How do we live in a world where nothing is certain and the pace of change keeps accelerating? Where is the safe shore in a world such as ours?
Consider these seven important keys to keeping your life on track during turbulent times:
1. Give up your need for certainty and embrace the very idea of change as the prevailing context of our time. Clinging to the illusion of certainty is a losing strategy when 98% of what happens is outside your sphere of control. Get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable and know that the 2% you can control leaves the other 98% to God. You can resist what’s in front of you or you can embrace it.
2. Develop your courage muscles by doing something every day that scares the heck out of you. (That may mean do some sit-ups, work out, etc.) There’s nothing like meeting uncertainty head on by bringing your own sense of adventure to each moment. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
3. When rough seas throw you off course: Stop. Look. Choose. Take action. Stop, meaning get off autopilot and give yourself the opportunity to tune in to what’s actually happening. Stop the mind chatter and unproductive behavior. Call a “time out”. Then take stock. Don’t waste precious time fretting about how unfair life is and wondering why is this happening. Look to see exactly where you are and what are the options for moving forward. There are always more available options than you think, so acknowledge your fear, then look beyond it and see the possibilities for productive action. Choose a possibility to act upon that empowers you. Choose one that opens new doors, invites you into new questions that lead to new discoveries. Then, take action. Do it. And when you’ve done it, there will be an outcome.
4. Take full responsibility for the outcome. In our culture, responsibility usually implies someone is to blame. We ask, “Who’s responsible?” when we really mean, “Who’s to blame?” Consider a different possibility for what it means to be responsible: Responsibility = Response + Ability: your ability to respond. Holding ourselves as fully responsible for our choices and their outcomes put us at the helm of our own ship, hands on the wheel, choosing the course our life takes. Accepting 100% responsibility for our lives opens the door to creativity, freedom and personal power. Where would you rather be? Hands at the wheel, guiding your ship or clinging to the side for dear life, hoping someone will come along and rescue you?
5. Get committed and get started. What are you waiting for? Life is short and the clock is running. What in your life matters enough for you to risk looking foolish or worse yet, making a “mistake”? Mistakes are God’s necessary “time outs”. Mistakes are where the learning happens, so don’t be afraid of making them. When your commitment is bigger than your fear, you become unstoppable. There are bigger fish to fry than playing small and staying safe. You were meant to use your life in service to a larger purpose…God’s purpose…
6. Discover your life’s purpose, develop your vision and then live it with gusto. Staying the course requires that you know where you intend to go. Having a vision for your life and a clear sense of purpose calls you up to be larger than your fear, limiting beliefs or the obstacles that appear on the path. Together, your vision and God’s purpose serve as your True North. They’re something to true up to when you’ve lost your way. Take time to explore these questions: “Why am I here? What are my unique gifts? What is the impact of my life on the people around me? What lifts me up, fills my sails, and makes my heart sing? Once you’ve discovered and developed your gifts, give them away. Use them to serve a purpose larger than yourself. What is the kind of world you want to pass on to your children and grandchildren?
7. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Shift your focus from what’s wrong to what’s right about your life. So consider; what are you grateful for? Make a blessings list. Include your friends and family, the places you’ve been, the lessons you’ve learned and don’t forget to include being grateful for the blessings yet to come. An attitude of gratitude opens the door for more. Let your mantra be “thank you Lord!”
Turbulent times invite us to become stronger, wiser, calmer, and clearer. Swim on out into the waters of your life. Summoning your courage and commitment, and using your vision and purpose as your compass, swim to some distant shore you never could see from where you are, and discover yourself anew. Discover the one in you who already is magnificent and whole. Expand the shoreline of your being, so your definition of “safe haven” is “God in You.”
Your destiny awaits and you really are meant to fulfill it.