Updated on November 6th, 2018
Sometimes life can throw us a curve ball. Or just be too full of stuff. And we end up overwhelmed, and confused. We wish we could be clear about what’s going on, or about what to do. But we’re not. Rather, we feel like we’re in a sand storm. And the clarity we long for seems miles and miles away… Read on for my tried-and-tested tips to make it through the sand storm – and help you get clear again!
Remember novel and film and character Forrest Gump saying “Life is like a box of chocolate – you never know what you’re going to get” ?
Well, maybe it is. I loved that film, by the way. Did you?
Nevertheless, here’s what I say instead:
“Life is like a glass of water. With sand in it.”
Sometimes, that sand gets stirred up, doesn’t it?
You get made redundant. Or start a new job, in a new country. Your relationship ends, and you find yourself starting again in a single’s flat. Or you move in with your new partner. The kids fly the nest. Or a new baby arrives.
Life can stir up the sand BIG TIME, like when everything happens at once:
A loved one passes away, and your business flounders, just when you’ve moved your family to a bigger home, and your new baby arrives – early. Then a former colleague makes you a business proposition, and you’re faced with deciding whether to revive your own business, get a job, or set up with your colleague.
In times like this, the water in the glass that is your life gets thick with swirling sand. The view gets cloudy. Turbid. Murky. Like in a sandstorm.
You sit in the sandstorm and cannot see which way to go, nor what to do next.
Your emotions kick in, and soon you feel like the sandstorm is in you, too: You feel confused. Directionless. Unsure. Rudderless, and pummeled by life. Perhaps even frightened, or hopeless.
Ever been there?
I certainly have. And so have many of my clients, when they come to me.
“That’s life. Sandstorms happen. And confusion.
And all we long for then is to be able to see through the water again – in our life glass, and in ourselves. To know, and be certain of: How to respond to what’s going on. What direction to move in. What best to do next.
Indeed, many of my clients, when asked what they want from their coaching with me, say one thing: Clarity.
An important thing about clarity
When I first trained as a life coach, we were taught that clarity is not a goal – not something you can work towards.
Getting clear, or finding clarity is a process. And, in times of confusion, it’s totally something we might want to work towards. In fact, I have come to specialise in helping people in confusing places in their life find their clarity, direction and next best move.
You don’t have to know what you want when you work with me – because, indeed, I will help you know.
Finding your clarity, however, is not a linear, entirely structured and logical process – although structure can and will help. But it’s also about re-connecting with your own inner knowing – or inner compass, intuition, how ever you want to call it. And letting that knowledge drop in.
The process of getting clear involves being patient. It can be moved forward, but it cannot be forced.
So let me share with you…
My 3 tried-and-tested tips to make it through the sandstorm…
…and find your clarity.
Let the sand settle. Or the dust, to use the correct English idiom. 🙂
Resist the temptation to immediately do something, anything, to escape the discomfort of your situation – or avoid being seen as weak, and unable to take decisive action.
Because confusion and overwhelm is not your best advisor for action. So if you can at all, wait. Do nothing. Just sit in the sandstorm for a bit.
Let the sand settle in the glass of water that is your life. Let the emotional sandstorm settle in yourself. All sandstorms eventually subside. As the sand sinks to the bottom, the water above will gradually clear. And you’ll see through it again.
Talk about your situation, dilemma, not-knowing, or confusion.
If you feel very emotional, you might want to express how you feel to someone. Which will help calm your inner sandstorm.
Or you could talk your situation through with someone. Put into words where you’re at for someone else, and reflect on the questions they ask. Which will also help the water clear.
Two important things about this:
Firstly: Choose well.
Pick someone you trust, who’s empathetic and won’t judge you. Someone who will listen, and / or ask questions to help you figure out what next. Rather than jumping to instant conclusions, or give you advice that might or might not work for you.
A friend or colleague is great. A coach has the added feature that they don’t know you, and won’t want to steer you in any particular direction, other than helping you clarify what will work for you.
(Why not book a Clarity Call on me to see how that works?)
Secondly: Don’t just dump…
…the whole mess you might feel you’re in on to your empathetic listener – it won’t do you nor them any favours. Instead, think about how you can get across to them what’s going on with you in a clear, concise way. And what it is you’d like from them that would help you most: Just listening? Questions? Advice or experience share?
Doing that will in itself help you gain more clarity even before you speak to your trusted person!
Questions are a great clarifying tonic: They give you information, help you understand better, and open your mind and heart to possible ways forward.
So, rather than trying to nail and narrow down your dilemma or confusion to a quick solution, ask and reflect on questions about it.
You could ask:
Questions to help you understand:
What’s really happening here?
What makes this situation difficult?
What is my / other people’s role in this?
Questions to help you structure:
What’s the single most important thing to tackle right now?
What can I look at later?
What’s just a distraction?
Questions to open your mind and tap into your inner knowledge:
How would I describe my situation in a single word or image?
What does that tell me about how I could get through it?
How do I feel about it?
What would help me most right now?
Now imagine that glass of water again
Can you see it?
Can you see how the sand has settled at its bottom? And how the water above looks crystal clear again? 🙂
Over to you
I’m sure you’ll have your own ways of creating clarity, too.
Why don’t you share them in the comment box below? I’d love to hear from you.
And if you have any questions, just pop them in the comment box, too, and I’ll do my best to answer them!
Don’t know what you want?
How about getting your copy of my free eBook How to Know What You Want – 10 Ways in 10 Days?
Get clearer. Get inspired. Get moving again.
In ten simple ways over ten days.
Get moving again.
Photography: Monica Castenetto and Pixabay