by Jo Barnard
originally published by Executive Secretary Magazine
In times of huge uncertainty on a global scale, one thing’s for sure—change is afoot.
Here in the UK, the decision to separate from the European Union has caused mass controversy, with some people feeling confident in the idea of separation, some strongly opposed and seriously fearful for the future, and others simply crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.
Needless to say, there have been debates, disagreements and fall outs occurring within families, friendships, the work place, and across social media.
Perhaps you have been witness to this, or an entirely different conflict altogether. Trump for president? The atrocious bombings in Turkey? Simply turning on the news is enough to send our anxiety levels sky rocketing.
So as we enter into unknown territory, feeling like the rug of familiarity on which we once stood has been pulled from beneath us, how do we keep a cool head in these times of high tension and unrest without burying our heads in the sand or going into hiding?
The answer is very simple. We need to stay grounded. And this applies to any unsettling or difficult situation we may encounter, whether in our personal lives, or at work.
Think about a strong, solid oak tree for a moment in the midst of a storm. As the wind whips up, its branches may get thrown around, some leaves may sever and blow away, a twig or branch may even snap (in other words, it may be affected on some level by external circumstances), but it won’t fall down, because it is solid, healthy and grounded in essence. And that’s exactly what we need to be.
So how do we do this?
It’s important to get clear and honest about what that storm looks and feels like for you.What’s stressing you? What don’t you like? What’s not working? What are you uneasy with?
Let’s start with your ‘storm’ on a personal level. What don’t you like? The way you look perhaps? Your health and fitness levels? Where you live? Your finances? Is your career not panning out as you’d hoped it would? Have your aspirations become mere fantasies? What else? Get honest and write it all down.
Next let’s look at your relationships. What’s not working? Where is there conflict? What does this conflict look and feel like? Is there a common theme?
Now let’s look at the direct environment in which you spend your time. Your workplace, your neighbourhood. Where is there unrest? And how do you experience that?
And what about the country in which you live. What don’t you like?
And then what about the world at large? What scares you? What do you find unacceptable?
Grab a blank sheet of paper and sort your fears and frustrations into two categories; things you simply CANNOT change, and things you CAN do something about. For example, you can’t change the weather, or the past, you can’t change who your biological parents and siblings are, and rarely can you change someone else’s behaviour. But many things you can change to some degree or other. What can you do?
Focus your attention on the list of things that you absolutely cannot change for a moment. As you look at them, breathe in serenity and acceptance, and let go of any tension that arises as you breathe out. Do this a few times.
Next, take your list of things that you can change. As you look at each area on your list, breathe in courage, determination and self-belief, and let go of anxiety or doubt as you breathe out. Do this a few times.
Staying with your list of things you can change, and placing your hand over your heart if you can, scan your list slowly and see which area jumps out to you as needing the most attention right now. Draw a circle around it.
Now map out the steps that you need to take, one at a time, to move you closer to your desired outcome. When and how will you take action? What support, if any, do you need?
So as the political storms whip, and tempers blow, make a conscious choice to detach from any pointless drama, stand in your mighty oak tree power, be the change you wish to see in the world, keep moving forwards, and know that calm will inevitably follow.