Today, I contacted a participant from my Women’s Forum to ask permission to share and write about what could be considered a very personal matter so that her circumstance could be a teachable moment. She didn’t hesitate in allowing me to write about her and her situation. I commend her on her courage and spirit of sharing. This blog is dedicated to her.
During the afternoon session of the Women’s Forum, one of the ladies stopped responding in a Table Top Topic discussion. There were about 4 or 5 other women at the table. They noticed that the participant who we will call Jan did not move. She didn’t blink an eye. She just starred off into space and within a few minutes collapsed unto the table. The group repeatedly called out her name and did everything to make sure she was alright. By the time, I got to that side of the room they were carrying her into an adjacent room where they laid her down across a few chairs. A doctor who was also a participant checked her out and everyone was prompting me to call an ambulance. She was somewhat responsive at this point but clearly incoherent. To make a long story short, when everyone left the room, I looked Jan in the eyes and asked her deliberately and clearly whether she wanted an ambulance. She replied with a head shake and verbal response, “no”. I started asking her questions. Within time she sat up and I moved to be seated next to her and asked additional questions. She shared with me that her son who was 18 died a year ago. It occurred to me that she had been triggered. Earlier that day, I was talking about how my son left Asia and that I cried for three-days. I knew that my story was a trigger because out of nowhere she said, “You still have your son. And, I’ll never see my son again.” I held her, in hopes of transferring all the positive energy I had that could be shared with her. She had several situations fall at her feet around the same time frame. We started talking about what happened. She said that she would become so overwhelmed; she began describing in detail how she would become so weak that she couldn’t speak, keep her head up or walk. She is dealing with a difficult life situation by checking out and then shutting down. The rest of my time shifted from instructor to whatever she needed me to be at that moment. What I believe is that she hasn’t grieved fully, but more importantly she is going through a storm. And, heck the loss of a child will take your legs from up under you. I totally get it. But, let’s call it what it is so that we can resolve the issue and understand what we’re dealing with. She is in a storm. She may be in the eye of the storm or coming out of the storm, but she’s in a storm.
I’ve shared with audiences all around the world that you are either (1) going into a storm, (2) in a storm or (3) coming out of a storm. But, there is always the concept of a storm. Today, you may be fine and tomorrow a storm can blow in without warning. Are you prepared to manage and weather a storm? If you should find yourself in a storm or someone you know is going through it, please tell them to:
· Keep moving
When going through hell don’t stop! Keep moving forward. Don’t turn around because you already know what is back there; just keep moving, and preferably with people who will support you and move with you.
· Be Still
Being still is not about movement or doing nothing. It is not to be confused with not moving forward. Being still is to listen to your inner voice. To be silent and still. It’s not necessary or beneficial to move and do every moment of the day. I remember my grandmother would tell us as grandchildren, “Go sit down and be still.” Be still is a spiritual phrase. The actual phrase is Be Still and Know that I am God. Which leads me to this. Praying is when you are talking to God while meditating is a chance for God to get a word in with you. Find at least 20 minutes a day to be in quietness. Use that time to listen and be still. This can happen each morning as you face your day or at the end of the day to reflect. What I have come to learn and know is that God does things (1) with me, (2) through me and (3) for me, and each are for my highest and greatest good. Being still may help you to figure out why you are in the storm and how to come out.
· Trust and believe that you are going to come out of the storm
Know that every storm passes. Unfortunately, when things are at their darkest and the clouds seem to hover within inches of your head you can’t imagine the sunshine. But, if you look past the dark clouds you can envision that just over the clouds the sky is clear. Think about how a plane will take off in terrible conditions, but once it breaks through the clouds, it is bright and sunny. So believe that you will come through it because you will! It’s not dark everywhere all the time. There is sunshine… you just may be unable to see it.
· Let go…
Some people stay in or on a job out of fear, accept a project that doesn’t align with their skills or values, and in short either fear success or fear failure. You have to release something that will allow you to move through the storm. Ask yourself what is holding you back and let it go. Is it your thoughts, is it someone, is it fears, etc.? Now the beauty of fear is that we could not have courage, if we did not have fear. So, identify and face that fear. I believe that there are two types of fears: the fear of success and the fear of failure. Fear of success will allow you to take risks, but as you succeed you will often sabotage yourself, while the fear of failure makes it difficult to even take risks because you don’t want to ever fail. Both of these can be detrimental to your journey. Figure out what you need to let go of to move forward. What is keeping you a prisoner in a cell without bars? When you figure that out: let it go…
· Recognize Your Setback as a Come Up
When you are accustomed to rising, rising and rising like a car on a roller coaster ride, you forget that you must drop at some point. Willie Jolly, a Speaker, said that your setback is a set-up for a come-back. Your ability to be at ease and resilient are totally dependent upon how you view your storm. No one is inoculated from feeling the stings, pains and worries associated with a storm, but the longer you dwell in the difficulties the longer you will experience it. See it for what it is, embrace it and move through it.
· Become Aware
Resilient people are aware of the situation and their emotional reaction to it. In order to manage what is happening to you, understand what it is and where it is coming from. I believe this is probably the most relevant to Jan’s situation. People wanted to treat her problem with physical medical care while she needed emotional care. If she focuses on her emotional well-being she’ll manage her physical dis-ease.
· Being Able to Ask for Help
There is no shame in seeking professional help from people who are trained to help you weather the storm, i.e. psychiatrist, therapist, etc. When you start to feel overwhelmed by what you are experiencing, seek support.
For more information on resilience, storms and stress, please contact me regarding my transformational coaching programme or to receive articles and insights indigo@4-DPerformance.com. I offer one-on-one coaching as well as group coaching for intact teams experiencing difficulties or stress.
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