A global pandemic has broken out and it’s changing all our lives – maybe forever.
Not only are many getting sick and fighting for their lives, the rest of us are living in isolation while the stock market crashes and some of us aren’t sure if our jobs will still be our jobs in a week or a month.
This type of drastic, rapid change is unsettling to say the least.
Difficult times are one of life’s guarantees. For some, it will create despair and helplessness. For others, it’s a time to invest in themselves, their families, and their relationships to come out of the dark time a great deal stronger than they were when it started.
Here are 4 tips on what you can do to thrive during uncertain times:
I can’t repeat it enough: If you’re not happy in your relationship, then you’re not happy.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, you might be scrambling to get some flowers or that perfect gift for your significant other, but on the day of love the best thing you can do is become intentional about taking your relationship to the next level.
One of the biggest lies believed and repeated in our culture is the lie that good relationships are easy or that good relationships just happen. Relationships, like a sport or your job, are a set of skills that you need to hone for you to be successful.
So while people spend countless dollars on education for their careers, seminars for how to better themselves, and self-care routines, far less people than should invest time and money into their relationship – due to that faulty belief that things should just “fit” between people truly in love.
For Valentine’s Day I’m going to give you 3 tools to understand and improve your relationship. If you use them, you will improve your relationship exponentially:
Growing up I was never much of a planner. To-do lists felt like a waste of time and planning often seemed like it added more work than it alleviated – which of course is the opposite of the goal of good planning.
On top of that, I have always been good at improvising on the fly and playing jazz in my life, so it just never seemed like much of a priority to sit down and plan everything out.
As I’ve gotten older, my responsibilities have grown and my dreams have gotten bigger, I’ve started to hit the limits of where “planning on the fly” can take me.
Like many clients I work with, when I’m not intentional about what I’m doing with my time and where my life is headed, I start floating along the river of life and just hoping that things work out.
This is obviously not the philosophy of someone who wants to accomplish anything of substance in their life, so I’ve revisited planning in a major way and have implemented amazing planning that has changed the course of my life forever. Here are some basic concepts in planning that will change your life forever:
One of the things I see constantly in my clients is people holding themselves back based on their own self-concept rather than the external factors in the world around them.
Throughout life, people make decisions about themselves that may or may not be true. Or they are true some of the time and people extrapolate that idea to their entire life.
How many people do you see that would tell you they are “shy,” but then you’ve seen them be the life of the party one or more times? How many people seem quiet, but then get up to give a presentation at work and magically find another gear where they are commanding and inspiring? How many people think of themselves as a total bad ass at work, but then come home and are easy-going sweethearts with their children and spouse? And I’m sure everyone is familiar with the often celebrated lady (or gentleman) in the streets who’s a “freak” in the sheets.
All of us have these apparent contradictions in our personalities if we look for them, but most people never stop to investigate these beliefs that sit in the back of their heads and filter all their decisions. We all have dynamic personalities and we all “perform” differently depending on the setting and who we are with.
If you want to move up in the world, level down, or pivot in a different direction, one of the best skills you can develop is to gain control of the different parts of yourself so that you are capable of calling whichever version you need at the time you need. Here’s how to get started:
There’s a lot of clichés in the personal development space. I will often repeat them because clichés are often overwhelming truths that we should pay more attention to than we do. One such idea, which doesn’t get nearly enough attention, is that empathy and forgiveness is the root of happiness in yourself.
If I could impress one personal development lesson it would be this: Have empathy for yourselves and others because we are all doing the very best we can.
It’s at this point that you are inevitably thinking about the co-worker you hate, your sexually harassing boss, your ex best friend who has been long written off, or any other number of people that you absolutely DON’T think is doing the absolute best they can.
Believe me, I know the feelings you have towards those people. The feelings are dark, cynical, and seductive. They will take over your life and leave you alone if you allow them to live in your head or your heart.
I was listening to Pope Francis address a giant crowd of Catholics on Christmas today and I was moved by a lot of what he said.
His eventual point was interesting in that it was very close to the guidance I try to give to my clients. He talked about how we need to accept the gift of Christ so that we could in turn be the gift for others.
