I often hear stories of people who discover they are stronger and smarter than they knew as a result of a significant and life-changing event. When trauma is experienced, people are required to develop new skills and must trust themselves to find their way to a solution.
Over the years, I’ve seen people who were going about their life, doing their thing, only to have certainty and everything that they knew about themselves thrown out the window in a moment. It might be a shock redundancy, health scare or the end of a significant relationship. Regardless of the trigger, the impact can be significant.
Life throws all kinds of surprises at us. Some of those bring happiness and new opportunities, but others leave us spinning in circles, unsure of how we even begin to survive it. One thing I am certain of in my experience as a coach, is that people are nearly always more capable than they know. In fact, people can be amazing, resilient and inspiring in the middle of mess! What I am fascinated by though is this question: ‘Why do we need to wait to find out what we are capable of?’
Imagine what life could be like if we consciously paid attention to our strengths, passions and goals and made that stuff happen, rather than wait to be provoked into change by trauma. Over and over again, coaching clients say to me: ‘I wish I had backed myself earlier… I just didn’t know I could do this.’ Whilst they would never have purposely invited the ‘mess’ into their life, once they come out the other side they are proud and regularly happier.
Often we are consumed by the ‘busy’ – the tasks and to-do lists – and we spread ourselves thin. Most of us have untapped potential, so I encourage you to stop waiting for things to go wrong, doors to close or boredom to consume you before you seek out that potential. Proactively create the change you need to live a life that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. Be prepared to take some risks, make some mistakes and learn some stuff about yourself that you didn’t know. On the other side of the mess is a more resilient version of you; a version of you who can step up, take ownership and drive your own success, whatever that means for you.
These thought-provoking questions will get you started:
- How would I define a successful life for me?
- Who do I know who could support me with advice and tips to get me on my way?
- What beliefs do I have now that stop me from reaching my real potential?
- If I truly trusted myself, what would I start doing differently tomorrow?
- What are the consequences of living my current life and not exploring the possibilities of more?
- Can I make a list of the attitudes, skills and experiences I have that really show my strengths?
- If I was being brave, what decisions would I make?
- What opportunities could I leverage right now if I wasn’t waiting for the perfect time?
- How can I develop resilience in my career, relationships and mindset so that I am ready for what life throws at me?
- If I stepped out of being ‘busy’ and paid attention to what I really want in life, what would I need to do?
If you need more inspiration, I recommend reading Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales, in which the book’s subjects explain how they managed to overcome a series of life-altering events. I’m also a big fan of Everything to Live For: The Inspirational Story of Turia Pitt and A Mother’s Story by Rosie Batty. These tales of determination in the face of adversity are proof of the limitlessness of human capability.
Founding Director, The Coach Place Global