4 Ways to Map Your Way Out of a Storm
All of us are in some stage or another of our personal growth. Some have plateaued at a comfortable spot, while some of us keep pushing forward despite the discomfort in a quest of an epic blossoming of self development.
Coaches and other wellness professionals are no different. We've gotta be continually working on ourselves in order to offer the most to our clients. So, if you've seen a someone that appears to know everything and have it all together, I'd like to say there's probably more beneath the surface...
That's why I decided to share with you some of the challenges I face, calling myself out from time to time, and show you the techniques that I use. Because we're all in a process here, and if I'm going to talk the talk, then I should show you I walk it too, right there beside you.
There are days when I can feel a storm inside but not necessarily attributed to anything specific. I may tell myself I'm fine, but really I'm just brewing, because there's a whole host of feelings unaddressed.
So, when I decide I want to feel better (because after all it is a choice), I write it all out, everything I'm feeling on the left side of a piece of paper (or poster board, whatever's handy). Then, I can see how much is really going on.
[Right there, that can put some things in perspective. Because while we're harbouring all these things, it can make it more difficult to handle the smaller stuff that happens day to day >>"Oh, that's why I overreacted when --- because I'm carrying all of this other stuff around" etc.]
Then I begin to brainstorm ideas of how I can resolve, help or diffuse a feeling. This kind of mapping helps to think of solutions and action items to feelings, as opposed to just marching on with them under the surface, unchecked.
To be transparent with you, I'll lay it all out on the table and show you one of mine:
Can you relate to any of these feelings? When it comes down to it they're pretty universal. That's the nice thing though, even though we might feel alone, our feelings are pretty relatable to most people, so we can have compassion and help each other. That's why I'm hoping this may work for you, as it did me.
So, here are the steps broken down for mapping your own way:
Step 1 - Acknowledge your feelings, consider them, then write them down.
This activity puts you in control. You're not letting your emotions run wild in the background while you stuff down a chocolate bar to placate yourself. You're taking responsibility for your own feelings by acknowledging them (which can lead to an Aha! moment - 'Wait, I kept telling myself I wanted this job/car/house... but it's actually making me unhappy' - BOOM!).
You may be surprised by how many different emotions come up. We often can be carrying stuff around like a twisted Santa Clause dishing out our emotions on unexpected by-standers. Seeing this, we can also imagine how much stuff other people are carrying around, which might explain why we might witness someone randomly road-rage over the smallest thing. Despite stuffing our feelings down they always look for a chance to come out.
Step 2 - Brainstorm solutions.
I'm betting you're a smart person, and nobody knows you better than you. So the perfect person to brainstorm your solutions is looking right back at ya in the mirror. Just throw it all out there without editing yourself, there's nobody watching and this is just for you. Are you feeling lonely like I did? Think of ways to get yourself out of the house, meeting people and socializing. Maybe that's reconnecting with old friends, or going to a meet up group for some interest of yours where you can make new friends. Perhaps joining a recreational sports team, or volunteering somewhere you care about? Whatever issue comes up, know that you have the answers (and if you're feeling stuck there's always Google!).
Step 3 - Create action dates.
Notice there's dates attached to each action item/idea, so that this isn't just an abstract exercise. We've gotta close the loop, so the dates create accountability. If you have an agenda (works best for me!) or calendar, add these dates to ensure you actually complete these actions and get yourself where you want to be.
Step 4 - Check-in & Tweak if necessary.
Do a check-in with yourself, perhaps a month in. See if you are feeling better or if you want to tweak your action items/ ideas based on how they've worked thus far. It's always good to follow up and see what's working and what's not. Then you can build off those results. When you know what works for you, that's another skill you can employ to help yourself now and in the future.
Remember we're all a work in progress. Let me know in the comments below how this tool works for you, and if you find that you're feeling better over time.
~Wishing you a peaceful road, wherever it may take you <3