This is a Christian way of saying what I have thus far found to be one of the best directives in life: be more so you can give more.
As Francis discussed the idea of Christ coming as a gift for those who didn't “deserve” - he made it abundantly clear that we will receive the gift anyway and as such we should accept it gracefully and move forward in giving ourselves to others. Whatever your religious affiliation, we can all recognize that we are often extremely hard on ourselves to the point where we feel we don't deserve love and grace, let alone feel like we can contribute to the world around us.
That being said, in the personal development space there is no shortage of people obsessed with their own growth. People spend countless hours sculpting their physique, padding their back account, finding that strategic edge in their business, or sharpening their mind with the next best idea.
But for what?
I’m not a reality TV watcher, but somehow a recent argument between Kim Kardashian and Kanye West got served to me by YouTube and I found it fascinating. Their famous argument is something that EVERYONE in a relationship is going to go through, so we can all learn from what is going on with this celebrity couple.
Here’s the often unspoken truth about personal development: When you grow as an individual, it’s going to put strain on your relationships - often to disastrous results.
For background’s sake, Kanye West is one of the most prolific rappers on Earth who has previously promoted all the trappings of rap music - derogatory language, objectification of women, self-worth derived from material things, and so on.
Recently and famously he has re-devoted his life to his Christian faith. He has sworn off creating negative content and music for “the culture” and is only going to make music that celebrates his love of Jesus Christ.
When an individual makes a dramatic turn like this, it is unavoidable that there will be conflict with those who have loved the old you. Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian, expressed this beautifully in an argument over whether or not she should dress sexy for other men to see when she said “your transformation doesn’t mean I’m in the same spot with you.”
My mom and I were recently talking about whether or not someone who is trying to lose weight should weigh themselves every day or not.
She took the new popular position that no you shouldn’t. And I get why. True weight loss is pretty slow (maybe dropping 1 or 2 pounds per week if you are doing it healthily and normally). Seeing moderate changes along the way are discouraging for her and others who don’t want to see the slow progress of weight loss. Or worse, people who give themselves cheat days don’t want to see the damage that their 6 beers and basket of fries did to their goals.
I’m quite different. If I have a weight goal, I want to know exactly what is happening. Was my day of eating good or bad? Am I eating something that is making me hold on to weight the days I am eating it? If I sleep less does it affect my weight drop or gain overnight? If I cheated and ate something bad how much did it set me back? And there are numerous other questions that I can only know the answer to if I am gathering data.
There's a fine line between knowing yourself and creating limiting identities or beliefs.
In the coaching world and the corporate HR world there is a lot of hype around personality types, enneagrams, introversion/extroversion, and other tools used to put people in neatly ordered boxes.
These tests can be useful for us individuals because it helps us feel understood, can point us in the right direction for our current skill set, and even point out our weaknesses and limitations so we can improve.
Managers and executives like these tests because they help them put people into boxes and order us appropriately so that we flourish under their leadership.
So on the surface everyone wins with these tools.
Like everything, there is a downside and these tests often become a problem for people. It becomes a problem because when you put people into behavioral boxes, they tend to accept their new confines and their growth becomes stifled.
For those that don’t watch sports, Adam Vinatieri is a 46 year old kicker in the NFL who is widely regarded as the greatest kicker to ever play the game. Much to my town of Indianapolis’ chagrin, the last two games he has missed a career worst number of kicks. Out of 8 kicks, most of them being routine kicks, he has only made 3. That would be bad for a struggling high school kicker, let alone the best to ever play the game.
Most people think that Vinatieri hit some age wall where he suddenly can’t make a routine chip shot - as if his leg deteriorated to the point of being inaccurate from short distances overnight. As such, many think it’s time for him to retire.
In reality, if you go grab Vinatieri when he is 60, I bet he’ll be able to kick 10 extra points in a row without the kind of problems he is having now. It’s not his age. It’s just a typical slump. Slumps happen to everyone, but when you are a baseball player or a kicker in the NFL, your slumps are obvious, measurable and compounding.
The real question is - why do slumps happen and how on Earth do we make them stop?
Your life coach.
The Andrew Warner Podcast: