Why…Why did this happen? Why are we going through this? Why can’t things just stay this way? Why can’t it be like the good ol’ days?
I’ve been hearing these phrases a lot as I serve people on an individual and organizational level to improve performance and growth by restoring clarity, health, and intention. People and organizations are stuck. We are swirling in and ruminating on why. Spending so much time and energy resisting what has happened or what needs to happen because of fear.
It’s totally natural, we simply need to learn to move through it more quickly. Not by pushing through or sweeping things aside. We need to grieve and we need to struggle. However, resisting and fighting against what is or what will be prevents us from confronting our fears and actually dealing with the situation. Instead, we get stuck in a mess of negative feelings, waste time and energy, and hurt people and profits in the process.
Resistant control is a cowardly form of control. That’s not what we are called to do or who we are called to be. We are called to be courageous. Face reality head on with a strong back and open heart. Deal with the hard stuff. Work through it. Remove “why” and replace it with “what now.”
Most of us don’t want to be courageous because that requires shutting off the blame and turning the mirror on ourselves. We have to use the love, grace, and courage God gave us to take the next step forward. We have to trust that God will help us through it and things will turn out, because they will. Maybe not according to our plan and maybe not exactly how we would’ve scripted it, but life will go on. Your business will continue to operate.
You can stay swirling and spinning and resisting, or you can move forward to a new place with new perspectives and lessons and continue to live your life and do your work. The sad and scary part is I watch people who are stuck in the past or who are resistant to change get so caught up in fear that they literally missing out on the good things right in front of them. They miss great opportunities. They close lose touch with feeling and trying and resign to playing it safe…aka living a small, unfulfilled, mediocre life.
As I’ve come alongside people to help them get unstuck, I’ve realized they need support in knowing that it’s safe to try something else. They need to speak their fear aloud and have someone help them see it’s safe to move forward. We often cannot do this “unsticking” work alone. Second, they need language and practices to help them get unstuck. Below is a very effective exercise that can help you move from “why” to “what now” and help you feel safe and motivated to move forward, adapted from Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
- Outline the current state and the consequences to you and to others if you maintain the it.
- Outline the ideal future state (how does it look, how does it feel, what are you doing, what are others doing, how are you feeling, etc.).
- Ask yourself what changes you needs to make to get from where you are to ideal.
- Ask yourself what the worst case scenario could be if you were to make the changes you’ve outlined above.
- Ask yourself what the best case scenario could be if you were to make the changes.
You will have a plan for the worst case scenario and you will be motivated by the best case scenario. Of course it’s easier said than done, but this can help you take steps forward. It can work if you’ve lost a loved one, and it can work if you are facing a large organizational decision.
The world is changing more quickly than before. As individuals and organizations we have to know, love, and trust ourselves so we can adapt and make good decisions faster. This requires an evaluation of who we are and what we believe. Strong values, openness, and faith that God has your back no matter what can open your life to more peace, joy, and freedom than you could’ve imagined. It can take your organization to new heights you never dreamed of.
It’s up to you. You don’t have to do it alone. I know from experience. I was a hair-on-fire, push-it-to-the-limit, control freak who was very successful and very fearful and empty. Once I got a coach who gave me permission to get off that hamster wheel and create some balance in my life and learn to surrender, a brand new world opened up. A brand new me opened up. More peace. More love. More ideas. More innovation. More success.
Do your work. Reach out if you want support. I’d love to help you and your organization.