One of the most remarkable things about being a life coach is having a front row seat when someone’s life comes apart at the seams. Or rather, when the mindset that’s kept all the little pieces of their life in one particular order comes totally unglued.
One minute I’m asking a question or giving my client space to think, the next minute the person in front of me is having a meltdown, one part excitement, two parts terror at the realization that they have absolutely no idea why they’re doing what they’re doing and no better idea about where to go next.
It’s completely normal, and in most cases, very necessary for any kind of progress to take place. When we experience a paradigm shift that really knocks us off our feet, we all feel disappointment, confusion, pain, and exasperation.
But there’s one emotion that doesn’t often occur naturally, one I have ready to bring to the table at a moment’s notice in these dire circumstances: gratitude.
“Rejoice that you’re having this moment!” I chirp at everyone in this state of agony. “Many people never even have this realization. Be grateful that you’ve been gifted with the ability, space, and time to reflect on your life and understand that maybe you need to be on a different track. This is exciting! This is the beginning of something new.”
While it takes some time for my insane enthusiasm to sink in, I watch, time and again, as it dawns on them: This is a gift. I’m encountering new parts of myself, I’m figuring things out. There are growing pains, but everything’s going to be okay.
So the next time you’re left with whiplash from your worldview changing so fast, don’t panic; be thankful. Instead of beating yourself up for being misguided for so long, thank yourself for pumping the breaks when you did. Thank yourself for taking the time to open your eyes, ask a few questions, poke around under the surface, and come to a probably inconvenient, but life-altering conclusion.
Embrace the opportunity for change that lies in front of you, embrace the idea that you will look back one, five, or ten years from now and think, “I’m so glad I realized I was on the wrong path” or, “That was the moment that changed my whole life for the better.”
The most important thing is that you woke up. Don’t curse the dream or the dreamer, don’t focus on the what ifs and the shoulda-woulda-coulda, and, whatever you do, don’t try to come up with all the answers now.
The train you’re on is moving forward, so just smile, be grateful, and get ready for the ride of your life.