What happens when Plan B… Plan C… Plan D… don’t pan out? What do you do when your transitions go awry?
Before reading on, take a moment to notice what thoughts come up for you around this. Are things going as planned? What do you daydream about? How does your story go?
Sometimes transitions feel like this:
After months of careful planning you are skydiving through crystal blue skies toward the golden fields below. The brief moments of freedom collapse into terror—your parachute won’t open! You’re in a downward spiral, freefalling with an eye toward the ground. Things do not look hopeful, and there is nothing you can do about it. You are doomed. Doomed!
⇒ What you tell yourself defines your direction—change metaphors before you hit the ground!
Sometimes the tone is more melodramatic:
The shoreline disappears from sight as the Titanic raises its anchors for its maiden journey. Your plans of the American Dream are so tangible you can almost taste them. But the unsinkable sinks leaving you romantically adrift with your dreams. Desperate and destitute, you must now follow the stars and hope for salvation. You are helpless. Helpless!
⇒ What you tell yourself sets your options—Change metaphors before you drown!
A change of metaphor:
It’s a foggy day in the neighborhood. With a scarecrow as witness, you dig the hole in the crisp autumn air. The sound of the shovel slicing the soil ends, and you lean over the shallow grave. A ripped family photo, a few shredded bank statements and mortgage documents, a stuffed animal missing an eye, a varsity soccer patch… to rest in peace under the black soil. And an acorn to mark the potent birth of your unexpected life.
You get knocked down, so you get up again. That’s just what you do. You are resilient.
You have more than you can chew, so you buy a blender. You are creative.
Dive into deep water, and learn to swim. You are adaptable.
It’s true from the prison cell to bankruptcy court, from the struggles of extreme poverty to the empty glitz of fame: This is your life! What will you make of it? Will yours be a grand narrative that brings peace of mind and forward direction, or a habitual bitterness that shuts you down? What you tell yourself creates your world—check your story if you’re feeling down.
Peace of mind and a sense of progress are available at all times, in all circumstances. Your worse-than-worst case scenario of change gone awry is simply one of many stories that could be told about the same set of perceived facts. Change the narrative, the metaphors, the way you describe your circumstances and you will thrive.