Being Powerful in Challenging Circumstances

When faced with new or challenging circumstances, it becomes more important than ever to stay grounded in your values, create an inspiring vision for your future, maintain your integrity, and take good care of yourself. Make Decisions Based Upon Your Values –  When faced with job loss, a declining economy or other challenging circumstances, it is natural to make decisions based on fear rather than on your values. When experiencing fear, most of us look to logic for guidance and therefore focus on factors like money, time and practicality.  Yet, we start to get into trouble when we use logic to determine our major life decisions. Logic has a place. It is an effective tool for winning arguments. It is a great way to figure out how to do something; but if you are using it to figure out what to do, what goal to follow, you may become very good at a profession or an activity that doesn’t make you happy. Our fears are often disproportional to the level of actual danger. Think about what is most important to you, who you really want to be, and keep that in mind when making career and business choices.

Health and Well-Being –  Please do not underestimate the impact of health and well-being on your ability to achieve goals. While staying up all night and working long hours may be necessary in some jobs, and you may be able to function reasonably well under such circumstances, it is very detrimental when you are making important decisions about your life or business, or trying to persuade people to hire you.  No one is at their best when they are exhausted, not eating right, or not getting the emotional or spiritual support that they need. When we are not taking care of ourselves, we are more likely to become upset, to overreact, and to feel anxious.  Even when we think we are projecting confidence or friendliness, others can see beyond the surface. Write down a few actions you could take every day to improve your level of self-care.  Practice taking those actions, and notice the effect this has on your work and your family.

Integrity –  Are your words, intentions and actions aligned?  This is not about right and wrong; it is about what works.  If we don’t show up on time, or don’t pay our bills on time, or continue to nurture old resentments, life requires more effort, leads to more frustration and leaves us with less energy for the things that are important to us.  Along with well-being, integrity is the foundation for your ability to achieve what you desire.  Most of us have some area of life that we avoid: finances, getting the oil changed, cleaning out the basement, organizing files, etc.  These are the things that sap our energy and enthusiasm and make it difficult to move forward.  Make a list of tasks that you have been avoiding and start addressing them.  Writing down everything may seem overwhelming.  No matter how long the list is, it will be finite; and that will make it feel more manageable.  Addressing the items on your integrity list will energize you and make it much easier to send out resumes or proposals and generally make you more effective in everything you do.

Create a Five-Year Plan that Excites You –  As human beings, our levels of joy and satisfaction are less a result of our current situation than of our interpretations and judgments about what the current circumstances mean for our future.  Making a financial sacrifice or working with a difficult person is tolerable when you see it as temporary – though if you believed the situation would continue for twenty years, you might become upset or depressed.  If you create a long-term goal and begin to take small actions to move in that direction, your current situation will seem much more pleasant and manageable. This is not about tricking yourself or positive thinking; it is about creating a context for your current situation that is empowering, and moves you down a path that inspires you.