I wanted to write today because it is a great opportunity to demonstrate how having your personal toolbox filled with tools can play a major role in handling the impact and affect when a comedy of errors occur. You guessed it – I’ve been experiencing some technical and not so technical difficulties! It’s been bizarre with a number of things going crazy, not working properly, things suddenly disappearing, not being able to download a program I need because my Norton wouldn’t allow it to install and kept removing it (YES – this was the BIG one and a HUGE frustration); and the list goes on….
As it turned out, it was not just one of those days; rather it was some of those days! You see, no one is immune to “those days” that threaten to send you off the deep end; that make you want to scream at the top of your lungs; that make you want to jump up and down, have a hissy fit, throw things and cry!!! Does any of that sound familiar? What started everything was spending nine (9) hours on Friday, two on Saturday and four on Sunday making sure my Find Your Sparkle With Jen Group Coaching Program session was going to work properly on a webinar platform in which I was experimenting. It took longer than I anticipated, but I was persistent. I did my test videos twice and everything appeared fine, yet I felt something in my gut wasn’t right. However, I ignored it, pretended that I didn’t feel it, attributed it to my excitement about using this platform. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? It’s very clear now; however, it goes to prove that sometimes when we are in the middle of things, our heads, heart, gut and logic have conflicting ideals and it’s easy to be swayed or confused.
What can we do, you may ask? Good news! I have a several tried and tested tools that I frequently call upon for help when I feel helpless, frustrated, scared, confused, angry, even exasperated! Below are six simple tools and techniques to help get you through a “situation.”
- Breathe! Then breathe some more! This is the easiest, fastest, most accessible tool that we ALL have! Aim to start with 10 deep breaths – breathing deep from your diaphragm; inhale slowly for a count of 8 to 10; imagine positive energy filling that breath. Hold your breath for a slow count of at least four (longer if you can) then ever so SLOWLY exhale your breath until you have emptied your diaphragm. As you release your breath, imagine breathing out all the negative energy, emotions or feelings you have. Repeat 10 times. If you still don’t feel calm, repeat and repeat again if necessary.
- Identify your “hot buttons” and establish and prepare a planned response to replace your reaction. What’s a “hot button” you may ask? A hot button is a comment, a gesture, an attitude or behaviour that brings on an immediate negative emotion; something that really ticks you off and/or raises your blood pressure and elicits an unfavourable reaction. I have always been fascinated by “hot buttons;” especially when you had no idea one may have existed until “bam” a situation occurs. It can be unnerving, embarrassing and an eye opener. The key to preparing is to acknowledge them when they happen and take a few breaths before anything comes out of your mouth (this is key and isn’t always easy); pause; ask yourself what a favourable response would be as opposed to a knee-jerk reaction (possibly the reaction you envision). If it is a frequent hot button, you should have a prepared response that makes sense to you and is easy to remember and put into play. For those unexpected ones, self-awareness is key. As mentioned above, pause before speaking; give yourself a few moments to come up with something that does not create further conflict. Talking about them and sharing with others can help prepare (as well as warn others) and let others know areas or topic to avoid.
- SMILE! Yes, SMILE! Simply smiling releases endorphins and often provides us enough time to assess the situation and a course of action. I realize this seems extremely simplified and in many respects in is; however, the point is this; you may have heard this before but how often do you actually do it? Think about the last time you smiled during an uncomfortable or difficult moments. I’m guessing not many, if any at all!
- Have a “go to” mantra or affirmation. One that I have found extremely effective for me at this latest stage of my life is from the late Wayne Dyer (yes I am teary eyed) and is “I AM LIGHT, I AM LOVE.” As easy as this sounds, it takes work and practice to help ingrain it to your left-side brain and establish it as a habit. Play with some words or phrases that help you take pause and centre yourself. Simple is good!
- Get it out – write it down! Journal away! Just let it out and release it!!! There’s not much more to say! Journaling is a therapeutic way to help work through things. I am a HUGE fan of journals and have several on the go; including a grateful journal, a goal journal, a thoughts journal, a work and creative journal and a “slam journal” of which I am referring to here. It’s the only one that isn’t pretty – I have a regular, plain coiled notebook for my slam journal. All other journals are pretty or inspirational and are attractive to look at.
- Jen’s Three. I have been known to get eye rolls in my house each time I bring it up and remind my family and friends! Here are my three questions to ask yourself: a. Do I have to deal with this right now? If yes, deal with it; don’t put it off. Take your time to consider what options you have and weigh the best one for this moment.
- b. Can I put this off until later? If there is nothing you can do right now but you will have to deal with it in the future, put it on the shelf until you it’s time to revisit it. In the meantime, do your best to put it out of your mind. When you come back to it, you may have a completely new perspective.
- c. Is there anything I can do about this? If not, I want you to imagine putting it in a bubble and letting it go! Watch it float away into the sky. This can be extremely freeing. I know this sounds a little silly; think of it as making good use of your imagination. You may even find some humour in it!
- Take a 5-Minute Vacation! I have been doing this for many years! Trust me, it works! It may take some time to get comfortable with – the more you practice, the easier it will become. In fact, you may come to treasure this time away in your Happy Place! Close your eyes and imagine your happy place – if you don’t have one, that’s okay, take some time and create one.
It doesn’t have to be real, but it can be. For me, it’s the beach – any beach is okay. Imagine being in your Happy Place and putting all of your senses on alert. What do you see? Hear? Feel? Smell? Touch? Imagine actually being there and taking in every detail of your surroundings. Take time (5 minutes or more if possible) and enjoy being there. By the time you return to reality, you will feel more relaxed – put a smile on your face for the rest of the day!
These are a small list of an endless supply of ways to bring yourself back to a place where you are calm, cool and collected! I encourage you to try a couple of these tools and techniques the next time you have a “situation.”
About the author: Jennifer Stewart is an energetic, diverse speaker who has been speaking for more than 20 years. She is a Certified Coach Practitioner, trainer and facilitator whose life purpose is to help individuals dig deep and discover their true passion and calling so they can live an authentic life. A life-long learner, she has a Diploma in Adult Education from St FX, a Bachelor in Business Administration from MSVU, Management Development Diploma from Seneca College and is a Certified Reiki Master/Teacher/Practitioner. Jennifer has more than 25 years experience working in a variety of industries ranging from government to non-profit.
About Find Your Sparkle: Jennifer created her Signature Program Find Your Sparkle in the Spring of 2016 to reach women going through a variety of changes in their life and careers. My goal is to reach as many people with Find Your Sparkle through Individual and Group Coaching Programs. If you, someone you know, or an organization or company would benefit from my Find Your Sparkle program or would like an introductory presentation, please connect!
firstname.lastname@example.org, 902-233-4175, www.jaspotential.com