by Parker Gates & Adam Royalty
We all know what its like to go through rough patches in life. A break up or divorce, financial insecurity, or maybe the death of a loved one. Any of these situations, which are so common to everyone, can send our minds reeling and often we find ourselves operating from a place of fear or scarcity.
It’s one thing to have this mindset when dealing with personal matters, but when we’re tasked with making big decisions about our work this can be a handicap.
What we know is that when we act out of fear from scarcity or uncertainty, we tend to resist the new or different. Change can appear frightening because we don’t know exactly what the outcome will be and that ambiguity isn’t comfortable. We’re scared we’re not going to get enough of what we need or want and therefore have a tough time making decisions that involve, what we perceive, as risks. Our thoughts and ideas tend to stay in low orbit. Safe and sound. Tried and true. We crave safety in every sense, physical, emotional, and mental.
How might we keep an open and a creative mindset when going through difficult times?
In my personal experience, I have found two practices that cultivate self-awareness. This self-awareness becomes a tool that upgrades my creativity by resolving, at least to some degree, my fear mindset.
1) Personal inventory: At least daily (sometimes hourly) I try to get quiet and review my day or even the last 2–4 hours to reflect on my thoughts and behaviors. Was I being useful or helpful to whomever I was talking with? Am I being selfish or controlling? Was that kind? Did I miss an opportunity to be of service to my partner or family? These types of questions help me look honestly at how I’m doing and what can be tweaked. It also let’s me know if I need to make amends for poor behavior. Often times this inventory is written. Something magic happens when I write down my inventory versus just thinking about it!
2) Meditation: 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation most days makes a radical difference in my self-awareness. I start to pick up on things that my brain is telling me that aren’t always true. Meditation also does a good job of reminding me that I am not my mind (whoa!). There are many types of meditation practices out there and I haven’t tried all of them. I have been practicing mindfulness for a few years now and can vouch for it’s effectiveness in my life.
I use the Headspace app most often, but there are many helpful mindfulness tools out there.
These simple practices keep me fairly grounded and balanced when life is not going exactly as I’d hoped or planned. They also keep me grounded when things are going better than I ever imagined!
As always, try these practices with an attitude of experimentation and see what fits best in the context of your own life. Play with it some, hack it into something valuable for you. And feel free to let me know what you find!