People often ask me what I’ve noticed in working with people during the recent difficult times. Even though I work with very successful, empowered people, I see them struggling to stay at their best – focused, positive and productive – in this climate. And I must admit that my gremlins are more active and rowdy than usual! However, the other thing I notice is people are still thriving. When my clients do stay focused on what they can control and manage their reactions to bad news and media hype of situations, they find that there is still good news and abundant opportunity, even now. I know that the current situation can make you feel like being in a little life raft tossed mercilessly by angry seas. Yet more than even, our world needs people to be performing at their best, not in a state of fear or avoidance. The world needs YOU: At Your Best!
When you learn how to be at your BEST, even in the raging storm, imagine how unstoppable you will be when things turn around and the sun shines again!
Here are a few ideas for being “YOU: At Your BEST:”
B for Balanced
Holding on for dear life in your little raft, the idea of balance might seem impossible. Yet I think it’s one of the most important things we can do for ourselves in challenging times. Find your “center of gravity” with even the smallest of self-care steps. For example, novice meditators who participated in six weeks of meditation training reported being less stressed, more optimistic, and better able to handle challenges. People who engaged in once-per-week gratitude exercises (simply writing five things they were grateful for) reported higher levels of happiness, even six months after the study ended. So find your own little practices that bring balance to your life physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
E for Empowered
It may feel like the waves and the world circumstances hold all the power, and all you can do is react. However, I encourage you to focus on what you CAN control. You have already overcome incredible challenges in your life. What are some challenges in your past that seemed daunting, yet you were able to overcome them? How did you successfully work through those situations? How could you take control of even a small part of your circumstances, rather than reacting to them? Researchers have discovered that people who take some action, no matter how small (such as making donations to their favorite causes), feel less stressed and better about themselves than those who take no action.
S for Systematic
Being bounced around in the waves can make people lose touch with rituals and success strategies that have worked in the past. The book “The Power of Full Engagement” describes how people achieve higher levels of performance through rituals. I find that my most successful clients have systematic approaches to their critical success activities. What systems or rituals would allow you to operate at your best, rather than being buffeted around by the waves? What are even small steps you can take consistently to start achieving new results?
T for Trust
Although today’s challenges are unprecedented in many ways, the very nature of our evolving civilization means we continue to have new challenges and opportunities. Futurists and economists have been predicting this situation for years. And the same futurists are predicting that we will move past this current situation to a new set of opportunities and challenges. I imagine how bleak things must have looked right before the end of World War II, with so many countries involved in battles, the sacrifices being made at home, and whole European countries being ravaged. Today’s situation doesn’t seem so bad in comparison! How would developing a stronger sense of trust serve you? What practices could you engage in that would expand your trust that things will work out? Dozens of studies have been performed on the power of prayer, and there are many who have achieved amazing shifts through visualization exercises (See “The Intention Experiment” by Lynne McTaggart). How can you build more trust into your life, and maybe even into your community?
You: At your BEST. That’s how I believe the current situation will improve. It won’t be world leaders, or financial institutions, or lawmakers who calm the waves and turn the storm. I believe it will be the citizens of the world, being their individual best, that will make the biggest difference.
Karen Van Cleve