Sometimes in the waves of change, we find our true direction. – Unknown
Recently I went to the beach to recharge myself. One beautiful morning I planted myself in my chair right on the edge of the ocean. I took notice of the waves crashing on the shore. It was beautiful and mesmerizing.
Waves are powerful yet from a short distance, they seem harmless. But I knew if I got in the water, while some waves will roll by, some would flat out knock me down.
That’s when it hit me. Life is like that sometimes, and lately, since COVID started it seems that many people are experiencing the effects of crashing waves. Some impact us temporarily, but when we repeatedly get hit by the waves coupled with fear, sadness and exhaustion, we might not be as resilient and experience lasting effects.
There’s a saying that “When life knocks you down, get back up”. It’s inspiring and makes perfect sense, but what if we are tired of getting knocked down? What if there are other responses to choose?
I don’t know about you, I don’t want to just survive the wave. I want to thrive, win and come out stronger. Here are five ways I’ve learned we can turn our crashing waves into a win.
- When life knocks you down, get back up quickly. Bonnie St. John, a Paralympic medalist, with only one leg shares how when she was in the skiing competition, she and the other skier both fell.They were both excellent skiers but because the other skier got up faster, her competitor won. Bonnie learned an important lesson and offers the advice “When you fall, be the quicker getter upper”.
- Understand patterns in your waves.Do your crashing waves come out the blue or is there a repeated pattern? Sometimes there are patterns in our attitude or relationships that keep showing up that is an opportunity to learn from. Until we learn that lesson, it may keep showing up in other areas.The good news we can change thought patterns we don’t want to keep. It starts with awareness then taking small, yet bold steps of change. Over time we begin seeing new and better results.
- Ride the waves.Crashing waves may sometimes take you under, but if you develop a new perspective about your wave, you can leverage it to gain new wisdom. You can also learn to enjoy the journey despite difficulties. When you find yourself overtaken, step back and focus on the bigger picture. This more objective view will show you that even during uncertainty there is still beauty around you.There are times when we need to embrace the wave. I’ve also heard it said, “When the waves of life crash down on you, pick yourself up, get ready for the next one, and ride it like you own it”.
- Take a break from the waves. Sometimes when you’re dealing with crashing waves all day, and other people’s crashing waves, take a ‘time out’. Give yourself permission to take care of your needs too. It’s ok to sometimes say “I’m not doing waves today.” While you have responsibilities and are supporting others, you also need to provide that support to yourself too. Be intentional about taking time for you, even if it’s starting with five minutes a day.
- Don’t stand alone in your wave.Recent studies now show that depression has tripled since COVID. Many people are feeling sadness and hopelessness more than ever. We don’t have to face our waves alone. It’s sometimes hard to reach out for help, especially if we’re known for being the strong one. But if we don’t have the support we need, we might not be able to withstand the harder waves. By linking our arms together with others, we can withstand just about any storm.
We all have crashing waves in our life from time to time. You are not alone, I’ve experienced some ‘doozies’ myself this year.
What current waves are you facing today that you can reach out for support to someone around you?
What are other ways you can create a win in your wave?
What are some recent waves you’ve overcome that you can celebrate?
If you found this blog encouraging, please consider sharing it with someone you know who could use encouragement too. If you would like to be part of a supporting community please join my private Facebook community “Unleash Your Inner Bold”.
Barbara Gustavson is Founder of Discover Next Step, and a certified leadership and brain health coach. She works with purpose-driven women who want to be more fulfilled and impact those they support and lead. She is author of Permission to be BOLD: A Guide to Loving Yourself, Living Fully and Making Your Make on the World, and co-author of Breaking Average: The Seven Critical Factors to Team Strong Leadership.