When reality stops you dead in your tracks. My top 5 tips to deal with the 'supposed to’s'
Last Sunday, after being sick with the flu for 4 days and still recovering, I sat on my lounge and wrote about what was “supposed” to be the last day at my corporate job. I was filled with sadness, disappointment and disbelief at the incredibly bad timing of the flu.
(SIDE NOTE: Those of you that know me well, will relate to the timing thing).
For some reason, I sat with the text rather than press ‘publish’ in what would have been my first blog post, and now, after having almost-fully recovered, sitting on my lounge again re-reading what I wrote, the answer seems obvious. While I’ve enjoyed sharing a small piece of my life with you, what I love more than anything in the world is to help and support people. This is my passion, my calling, my purpose and the very reason I chose to be a Life Coach (more on my ‘purpose’ in an upcoming Facebook live). So, instead of just sharing my story, I’ve also added my top 5 tips for dealing with the “supposed to” disappointments.
Sunday 12th November, 2017
Friday was “supposed” to be the official last day of one of the major chapters in my life. The ending of my corporate career spanning 9 years here in the Netherlands (and many more years in Australia – but that’s another story), the ending of my 2.5 years of working with my current employer, and the beginning of my new business. A day that I had been looking forward to for so long, a day filled with bittersweet feelings, of last day talks with colleagues and peers, the final handing over of company-owned equipment, the sharing of last bits of information and advice, and of course ending in celebratory drinks. I imagined coming home late, happy and rather tipsy (read: very tipsy) as I celebrated the hell out of this last page in that chapter of my life.
Well, that’s how it was “supposed” to be. Life had other plans. During my last Leaders’ meetings on Wednesday afternoon I started feeling unwell – nothing major, a slight sore throat and the starting of a dull headache.
On Thursday morning the dull headache was no longer dull, the sneezing started, and the slight sore throat was feeling like razor blades. Nothing a fast-acting paracetamol and a boost of Vitamin C couldn’t fix, so I rushed off to work. As the hours wore on so did my cold, and I was thankful when my Manager told to me to go home and rest so that I could be full of energy for my last day.
As the day turned into night, my cold no longer felt like the common cold. A fever ensued, the sneezing and coughing became constant noises filling my usually quiet home, and I finally put myself to bed.
By the time Friday morning came around (and after a night of feverish sweats, coughing, splattering, more sneezing and a red and sore runny nose) I felt well and truly sick. The kind of sick that makes you look white and pasty and unable to get out of bed. And so with heavy heart I did what you are not “supposed” to do: I called in sick on my very last day.
For two days thereafter I couldn’t get out of bed, not even to shower, and although I ached all over the ache in my heart was far worse. This was “supposed” to be the best last week of my corporate life, ending in the best last work day of my life (well, one of them at least).
I was “supposed” to be happy, full of energy and looking forward to the positive things to come. I was “supposed” to spend the rest of my weekend creating, planning, working out, spending the evenings with my one and only, sharing wild and wonderful ideas of the future that I will create, while sipping champagne and celebrating how far I’ve come.
So as I sit on my lounge today, feeling better than I have in the last couple of days, wooly socks on and wrapped warmly in a blanket, I watch the rain pour down and I reflect upon my journey. What “supposed to do’s” did I have 9 years ago?
What plans did I expect would work out neatly and perfectly? What expectations did I have of myself? After pondering this for a while I remember someone once saying that ‘things end the way they begin’ (I have no idea who said this but it certainly rings true). This ending did not go according to plan; it wasn’t all cheers, champagne and perfect, but then again, neither did the start. It too was filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, unexpected twists and turns, and so… I shake off my “supposed to do’s”, smile and think how perfectly imperfect this journey has been so far…
MY TOP 5 TIPS:
1. Re-adjust your perspective. Is the reality really as bad as it first appears? Is it the worst thing that could possibly happen? And then what? Usually, it’s only your initial disappointment at things not working out the way you imagined that feels like you’ve let yourself down (and possibly others, too).
2. BREATHE, and then take another deep breath. Take time to consider the facts before beating yourself up (repeat step 1).
3. Is there a hidden message here somewhere? Is the universe trying to tell you something else? Is there something you are not attending to that requires your full attention? Often taking the time to consider the bigger picture brings a sense of peace and insight.
4. Practise self-compassion. Be kind to yourself and do something that feels good.
5. Know that tomorrow is a new day. The sun will rise again, and you will too!
Go on, give it a try, and let me know how it feels! Comments most welcome