Don’t Panic – You’ve Got This!
Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we’ve realized by now that we’re not in Kansas anymore. What was urgent yesterday may have been forgotten or at least put on the back burner for now. For many of us, it may seem like everything was okay when we went to bed and then overnight the world changed. And because the world changed; we are being asked (or forced) to change, too.
I have known for a long time that I came into this world needing to accept and deal with change. I realize I’m here to learn many lessons, but accepting and navigating change is at the top of the list. Through the years, I’ve kicked and screamed (loudly) when change came my way. Big change, little change, and layers of change. On the outside, I was usually calm and appeared in control; but on the inside I was screaming with all my might … I JUST want things to continue as they were … to be orderly, to be predictable… to feel in control, even if I couldn’t BE in control.
The reality is, due to the unsettling events and impact of COVID and the needless Civil Rights deaths; things HAVE changed and none of us are in control! Why – because there is no overall control to be had right now. Unlike other times when I wanted to scream with my outside voice – I’ve got this; this time, I KNOW I’m not in control. I KNOW I need to lean into the feelings, to acknowledge the situation for what it is, so then I can then move to action!
The changes resulting from these two world-changing situations are asking … no make that demanding … that we evaluate, that we make the hard shift from thinking “oh God, ain’t it awful” to … asking ourselves “what can I do about it?” So what can you DO…?
As a starter, you can face “it” (whatever “it” is) and then recognize “it” for what it is. Is it fear… or denial, or grief, or anger? We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. So, the first step is to acknowledge where you are. Take an inventory – not what you want things to be, but what things are, right now. Start there first. What’s the situation today? What do you want it to be in the future?
Then ask yourself, is it within YOUR control to solve? If the answer is yes, keep asking questions until you get to the root issue. Once you know what “it” is, you can start to develop the roadmap for how to get there. Grab that pen and paper or a flip chart, or if you prefer get on your computer and start listing bullet points. The goal is to list as many ideas as possible on how to close the gap from where you are today to where you want to be.
We want to let ideas come freely. Rules of brainstorming tell us not to limit ourselves, to let the ideas fly, and not to dismiss thoughts. Get them out of your head and onto paper. Don’t get hung up on spelling or even think of listening to that inner voice shouting a thousand reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t take action. So to make sure you’ve got the guidelines – no holding back, no judging yourself, and no overthinking.
When ideas seem to slow down, keep asking yourself; if here’s where I am and there is where I want to be; what steps do I need to take to get there. Don’t worry about what you’ll do first. The first thing is to get the ideas down on paper. We’ll prioritize later. Remember, you’re ONLY writing down what YOU can do. Stay tuned for the next message, “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.”