Courage, change, and choice: the power of possibilities

Success requires clarity in the face of overwhelm.

Whether you’re one of the Americans sharing congratulatory fist bumps with other Trump supporters, one of the ones walking around in a shell-shocked daze of disbelief and fear, or one of the other billions in the world, you know changes are ahead.

Even without changes that are likely to come with a different political party heading the executive branch of the American government, all business owners will continue to be faced with a myriad of decisions every day. Some will be easy and almost mundane, while others will be so significant and scary that they’ll require every bit of courage you can muster.

So how do you remain functional in the face of uncertainty and change? Here are some strategies that will help.

Focus on what’s already working.

When you feel surrounded by upheavals, it’s unfortunately easy to start seeing only what’s hard. You may find yourself filtering out evidence of what’s going well in your personal or work life.

The trick is to be aware if you start filtering, then deliberately notice where things are rolling along smoothly and easily – because there’s pretty much always something that falls into this category.

You can take this noticing a step further and turn it into a habit of gratitude.

I’ve developed a  practice I call “green gratitude”: Whenever I’m out, the moment I see a green vehicle I verbalize my gratitude for some person, thing, or ability in my life. This is especially helpful and important when I’m feeling mad at the whole world; it pulls me out of my negativity, shifts my energy, and raises my mood.

Focus on what you can control.

Do you sometimes find you’re stressing and complaining about events over which you have exactly zero control?

How’s that working for you?

Many people find it a struggle to remain brave and effective during massive change and uncertainty. And a good way to hack away at your existing courage and sense of competence is to dwell on things which are out of your control.

Here’s the good news: Even thought there’s a lot out there you can’t directly control, there is one thing you can control in every single situation you face. And that’s your response to the situation.

Courage + smart choices + change = BIG opportunities.

While it feels kind of good to indulge in the occasional pity party, you’ll do yourself a lot more good if your default choice is to acknowledge something went awry, then figure out what you can do to address it.

An effective, “both/and” way to do this is with the simple phrase, “yes, and.” This enables you to both admit you’ve hit a  bump in the road and to move past your frustration / anger / disappointment / etc. and shift into problem-solving mode.

In fact, you can combine the strategy of focusing on what you can control with the third strategy for a seriously powerful way to deal courageously with change and confusion.

Unleash your creativity with “What if?”.

This is perhaps one of my all-time favorite questions. It enables you to approach a situation with curiosity and a certain degree of emotional neutrality. This type of mindset will serve you a lot better than desperation, whininess, or deer-in-the-headlights overwhelm.

Part of the beauty of “What if?” is that there’s  no limit to the number of creativity-boosting, stress-reducing ways to ask it and answer it.

The other, perhaps more beautiful, aspect of “What if?” is that it shifts you from a position of floundering helplessness and confusion to one of power and choice.

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So what practice do you fall back on when you’re deluged by change? Please share any helpful tips in the comments section below so the rest of us can add them to our tool boxes, too.

As a “thank you” for sharing your success strategy, I’ll send you a no-charge PDF version of The Enemy Within: How to Change Your Self-Talk From Sabotage to Support.

(By the way, thanks to Caio Jhonny for the picture of confusion. I found it in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)

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