It’s not too late.
We are still in February.
Are you beginning to get the feeling that this year is going to be the same as all of the others? Chugging along. Doing the same old things. Not getting ahead? Don’t know what really matters to you or what really matters in life?
Do you feel that sign — the dread, deep down in the pit of your stomach?
Are you already feeling doomed to a life not lived fully? No real joy? No prospect of changing how you go about life?
You probably didn’t even bother setting any New Year’s goals. Why? Because you never, ever achieve them anyway.
There’s still time.
There is a solution if you approach this dilemma slightly differently.
Out of chaos comes order. Out of trauma life can change instantly.
When confronted with issues that can affect every one of us at some point, life can take a different turn. For the worse if you view it that way. For the better if you resolve to use it to your advantage.
Crisis brings about major turning points in our lives. The crisis generally involves loss. Loss of a partner, a pet. A death of someone close. Fire. Flood. Economic downturn leading to redundancy, job loss. Loss of income, of your house, even your health.
When trying to assess what really matters to you, you might try doing these two things: answer the following questions, and see how you feel when you address these particular issues.
When assessing the current status of your life, we seldom compare our situation to the billions of people who are starving. Who can barely scrape together enough clothes for their children to wear. Those who have no job, no money, no reliable source of food. Those who are living in dire conditions, who are fighting disease.
We seldom think of those who are so dispirited that life really does not seem worth living.
No, we don’t think of those things. Those desperate people. We don’t realise how much better off we are in our jobs, in our homes, enjoying relatively good health.
To find out love what really matters to you, try to imagine the three worst things that could happen to you. What would they be? Why? How would the loss make you feel?
I know this is hard to do but bear with me. It will be worth it in the end.
Here are some ideas to help you put into perspective how your current life situation is compared to others who are less fortunate than you.
People would say, “Just get another one.”
But what if you lost your job because someone spread nasty rumours? Rumours that weren’t actually true, yet you were tarnished with that rumour. In fact, you received a very bad review. And, that review followed you around. Because at the next job interview, you were asked why you left.
What would you say?
If you try to justify the position, the new, prospective employer, might feel that you’re not a safe bet.
If this situation continues and you end up being rejected over and over for your ideal position, what would become of you?
Would you lose your self-confidence? Would your self-esteem be battered? Would you lose hope and slip into a mental fog of lacking in self-worth?
Quite possibly, all three.
You might become trapped in this cycle. You most probably will try for a lesser position. Something out of your skill set. Something less meaningful. Something that you can adapt your feelings of inadequacy to, such that it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle.
Most people’s identity is tied up in their jobs, their career, their position.
If you ask someone what they do, they will automatically tell you: “I’m a lawyer.” “I’m a policeman.” “I’m a nurse.” They identify with what that position holds in society and what that degree of responsibility means and what that authority engenders in the minds of the enquirer.
When we lose our jobs, quite often we can also lose our identity.
If you did lose your job, try and work out what that would mean for you. And be courageous enough to ask yourself: “Why would I feel that way?”
The “why” will steer you towards that which you value most in life.
Having a house, owing this house, paying off the mortgage, gives people a sense of satisfaction. It makes people feel secure in that at least they have a sanctuary. A place they can call their own. A place to hide out or be able to do what they want to do, when and how they want to do it.
But — losing your job could very well also lead to losing your house.
Where would you go?
Could you possibly move to that other, awful suburb, where the rents are lower, but you don’t identify with the types of residents who live there?
Would you move to the country where rents are much cheaper, yet the prospects of a “real” job might be so much less?
Losing your house — a place where you have left your mark, your colours, your design, your flair — can also lead to a loss of self-esteem, self-confidence and identity.
It’s as though you lose your place in the world. You might feel displaced — homeless, even.
So, if you lost your home, how would that make you feel? Examine that feeling and discover why you might feel that way in that crisis.
Interestingly enough, this is the last thing people consider.
If you were confronted with serious illness or disease, or an accident, your life would change dramatically. What would you do? How would you cope? Would your self-worth be shattered, and why?
Quite often, the first thing that happens when confronted by serious health issues is that people consider how other people might view them, their position, their status, their place in the world.
People seem to revere status and position first. What will people think of me? Will they think I’m a failure? Not good enough? No longer a valuable member of society or the workplace?
Unfortunately, appearance, whether actual/physical or assumed via your career, is what most people think of first.
These attitudes can absolutely ruin your health. It’s like a stealth virus — sneaking up on you. Eroding your self-confidence. Your worth. Your value.
These negative beliefs, feelings and attitudes are the very basis of stress. They continually erode your core, your inner being. Why? Because we have become a society that values external trappings, external beauty, external visibility of success.
It’s a sickness. It’s stress. And, stress is a disease. Not one that many people articulate as such. But nonetheless all-pervasive.
If we are not happy within ourselves, then we seek to gain happiness by external means. This unhappiness can lead to ill health. To disease.
So, if you lose your job, and you lose your house, then you lose your self-worth, most probably you will begin to lose your physical health as well.
So, when trying to assess what really matters to you, imagine the scenario of the worst thing you can think of — and there may be a few — and see how you feel about that happening. If you feel strongly about it then ask yourself, “Why am I feeling that way?”
In this way you’ll get to those experiences that you value most. That matter most to you if you lost them.
Decide: Is your job important to you? Then make sure that you do what’s necessary to ensure you keep that. Try to up-skill to remain on top of your area. Learn communication and coaching techniques to make you a better listener. Search out people around you, who you can offer to help. When you change yourself the circumstances around you will change, as if by magic.
Is your house important to you? Then make sure you secure this asset in whatever way possible. Make sure you have income protection insurance or tied you over in case of loss of job or income. Along the way, save sufficient in a separate bank account to cover personal expenses for up to six months.
Is your health important to you? If so, decide that you will do something about the stresses, the negative beliefs you hold, the substances you are putting into your body. Change your beliefs. Change your attitudes. Change your eating patterns.
By doing those things, you will have decided what really matters to you.
Now is the time to prioritise and de-clutter your life. Focus on those issues, people, and experiences that are the most important to you.
Working out what really matters helps you focus back on what is important. What motivates you and keeps you inspired. It can short-cut your success as you cut out the clutter.
Start today as this process is liberating. Narrows down your choices. Gives you hope. And. Most of all, freedom.
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