We’ve all had moments when we know we are somehow off track. Suddenly it feels like things are coming apart in our job… our business … our relationship, or even life in general. Maybe you tried to solve a problem or jumped at something new out of restlessness, and now you find yourself in a situation you never intended.
What can you do if it seems like everything is unraveling or falling apart? If you’re bristling with stress and not quite sure what to do? The following tips may help you get back on track:
1. Do an honest analysis. Admit, as quickly as possible, something is happening that is not working very well, or that you truly are in a crisis mode. The sooner, the better. Be willing to take 100% responsibility for the choices you make for your life, but don’t fall into blame!
2. Be gentle with yourself. Beating yourself up will only damage your self-esteem. Realize that we all take wrong turns or find ourselves at times in challenging situations. This is often especially true of the most successful individuals, who have no fear of trying something new.
3. Get your stress under control. Stressful times throw our minds into a “survival mode.” This is fine if a tiger is chasing you, but NOT so good if you need to make a smart move to find a new job or solve a critical problem! Take a couple of minutes to sit back in your chair and take a few deep, even breaths. This really does have an impact on your brain and will help you cool down your thought process.
The problem with trying to make decisions when you are stressed is this: Stress shuts down the smarter thinking parts of your brain and pushes your focus down in the old primitive brain – not good. Ever try to find your car keys when you are highly stressed? Intense stress blinds us to solutions!
4. Work on an answer. Once you’ve admitted to yourself that something needs to change, decide how you’re going to get yourself back on track.
In some situations it may be necessary for you to stop what you are doing immediately. Take the time you need to get very clear on what it is you do want, and get back on track one step at a time.
Start with at least some small positive action to get yourself moving. Try to focus on only one step at a time. Focus, focus, focus. Don’t let the stress of your situation run you in circles.
5. Look for the lesson. There is always a lesson to be learned, and something that will help you in the future. What does your challenge teach you about yourself? Do you need to listen to your gut more and others less? Do you need to listen to your heart and follow its calling? Do you need to value yourself more? Do you need to redefine what success means to you?
6. Get back on the horse. Like many teen-aged girls, I went through a period of being totally horse crazy. And since I loved to ride bareback, I often found myself flying through the air. The wisdom of the old cowpoke whose horses I rode provided some excellent life guidance: “Just get back on the horse.”
Life always offers second chances. Be willing to take them! Just let go of the past and commit to take the steps necessary to get back on track. The wisdom you gain from digging yourself out of deep holes really does strengthen you. Reflect on that old saying, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” It’s really true.