I try to be candid and authentic and admit when I struggle with things. Just because I have certain qualifications, education or work experience, does not mean I am immune to mental health problems, challenges, setbacks, worries, doubts or all the other fun things we juggle throughout our lives!
The good news about this – scary AF – approach that I’m taking, is that I can use myself as a guinea pig and I can share with you when I find new ways to get through my own challenges and hopefully, help you too!
So, having said all that I want to share a story with you…
Over the last few weeks I have encountered some bumps in the proverbial road, both in my personal and professional life. Although these have been difficult to manage and overcome, I know now I am better equipped to deal the next time something like this crops up. And it all got me to thinking about my bounceback-ability…
I’ll start at the beginning. I encountered a challenge relating to some interpersonal relationships. It was a situation I have – loosely – encountered in the past. What I mean by that is, there was a miscommunication and a misunderstanding which escalated beyond all reprieve and caused upset, drama and difficult conversations. If I change the names, situation and location, it is the same underlying issue which has caused problems before.
If you take a moment of honest reflection about your life, you too may recognise patterns where the same thing or the same types of people have cropped up and presented you with the same challenges. Perhaps in the shape of a romantic partner, a boss or a friend. Now, it is not always a happy realisation that we are going through something negative which we have already been through with someone else. BUT the good things is, we can implement whatever we learnt from the previous situation and build up a little skill called “Bounceback-ability”.
Bounceback-ability? Did you make that up?
(No. Bear with…) It goes without saying that our resilience is completely different for each situation. Some things might knock us flat on our backs for an hour or two and then we are back up as if nothing happened. Other things can shatter our lives and cause irreparable change. So, let me say now that this is not a flippant article telling you, you can “bounceback” from anything quickly with my advice. It is an article shining a light on the value of introspection and being conscious of the situations, communications, relationships and influences in your life, so you use all positive and negative experiences for learning and improvement.
Have you ever noticed that the first time you experience something is often the hardest? Let’s use relationships as an example; cast your mind back to your first break up, no matter how old you are or how long the relationship, it can shatter you to your core for very a long time. However, next time it happens you have experience, you have knowledge, you are more prepared so you have the ability to manage your own expectations.
Bounceback-ability is not just a snazzy word. It is a survival technique, it is a scientific, neural process which our brains go through so the next time we encounter a potential “threat” to our peace, we know how to act, for self-preservation.
Why am I yabbering on about all this?
Lets switch to the situation in my professional life. I won’t go into details but I was disheartened and frustrated by something. This caused me to spiral into self-doubt, comparison and fear. I really felt like I was swimming through toffee in terms of motivation and finding my way through and I was close to complete collapse and defeat.
Then I realised. This was the first time I have encountered this situation since I started my business. So OF COURSE my reaction was going to be extreme! My brain was desperately searching for past experiences, evidence that I have indeed survived this threat before and hopefully, a map of how I could do so again. But nothing was found because nothing was there. Folder = empty.
From this new perspective, I was able to shelve any expectations of myself and employ a more logical, “beginner” viewpoint. I realised that what had happened was NOT the end of the world and was just a normal challenge for a business owner. It did not mean anything positive or negative about me as a person. And, most positively, it has provided me with valuable new business practices and emotional management techniques aka a pathway for my brain. Now, the next time this happens, I will see an improvement in my bounceback-ability for this particular situation and a quicker turnaround time.
Next time you encounter a situation which turns you upside down, take a minute to step back and work out if you are in fact a “beginner” too. Switching your brain to curiosity mode will definitely stop you beating yourself up… and will therefore be 100x more productive in finding your pathway back to peace.