We have all had times in our personal and our business lives where we feel we are in a rut. It could be in relationships, grief, change or many other things. How long do you stay in that rut? How long do you allow yourself to be a victim, to suffer? How do you snap out of it?
One thing that is absolutely certain in life and in business is nothing stays the same. As much as we want it to, we can't control certain things that happen. What we CAN control is how we deal with it and whether we are a victim of the circumstance, or a victor. The key is to understand that we have CHOICE. The choices we make determine our outcomes.
I am not saying it is easy. I am saying it can be done, and when you are willing to put the effort in, it will accelerate the healing process in the situation you are in, and allow you to stop being victimized by it long term.
Maybe you have been downsized, and wonder who will hire you. You have been putting out resumes and not getting any response. It's easy to feel like a "victim" and feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you. Something people often don't recognize is they have knowledge, skills, experience, passion, and interests that can be utilized in starting their own businesses. You do not need to rely on an employer to hire you. You can take control and take a new direction and start your own business. You choose whether you are accepting "poor me" thinking, or, "I have so much to offer, I am going to embrace this opportunity to ______" thinking.
Disagree with your circumstances. This is not to say "something" unwanted hasn't happened. It is carrying on, and not allowing circumstance to define and control us long term, falling deeper into that rut. Recently we had to do one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life...put our beloved little dog down. It was just heartbreaking and I felt absolutely numb. I work from home, so she had been with me 24 hrs/day for almost 12 years. I removed all of her beds and toys etc., so I wouldn't have to look at them, but it didn't help. I couldn't imagine feeling this pain long term, so I did something totally unexpected by everyone around us. That same day I found a new puppy and brought her home. Over a month later, I still feel the pain of the experience we had, and still feel that grief we feel when we lose someone we love. But what I did was take control and allowed myself to love a new little fur baby and start making new memories. This dramatically accelerated the healing process, and gave me new happiness and laughter to focus on, so I didn't keep dwelling on it.
Some may argue that a pet is no comparison to losing a loved one, and it isn't, however, it is still painful. Another example I can share is losing my mother in law a few years back. We had spent the last month at the hospital every single day. For anyone that has experienced this, it is emotionally draining. Afterwards, my husband, understandably, didn't want to do anything. We have a very vibrant circle of friends and family we spend a lot of time with and laughter and fun is such a big part of our lives. We had not seen our friends during this time of her illness. A few days after her funeral, I convinced him we needed to out and be with our friends and re-inject some fun and laughter into our lives....which of course, is the last thing you think you can do at a time like that. Reluctantly, he agreed to go. We attended a halloween costume party. His words to me coming home were "I didn't realize how much I needed that". It was another example of disagreeing with our circumstance, and getting ourselves back to living on purpose. We were still grieving, but, when you force yourself to go out and keep LIVING, laughing, and enjoying the company of those you love that are still here, you have something you can hold onto and lean on. You realize that you can laugh again. you can have fun, and you can carry on. We can't change the fact we lose someone. We have a choice whether we die inside with them, or, carry on, treasuring and being grateful for the life we have.
Gratitude - Much has been written about the power of gratitude. When we are grateful for what we have, or what we have had, we open ourselves up to new possibilities. Many years ago, my business of 18 years was falling apart. I had spent the last 5 years working harder than I ever had, attempting to turn it around. There were factors that were beyond my control. When you have done something this long, it is also a loss when you decide to move on. You are not just leaving the work, you are leaving the people you have worked alongside for so long, some of which have become more like family to you.
Whenever we take a new path, we leave behind the old. I realized that it was time for change, I had outgrown what I had been doing. It had allowed me to be home with our children their entire childhood and they were now ready to leave home. Lot's was changing. I was very grateful that business introduced me to entrepreneurship, provided the financial rewards and time freedom while our kids were growing up, and most importantly gave me the greatest gift I could ask for - never missing a single special moment with our kids. Everything has a time frame...instead of having regrets, anger, or blame when change happens, find the good and recognize whatever it is, has served it's purpose and it's time to move on to the next chapter. Gratitude for everything that you learned, everything that you benefited from will help you keep your mind in a positive state.
Recognize when you are in a rut - You may feel depressed, angry, confrontational, or some other emotion. We cannot bring about good in our lives in this state of mind. It's important to understand we choose whether we continue to give energy to these feelings, or are going to take action to move forward. No one wants to be frozen, in an emotion where you can't do anything. It takes effort to move on and create a new or different diversion to get your mind out of that rut. We have to make a CHOICE, and those choices can take us in many new directions.....
Start a new hobby - With a new hobby, we will always learn something new, which keep our minds occupied, challenge us, and creates a diversion.
Keep yourself busy - When we are busy, we are not focusing on the challenges, we are focusing on the task at hand.
Learn something new - Learning something new creates a diversion, something new and exciting to think about, despite the challenge.
Do something for someone else - Doing something for others takes the focus off of ourselves. Very often others have something much bigger they are dealing with, but this doesn't have to be the only reason we are reaching out to help others. There is a fine line...don't dig yourself into a deeper rut because you are getting too involved in others challenges when you are attempting to push through your own challenges. Simply find ways to help someone else....it could be doing the grocery shopping for an elderly neighbor, or taking on someone elses workload at work because they are going through something. Or, plan a birthday party for someone, or, watch a new mom's baby while she gets a massage. There are a million things we can do that provide that diversion so that we allow time to do it's job to help us get out of the rut we find ourselves in. When we shift the focus to others, we take the focus off our own challenges. It also brings about positive emotions when you are doing good things for others.
One more thing regarding gratitude. Be aware that the brain cannot think of two thoughts at the same time. When we focus on everything we are grateful for, we cannot simultaneously think about our challenges. Set up a gratitude journal and commit to it daily. When we purposely focus on everything we are grateful for, it produces positive endorphins within our bodies. Our brains believe what we tell it and what we think about. Gratitude is a daily exercise you can implement to purposely pull yourself out of the rut you are in. Sadness, stress, worry, etc., cannot live in a grateful heart. Fill your day with gratitude...be aware of it in everything you do.
The only person that can get you out of a rut is you. It starts with making a choice, and taking pro-active actions to turn your life around. The benefits are greater than the obvious. You will find through this, you also build your confidence, self worth and your self esteem, and will recognize what you are truly capable of.
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Debbie Ruston has been an entrepreneur and trainer since 1986. She works with individuals, and groups interested in developing theirentrepreneurial leadership mindset. Was this article of value to you? Feel free to share it on your social networks and with your contacts, join in the discussion below, and FOLLOW her on the top right corner of this pg.
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Debbie Ruston - Entrepreneur - International Trainer, Visionary Leader