How to Survive Difficulty
There was a point in time about eight years ago when my family relationships felt as though they had fallen apart. It was one of the most depressing and low points in my life. Both my children had not only moved out but were also very involved in creating new lives that didn’t much need or involve me. My mother and step-father had passed away within 2 years of each other and my husband had passed away a number of years previously.
Prior to this time, my home had always been the focal point of every holiday or family gathering, when I invited relatives and friends from near and far to join together. I considered myself the glue that held the family together as I envisioned and created a big connected family that I thought would extend forever into the future. Now there seemed to be no glue and not much in the way of family to join together either. Quite suddenly, I was literally and figuratively all alone.
It didn’t help that most of this change happened as I moved into the holiday season. Sure, I had lots of friends… but they had their own lives and spending holidays with someone else’s family, no matter how close you are, isn’t the same. I was seriously wallowing in the dark and depressing feelings of it all; feeling quite sorry for myself when someone literally shocked me out of my black hole with a new perspective. I was bemoaning my fate to a friend, expecting the usual sympathetic response, when she said, “What if this all happened for a bigger purpose? What if this is a sign that you are called to expand your horizons and create something new? Are you going to allow this to be a gift or a burden?”
It took me a while to come to terms with this idea. What I at first thought of as insensitive and uncaring, I eventually came to think of incredibly insightful.
Would I allow this situation to be a burden or a gift?
That one question turned my life around.
The truth of the matter is that I wouldn’t be where I am today in terms of my business and my close relationships, if I hadn’t suffered through those family changes. I used the solitary time to write my book The Call: Perfect Dream, Imperfect Life. I worked on and grew my business. I got serious about developing my skills as a coach and trainer in order to empower and encourage others to become their best selves and live out their dreams. I greatly widened my circle of influence and developed new and different close relationships. I ultimately remarried, something I originally thought I would never do. In many ways my life today is better than it was before my ‘big depression’. Low points truly can be turning points that allow you to create and live a life you never thought possible.
It is a rare person who has led a charmed life with no drama, crisis or disaster. The question is not: Why did this happen to me? Instead, the question is: How can I use this to grow and live my best story possible? How can I use my gifts and talents to enrich the lives of others and make the world a better place going forward?
So what about you?
Will you see your situation as a burden or a gift?
It’s all in your perspective.
When we are no longer able to change a situation- we are challenged to change ourselves.
~Vicktor E. Frankl
Lynne is one of my favorite people. She forced me to make some introspective decisions – when I least wanted to and changed the trajectory of my career. She is a professional coach, author and one of the coolest people I know. ~Betsy Mathews