Updated: Jun 7, 2021
Taking charge will translate into different actions depending on where you are and what you want to focus on. Maybe everything is going swimmingly, and you are happy out most of the time? Or is there a part of your life that is going well, but another part that is achingly out of synch and casts a dark shadow on all that is good? Or maybe your are completely in the stew, overwhelmed by all your responsibilities, you feel like you don’t have enough time or energy to get your to-do list done or once you do there’s another 5 things to add?
The one constant in life is change. Unexpected events necessitate us having to shape up and figure out how we deal with what has presented itself in our life. Whether it is illness, tragedy, financial difficulties, job loss or anything that is going to potentially cause stress, it necessitates a fresh perspective & creativity on how to deal with it. Which is easier said than done when you are in the middle of it.
I’ve had a few curve balls thrown my way over the years and I didn't always manage those curve balls or my own energy effectively. I stoically put a brave face on and tried to muddle through the overwhelm and that didn't serve me well. And whatever you bury will come back to be dealt with at some stage, as I did in my case and with that
I have learnt a thing or two about how to take charge when adversity hits. The curve balls that are thrown at us help us grow, whether we like it or not! I bet if you look back at the biggest challenges you have faced, you will realize how much you have learned from them?
Here are a few steps that I have learned that helps me take charge and get back on course when I hit a challenge. I hope they may be helpful for someone who is struggling at the moment.
1. Acknowledge - The first step is to acknowledge where you are. Are you feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious? Do you feel like you are running on empty? How are you feeling in your body and how are you sleeping? Be honest with yourself, do not try to be a warrior, if you suffer on, it does not help you or those around you.
2. Accept that you have a challenge that you need to address and may need help with. You service your car when it's not in proper working order, be loving enough to give yourself the same care and attention.
3. Get some Space - To be able to focus you need to take time out so you have the space to define where you are and what you want to change. You need to take yourself out of your situation to look at it objectively. Depending on the issue you are dealing with, you may be able to work it through yourself or perhaps get the support of a coach.
4. Regulate - It is not possible to take charge until you recharge yourself. You cannot be solution focused when you are feeling out of whack. What is going to help you get your nervous systems regulated so you feel better? What makes you feel good; a walk on the beach, meditation, golf, running, massage, time with a good friend? Do whatever is going to help you relax your nervous system & feel better.
5. Diagnose - You can do this yourself, or work with a coach to help you figure it out. Use the process in the following example to guide you.
Get a sheet of paper and roughly draw the following mind map diagram.
What is the problem?
Approach this exercise with curiosity and compassion. If it helps, think about yourself in the third person. "Kathleen, what exactly is the problem here". Try to be honest with yourself, it may take a while to figure out what the real problem is. Tune into your feelings, what are they telling you? Define the problem in the middle circle.
Once you are happy that you have defined the problem correctly, let it go and start to explore Solutions – have fun brainstorming, don’t limit yourself. Update the mind map with all the potential solutions.
Action: Now use your mind map, to create a simple action plan and ask for support with specific activities. This is where you may need coaching to plan how you effectively plan these communications and actions. Remember actions need to be SMART.
Specific - what exactly is the outcome you desire, the action required?
Measurable - how will you know the action is effective?
Achievable - is what you are asking for possible?
Realistic - is what you are asking for realistic?
Time based - when do you expect to get the action completed? This can be critical, particularly if it's out of our comfort zone and we may be prone to procrastination.
Last but not least, acknowledge that you have managed to take charge and start working on some positive outcomes for yourself.