How To Keep Bumps in the Road from Becoming Sinkholes.

I was talking to my therapist this week and we were talking about life’s bumps in the road.  That may not sound very earth shattering.  However, like most “aha’s” in life this conversation really helped me see a pattern I keep repeating.  I’ve been going through life clinging to the believe that if I just tried harder or worked harder, things would go exactly as I had planned and I would live happily ever after…..NOT !

About five years ago, I decided that trying to find the answer to my problems in a bottle of vodka wasn’t working.  So, I quit drinking and started facing the life’s complications soberly.  A good friend suggested I try therapy.  It has transformed me.   One of my biggest challenges has been to keep moving forward when I hit a bump.  I have a tendency to stay in “bump” mode and before I know it, I’m going down a huge sinkhole of fear and hesitation.    I’m really good at getting stuck and staying there because I tell myself I don’t want to make my life worse by making another mistake. shutterstock_85041310

The best examples are my career bumps in the road…I tell people that I’ve been downsized, right sized, undersized and oversized so many times I’ve lost count.  What I mean is that I’ve been fired twice, had my job eliminated five times and quit three jobs.  You’d think because all this proficiency with change I’d have all the answers.  Maybe not answers, but I have a few suggestions that work for me:

  • Remember that you can’t control external events.  The only thing you can control is your attitude and thoughts about situations.  Stuff happens.  We’re floating along in life and things are great and suddenly you lose your job or you get a new boss who you don’t like.  Whatever the bump, how you react and how you choose to handle it is what life is all about.
  • Breathing helps.  It really does.  Take several deep breathes and slow yourself down.  Regroup your thoughts and start to formulate how you want to handle the situation.
  • Facing your fears head on is the most powerful tool you have.  Experience has taught me that most of the things I’m afraid of are in my head….”what if’s”…..”What if I’m too old?”-- “What if they don’t like me?”-- “What if I make a mistake?”  The real question is “What’s the worst that can happen?”  The answer to that question is “the worst is that you don’t even try.”
  • Making adjustments and learning from mistakes makes you successful.  You can decide not to make the same mistakes. Commit make new ones.  Life is too short to let bumps turn into sink holes.

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