My friends, this is a scary time for most of the world and it’s hard to envision how we’ll look as we emerge. I know, I’m stating the obvious and saying what you hear every time you read an update on your phone or turn on the news. We don’t know what’s next and such uncertainty creates a level of stress most are not used to dealing with.
But now that I’ve stated the obvious – let me remind you of something that doesn’t always feel so obvious. How you go through this and how you emerge is your choice if you’re willing to approach each day with the right intentions. I’ve been working on my intention every morning and three words have been coming to mind as a focus.: Gratitude, Courage, and Hope. These words have become my mental guide and the filter through which I process thoughts and feelings. Every moment of this crisis is an opportunity for you to grow with purpose. Whether you’re sitting at home working furiously to keep up with new demands from your job or sitting at home wondering how much longer you will have a job; feeling relief over the emergency savings you tucked away or panic over the rapidly declining balance in your bank account. Yes, even if you are feeling ill or have a loved one who is sick – you can choose gratitude, courage, and hope to help you grow.
Try starting your day off with a list of things you are grateful for right now. Throughout your day, make a note of things that catch your attention and make you feel good – add those to the list. That’s a simple practice and the more you do it the easier it will become because you’ll train your brain to look for what is good. Being grateful doesn’t mean that you like what’s going on around us, it means that you are willing to find something good in any situation and to be appreciative for the lessons and opportunities that come up every day. It feels like we talk about gratitude all the time yet it’s not a habit for so many of us. When things get tough we quickly result back to the easy one’s like “I’m grateful that it’s sunny today”. Those are great but how about stretching yourself just a little to find the unexpected blessings of today?
I love the word courage. Its origin comes from the Latin word for “heart” and I often define it as having so much passion for something in my heart that I work through fear to pursue it. What’s on your heart now? Is it to give in to fear or is it to fight back and act? What new possibilities are in front of you that take courage to pursue but let you work towards fulfilling a dream? I’ve been on a roller coaster with this one but have built up the confidence to know that with every low there is a high right around the corner. Those highs are letting me refocus my business and spend time on several projects that I had lost sight of. The lows are a chance for me to practice making a choice to be courageous anyway and to dismiss the defeating thoughts that want to swirl around in my head with thoughts of possibility and hope. What opportunity do you have in front of you that you really want to pursue but haven’t mustered up the courage to do so? This could be really big or small – the size of the pursuit is not as important as the determination that goes into it. Exercise your courage muscle a little this week and see how good it feels!
We all need hope. We need to know that better times are coming and that we’ll get through this. While we’ve had time to adjust to much of the change, so much remains unknown. But, my friend, there is so much hope all around us and so many reasons to cling to it and carry it with us every day. Hope lives in your new gratitude and the courageous pursuit of dreams. It shows up though stories of people healing, celebrating, and learning to show love and compassion in new ways. Hope is in the connections to our faith, family, and friends and cannot be destroyed if you choose to make it part of your day. So seek out and share encouragement with others and limit the amount of discouragement or despair you let in. Having hope doesn’t mean you are being naive about everything that is going on in the world – it means you’re unwilling to be defeated by it. We don’t know what the future holds so why not choose hope?
These words work for me. What words will you choose to help you grow during this time? Share with someone close to you and ask them to help hold you accountable. Set your mind on them at the beginning and end of the day and come back to them regularly – especially when things get tough. There will be days when growth is easy and days when it feels slow but I promise it will be well worth it in the end.