Many years ago, I was having lunch with a friend who was going through a rough, personal time – an ugly divorce. As we talked, he poured out his heart to me – hurt, bitterness, anger, etc. It was real. And it was tough to listen to. He was so frustrated with the entire ordeal that at one point he said, “I feel like I need to be doing something right now. I feel caged up. My life isn’t moving forward. What do I do now?”
What do I do now?
We are several weeks into the Covid-19 disaster. The news is filled with daily reports of death and despair. Our world-wide economy is being more than constrained. Small business owners are watching what they fought so hard to create crumble right in front of them – and at no fault of their own.
People are losing their jobs and their security. I hear first hand of stories of despair and worry. It would be hard enough to lose a job, but during a time when government tells businesses to remain shuttered, new opportunities seem unreachable.
What do I do now?
This post is not meant to provide magic dust to sprinkle on your life. I write to you to give you hope. What is there to do when the rug has been pulled out from under you…
There are things you can do now. Things that will strengthen you. Things that will encourage you. Things that will prepare you for your next opportunity that will come.
- Stay connected. You’ve got friends/family members who care about you. Stay connected with them. The temptation is to become even more isolated than the world is now. Fight that urge. Call someone. Get a fresh perspective. Hear an encouraging word.
- Strengthen your mind. Even if you are not out of job, use this unique time to become better. Read a book that will make you stronger now than you were just a few weeks ago. I highly recommend reading The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. I came across this title just a couple of weeks ago, and I am almost finished reading it. This book will inspire you. It will give you a quick kick in the britches. It will make you think. If not this book, find a book where you spend time investing in you now for your future opportunities. Or find an uplifting podcast. You will not regret it.
- Control your mind. What we say to ourselves dramatically determines how we navigate life. Be mindful to things you say to yourself. Dr. Shad Helmstetter has been writing about this for decades – his words and work will encourage you! Don’t roll your eyes at this. Your self-talk is far more powerful than you think. You can “re-program” your brain and make it work for you, not against you.
- Journal your journey. Multiple studies have shown that journaling is vital. But what you write is as vital. Take time to document what you are grateful for. Write down positive interactions you had on a particular day. Record questions you have and then follow up on learning the answers.
- Don’t neglect your spiritual life. From my perspective, this means spending time in prayer, worship, and meditation. When stress comes, we are easily knocked off our feet. Staying spiritually tuned is an essential grounding necessity.
- Be others-focused. When hard times come, it is natural to sit in a corner and lick your wounds. But find ways to do something for others. When we focus on others, we can more easily get out of the funk we are so easily entangled in.
Sure, there are things that are out of control. Don’t focus on those things. If it’s out of your control, then it’s a waste of your time mulling over it. Focus on what you CAN do, then do it.