While working in Burlington, Vermont these past two weeks and experiencing temperatures as low as -14 I have learned some things about inspecting and adapting. The first day I was here, I inspected my toes and they were freezing so I adapted by buying wool socks. Then, I learned the next day that wool socks work better if you wear them under cotton socks. I learned to adapt to my environment by layering clothes in order to stay warm.
By the end of the first week I wasn’t so cold anymore. It is amazing how quickly I was able to adapt when I changed my focus from how miserable the cold was to how warm layers of clothing can be. In short, I chose to set down my victim thinking about how freezing I was and pick up my victorious thinking about how comfortable I could be. I didn’t like my situation so I changed it! Complaining about it wasn’t making me warmer so I did something productive instead and got warm.
As a professional coach I often encounter people who are stuck. They have problems that appear to be the thing currently holding them back from what they really want in life. What they can’t see is that every problem they have is in the past. Whatever has caused the problem has already occurred. It’s over. It can’t be changed. Focusing on the problem isn’t the answer because you can’t change the past.
My role in the life of my clients is to help them see that the best way to get unstuck is to start right where you are today. Forget about solving the problem. Instead focus on what success looks like. Find the one change you can make to move towards the place you want to be and start moving in that direction.
If you are cold, stop focusing on being cold. Instead, take a step back and ask yourself how warm you want to be. What can you do to move in that direction?
If you are unhappy in your current job or financial situation, ask yourself what happiness looks like and what steps you can realistically take to move in that direction.
If you are confused, ask yourself what confidence would feel like in this situation. What do you need to build that confidence? Who can help you? How can you help yourself? Take a step in that direction.
We all encounter circumstances we hate. Stuff happens. But we don’t have to let stuff determine our destiny. We can move from a today that caught us off guard into a future that we determine and control. Sometimes today’s stuff is just what we need to project us into a tomorrow that’s better than we ever imagined.