Making choices in challenging times

Beach shack with a pink and blue door.

While we have all experienced some form of disruption, I strongly believe that we have all been going through different and unique experiences. For some of us the change has been minimal, while for others the change and stress has been extreme and incredibly confronting.

This disruption to our ‘normal’ daily lives has required us to lean into empathy, to set boundaries and prioritise self-care. It has also required self-compassion when we have been unable to show up as the best versions of ourselves (this has been a big one for me that traditionally doesn’t come with great ease!).

I can say that personally this has been some of the most challenging months as a leader, business owner and as a person supporting and coaching others through massive change at the same time. I have had to process and sit with great sadness, frustration, anxiety, guilt and fear; allowing myself to experience and process these big emotions in ways that feel unnatural to me, as my mind just wants them to GO AWAY so I can feel ‘good’ again.

I have been grateful for the psychological and strongly evidence-based knowledge and skills we teach at Inkling around the need to accept, rather than fight or avoid uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and situations. This is an ongoing skill that we need to cultivate, especially in times like these.

We have a deeply hardwired tendency to struggle with thoughts, feelings or situations that don’t feel ‘good’, and so we avoid them. This can play out in destructive ways; binge eating, overworking, oversleeping, excessive drinking, not leaning into difficult tasks or conversations… the list goes on (and I feel like I can tick a number of these boxes!). We all do avoidance, and while a little bit is okay, when done to excess it moves us away from the person we want to be and how we want to show up in the world. This eats away at our soul more than anything.

The lucky thing about being human is that we always have a choice in how we respond. We can’t always control our thoughts and feelings (as they can often be automatic and subconscious). We can’t control others and how they respond or the external situations we’re in (e.g. global pandemic!).

We can, however, always choose our actions. We can choose to lean into the difficult experiences and act in a way we are proud of, even if it is very hard and uncomfortable. We can also choose to avoid and take actions that move us away from the person we want to be.

To help you navigate the choices you’re facing in these uncertain times, I wanted to share with you a powerfully confronting activity and worksheet that will help you show up as the person you want to be (especially in challenging times). It involves a series of prompts and offers an effective way of thinking about which direction you are moving in with each choice you make. We find that this activity sparks awareness and positive behaviour change for people in our workshops and coaching sessions. After receiving such positive feedback, I wanted to share it with you too. I hope you find it helpful.

As these times of change and uncertainty continue, I encourage you to consider your towards and away moves daily and more consciously choose how you respond. Also remember to be kind when you don’t show up perfectly.

Download The Choice Point worksheet

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