Life surprises us when we least expect it…

Joanna Bown, Executive Coach, January 2019

Life can be a strange carousel where good and bad visits us in equal measure. Certainly, that’s what I’ve experienced, what about you?

Life surprised me positively recently after a few challenges… and I’ve been doing some reflection on that.

Luck doesn’t come knocking at our door when we’re trying too hard or when we want something too much. It’s at these times that life seems to back off, asks us to stop bargaining with or controlling it, to stop trying too hard. It asks us to go back to basics and relearn a couple of home truths and lessons around humility, patience, grace, and…. that we’re actually not in control of anything, even though we think we are. Look around you… the only thing that seems consistent in today’s world is uncertainty.

Looking at our own attitudes, approaches and thoughts, how are they hindering us? How could and should we get out of our own way? Late last year, I spent a few months going back to basics – slowing down, reflecting on how I was getting in my own way, and letting go of some attitudes and approaches that had crept up on me during a busy year, and weren’t doing me any favors…. it seems that bad things come in to teach us new lessons.

What I’m learning in the process is an ongoing philosophy:

  • Don’t be afraid to experience failure and disappointment.Only by accepting and internalizing these, sitting with them, and finally letting them go, have I been able to emerge on the other side.
  • Be self-aware.Sense your own limiting thoughts, fears and beliefs about a situation that may be holding you back.
  • We are what we overcome.Life isn’t defined by our successes or failures. Once we become self-aware and establish a newer, healthier inner dialogue, we can begin to traverse our difficult times with greater ease.
  • Don’t let your failures and disappointments break down trust and your relationships with others.
  • Life normally only surprises us when we step out of and beyond our comfort zones. I did that late last year and am beginning – although scary – to see the happier rewards on the other side. We need to be courageous to break up some of our outdated personal themes.
  • Often we’re the very ones that shut the doors to our own opportunities – to change – to a fortuitous future. It always takes longer than we think. Even when we’re closer to understanding our nature and are changing our inner dialogue and approach, it often takes time to emerge on the other side.
  • It depends on how we rise up to life itself. In my experience, he who rises up firm and tall with his shield up ends up broken. Sometimes it’s better to be like a sunflower in the field, turning our faces to the sun in hope, and becoming flexible, agile and more patient.
  • Life, like everything else, has its own rhythm. Good things will always come to us if we go back to basics – if we address and update our habits to healthy ones, grow our self-awareness, feel and really believe “we deserve it”, it will lead us to respond to life in a better way.

Life is surprising me at the moment, and whilst at times the ground can feel shaky, right now it feels great – after coaching for 16 years it feels like the more I thought I knew, the more I have to learn….

Let life teach you and surprise you!