During the COVID-19 pandemic, many have feelings of powerlessness. If one is trying to find a new job, this helplessness can be magnified. For some, there may be work; but a sense of lost balance of what home/work look like.
There is a formula used by coaches that can help to move you from powerlessness to possibility and finally into action. The goal is to create a more balanced life.
Step 1. Are you fixated on looking at one issue?
If you feel that you are being driven by life events, thoughts like “That’s just the way it is” may creep into your mind. When you are stuck in one perspective, it’s helpful to see that trap. Why are you anchored to this one point of view? What are the signals that indicate your balance is out of whack? Feelings of being overwhelmed? Stuck? Paralyzed? Begin by recognizing that trapped perspective, and gradually increase your range of choices. For example, the phrase “That’s just the way it is” makes it seem as though you have no control. Is that really true? What DO you have control over?
Step 2. Identify additional perspectives.
Creating more than one perspective expands how you see your life or certain issues from different angles. If you can reexamine your viewpoint, you are able to see possibility and change.
What’s driving your choice? Is it habit, self-limiting talk, routine? Imagine several different ways of solving a problem – without being attached to any one of them. In fact, it’s best if one or two solutions are totally unreasonable. It creates a sense of playfulness that breaks through the walls of “I can’t” and stretches the boundary of possibilities. Let’s take putting exercise into your life in this time of self-isolation. One could:
- Use virtual exercise routines with professional trainers
- Turn the family room into a gym
- Say no to other commitments getting in your way
- Enlist your spouse or significant other as a workout partner
- Teach your kids to do laundry so you can work out
- Get up 30 minutes earlier; go to bed 30 minutes earlier
Remember that you don’t even have to choose one of these. You’re thinking of possibilities!
Step 3. Get inside the different perspectives.
The key to having more choices is to actually look at the world through the lens of that choice. “What would the world look like if you made that choice?” Live the above example perspectives for a moment. What would it be like to operate from this perspective?
Step 4. Choose the perspective.
Now it’s time to choose one perspective as a pathway to action. It doesn’t eliminate the possibility of going back and choosing any of the others. It means let’s try one for now. By choosing one, you take the first steps out of the Land of Stuck into a different perspective. You may not decide to live there long, but you’ve moved toward balance. That’s a biggie! When you choose, you honor your values and move closer to your purpose!
Step 5. Create a plan that addresses the situation.
Choosing a new perspective is a huge step that enables you to reclaim your power. Now it’s time to take the next step by creating a plan of action. Start considering resources available to make it happen. What will it cost in time and money? How will important relationships be affected? It’s a creative process and opportunity to brainstorm. A good question to ask yourself is simply, “What’s my plan?”
Step 6. Seriously commit to the plan.
There’s a great deal of thinking about different ways of making things happen: allocating resources, scratching it out on paper or screen, calculating, and recalculating. The plan is external, however. As a coach, I want you to have the plan live inside your being, not just in the brain where a mild distraction could easily displace it.
So, before you take action, make sure you’ve really committed to this plan. As you cross into new territory, ask yourself, “Will I commit to this plan and taking action?” Why am I doing this? What would my ‘Gremlin’ say to make it not happen?” This is not about exercising more, paying bills on time, finding a new job, or whatever. It’s about taking control of your life. Draw an imaginary line in front of you, take a deep breath, and cross the line. If you’ve come away so far with a list of options, choosing an option, and creating a plan, look at that line on the floor. Don’t cross it until you’re ready to commit.
Step 7. Take action.
At this point, taking action will hopefully bring relief! The hard part was finding new ways of looking at the world. The strain was actually dwelling on those different perspectives and getting inside the possibilities. The challenge was choosing one and then making a commitment to it – really making a commitment versus talk. Now, you are moving toward balance. There will be much to learn in the action that is taken. Remember, that at this point you’re now in action – driving the bus, living up to your purpose. There may be times when you want to quit or take the easier route. Don’t focus on that now. If that happens, work on it when it does.
Balance is personal. It depends on you and your agenda. It’s woven into your daily life.
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