Many of us are feeling the pinch in the current climate, and I don’t just mean the chilling winter wind! And while we’re often told that “it’s good to talk”, and “a problem shared is a problem halved”, this can sometimes turn into complaining, moaning and harping on about our situation, over and over again, like a broken record. We may legitimately have something to be angry or upset about, but complaining to each other (or on national radio) won’t fix it without action. Budget cuts, house prices, fuel costs, the stress of work or lack of it, the state of the nation and so on… all too often we are preaching to the converted, feeding off each others’ indignation and outrage, which briefly makes us feel better when we feel understood, but doesn’t solve anything. Talking with other people who are just as stuck as we are may not challenge us to see things from a different perspective or find possible solutions.
So my Big Idea for 2013, though hardly original, is that instead of wasting our energy complaining in an unspecific way, that we make the next year all about TAKING ACTION. By all means talk, and accept and understand your feelings, but make sure it’s accompanied by action. Much of our stress comes from the following things – lack of acceptance of our situation, and a lack of choice or control. They say the truth will set you free, but first it will p**s you off! So here’s one truth: if you don’t like a particular situation you always have choices even where there appear to be none – you can either accept it (stop moaning about it – it is what it is), change your response to it (decide how you might react differently) or change it (take action to change the thing you don’t like), or perhaps a combination of those things.
“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.” Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor & author of “Man’s Search for Meaning”
Even if it’s something you feel has been “inflicted” on you by “the powers that be”, there is bound to be some way to take action – write a letter to the appropriate person or government department, organise a petition or a support group, help someone else who may be in a similar or worse situation …. For example, maybe you’re having difficulty finding a new job … research shows that job clubs and work search groups who support each other have a much higher success rate than individuals at finding work and sustaining themselves through their ups & downs; so why not join a group or start one of your own?
The only way that any of us can influence change is to take responsible action – rather than expecting someone else to. If we continually wait for government or employers or whoever to sort things out, we are truly surrendering our control. You may get no response or feedback at all, but that doesn’t mean it’s not been useful. If it doesn’t seem to work, try again, or try something else – at least you’ll be satisfied that you have done all you can. Just ask yourself, am I really doing everything within my power, or staying within my comfort zone?
So in 2013, what actions will you take or choices will you make to, as Gandhi put it …“Be the change you want to see in the world”?
Wishing you all the best for the festive season & 2013… Liz Barron, Realize Coaching