If you’re like me, you realize that there are things in life that are beyond our control. Just a few weeks ago I arrived back home just in time to partner with my husband on our annual Team Malcolm fundraiser in our son’s memory. I had a whirlwind trip to lead a workshop in Anchorage, Alaska, connecting through Seattle to Portland, Oregon to deliver a keynote on resilience. Every word I spoke was from my personal experience and research on how to be effective in small changes and major disruptions – and I modeled resilience in action racing to the airport to raise funds and awareness for children with cancer. I mention the stops because as soon as I landed at home, word broke that the first COVID-19 cases were found in Seattle! I’m a conscientious traveler (and a student of statistics), so I didn’t think I had come in contact with the virus. But as the days went on, I became increasingly careful about my interactions…just in case!
That is how March began for me; quietly watching the situation unfold and trying to do my part to be part of the solution. I’m sure you can relate. As the days went on and schools closed, I found myself feeling a familiar sense of overwhelm. I quickly recognized it as the feeling I had when Malcolm was diagnosed with cancer. There was a lot of uncertainty and I could feel my heart racing at times when I was just sitting down. My body was doing what it was engineered to do, and my amygdala was in overdrive! I felt worried and afraid of a now known assailant in my son’s life. I established then, and have had to repeatedly use, a strategy to get my family and me through that difficult time.
Here are steps you take to process and thrive in unexpected change:
PAUSE – Stop and take note of what you’re feeling and experiencing. Recognize and analyze the events around you, and the feelings associated with it. This pause is necessary for self-awareness as you ask yourself “How am I feeling right now?” In this time of reflection, you should be quiet and listen to God. “Be still and know that I am God” This time of pause and surrender will strengthen your faith, as you are fully aware of the challenges around you, but not focused on them.
PRAY – Once you have become aware of your feelings and given yourself permission to feel them, you should begin praying about what you should do with those feelings. God knew what He was doing when he wired you, and your inner turmoil didn’t catch Him by surprise. However, now He wants you to trust Him with your heart and with the thoughts in your mind. I like to do an exchange and say “Lord, exchange my worry for your peace“ Repeat this for every negative emotion you are feeling asking God to exchange it for one of his qualities, especially the fruit of the spirit “For the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” Gal 5:22. Then rinse and REPEAT! As you pray, seek His guidance by asking “What should I do with these emotions? What actions should I take?”
PIVOT – This is the time to take wise action. These actions are going to be in response to your current situation but in alignment with your purpose. Being strategic and adaptable is the key to thriving in uncertain times. Right now, your work situation may have drastically changed. Your family budget may have been thrown out the window, and your kids are confused. But there is hope, and hope is what is going to help you move forward. The key is not to abandon your plans, but to adjust them (sometimes very drastically). Tap into what you’ve already formulated and maintain your priorities in the process.
Taking the steps above (Pause, Pray, Pivot) have helped me serve my family, my community, and my clients in uncertain times before. Now with this new threat to my sense of security, I’m employing this approach to do it regain my peace and productivity, because that’s what resilient people do…we rebound again, and again. You’re built for this, trust your resilience!
Need help reformulating your plan so you can PIVOT with grace? Want someone to pray with you? Schedule some time to chat at EngineeredForPurpose.com