might take you longer. You may need two days in shock and a week of small successful experiences before you can find the opportunities. You will find them when you look. The way you respond to a storm creates the next step in your journey, only you can decide how that journey will be.