Why is it from the time we are children we are always striving to reach the next milestone. We can’t wait to lose our baby teeth, only to find we look silly and can’t successfully chew.
Reaching double digits comes next accompanied by gaining entry to a coveted seat at the grown up table. Where consequently we are introduced to chores and responsibilities and often where the conversation is quite boring!
Fast forward, we speed through our high school years. Our new focus becomes getting accepted into to the college of our dreams. We are warned by our family, teachers and trusted advisers that these are the best times of our lives. We do not heed their warnings and fail to truly savor the simplicity of the time.
We then become excited for college graduation. This is when real life will begin! We will build up our resumes, network and interview like a madman and woman. The next thing we know we are drones on the train station platform, ordering coffee on auto pilot, and entering the Monday morning rat race.
Finally comes grown up life. True independence; life on one’s own terms. In reality this means mortgages, bills, car payments and more. Often this is followed by cohabitation or marriage. “If only I was in a relationship and had kids then my life would really start,” might become the next goalpost or mantra. Like all other milestones, does anything truly prepare you for this? Who provides you with the warning labels and fine print?
So net net my dear reader is this; whether you are 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50, in Childhood, Adolescence, Young Adulthood, Marriage, Divorce, Parenthood or Old-Age, the one thing you can undoubtedly count on is that life will continue to raise the stakes.
What are you going to do when life throws you a curve ball? Are you going to lie down and take it or are you going to raise the bar?
One can never truly know what life has in store; nevertheless, you need to be prepared to face each challenge head on. Always bear in mind that adversity bares vast opportunity.
Here are my favorite tips for dealing with life’s ebbs, flows, curve balls and bombshells while continuing to raising the bar:
1. Recognize the signs:
Get real, life does not usually fall apart overnight. There are signs. Do not ignore the red flashing lights from the runway.
2. Read between the lines:
Look for the hidden signs. They are there, you just might not be looking hard enough.
3. Be realistic:
Face reality. Whatever the facts are deal with them head on.
4. Get some rest:
Change is exhausting. Get some rest and by all means schedule in some fun!
5. Save yourself first:
When you get on a plane they tell you to put on your oxygen mask first. This is good advice. If you are ok, you will have the strength to do what needs to be done. You can then help those around you get up to pace and follow your lead.
6. Practice Self-Care:
This is no time to let yourself go! Make sure to continue or adopt self-care rituals that helps revive and rebuild your energy stores. Exercise, Eat Well, Walk with a friend, Spend time outdoors, get a massage, and fill in the blank:_______!
7. Fake it till you make it:
My late Aunt Phyllis taught me that if I did not know how to play tennis to get a great tennis outfit, learn how to jump over the net and then get lessons. “You will catch on” she explained.
I do this with everything in life. I decide what I want to do or be next and then I the figure it out in the trenches. Consequently I always get there!
8. Be Your Personal Best:
Learn, Explore, Read, Stay Relevant, Repeat …………
9. Outsourcing and Lifelines:
If someone offers to help you thank them and say yes! You do not have to be a hero. I have not done a load of laundry or a stich of housework in the two years that I went back to school to change my career. Relinquishing control is difficult, but necessary. Something has to give!
10. Let go:
There are things that you will need to let go of along your journey. These may be people, places and things. You cannot be all things to all people. You cannot divide yourself too thin or you will lose focus and you may not succeed. Remember you are the one on the Journey and you are the one that is undergoing Transformation. Trust the process. Let others catch up.
11. Contact & Thank your Supporters & Personal Board:
You put a Personal Board together for a reason – this is it! During times of transformation you need your closest supporters and accountability partners the most. They will keep you going, talk you off the ledge, cheer you on, and be your best sounding boards. All this, while keeping you honest and sane.
My grandfather taught me at a young age the importance of finding the people you admired the most in life and your career and bringing them into your inner circle. More importantly I learned on my own that in order to have a good friend you needed to be a good friend. I value my close relationships above all else in life, and give relationships my all. I treasure each and every one of you. You all know who you and I know you are reading this. Thank you, Thank you, Thank You!
12. Welcome New and Fabulous Fellow Travelers!
Wow, the people you will meet! Doctor Seuss might have said this first but boy was he right. I have met the greatest people during my transition into my new career. When I walked into NYU that first Sunday morning two years ago I did not realize the door I was truly opening. I have met the greatest people, some I believe to be lifelong friends. Through opening up to new networking opportunities I have again met fabulous people, joined a board and again made fantastic new friends. I have had lunches and coffee dates that have been like warm comfortable sweaters and long deep exhales. Yes, there are people out there that will truly get you, and get what you are going through. Be open to them and let them in. Your will expand and new opportunities will be endless.
13. Steal and savor all and any Peaceful Connected Moment:
I coined the phrase Peaceful Connected Moment when I had small children. By definition a Peaceful Connected Moment, is a very small window of time when the wheels stop, the noise in your mind slows if only for a moment, and you can savor a moment of quiet peace and contemplation.
You will know when one arises. Learn to recognize it, and enjoy.
14. Be willing to take a risk:
At the end of the day, when the preparation, contemplation, and analyzing is over, you must be willing to roll the dice. (I can’t take credit for this, it came from a board member)
You must trust the “Net Will Appear” -Zen Saying
“Learn to Swim or Build a Boat” me
15. Let go of dead weight (kindly), but beware of the carnage:
When you emerge from the rubble and dust yourself off, not everyone will be there to cheer you when you take your victory lap. This is ok. The ones that are supposed to be there will and the ones that aren’t won’t. That’s life.
You will survive.
My life has imploded and I have reinvented myself so many times, I can hardly recognize myself. This is a good thing; adversity has brought me great opportunity! I have been knocked down and have gotten up each time from my face down in the ring moments stronger, wiser and more resilient from the fight. I have faced adversity and won. I have raised the bar each time and clearly understand there is no finish line or end game in sight. There are only targets, goals and lots and lots of surprises. I am excited for every new challenge. Bring them on, I’m ready willing and able!
I challenge you to do the same.