On Resilience, Confidence and Moving Forward: 7 Lessons I Learned in the Unknown
With the planet in the fight of a lifetime against a deadly enemy, COVID-19, many questions cross my mind: Will I get sick? Will someone I know get sick? Will I lose my health, my money, my freedom, my lifestyle? Will life be the same after the pandemic? Do I want life to be the same? Fortunately, I’ve made peace with the Unknown, its ups and downs, and its opportunity for growth.
In 2012, my husband of 20 years left abruptly. I was propelled from stability—a husband, two kids, a nice house—into uncertainty. My first reaction was panic and sadness. I considered taking my life until I heard this inner voice reassuring me: “You can survive this. You must move forward. To where is not important. Accept the change and step into the Unknown.”
I got back on my feet within three months with the support of my first coach. Three months to recover from a 20-year marriage: pretty good. I was able to breathe again, smile again, enjoy life. Within one year, I became a breakthrough coach, wrote my first book, Renaissance Woman, and created my company, FabYOUlicious, which I grew to six figures in less than three years. Since then, I have guided hundreds to find their inner resilience, let go of stress and doubt, and to move forward confidently in the Unknown toward who they are meant to be.
What is the situation you know you should change? Tolerating a toxic relationship? Staying in a job you hate? Struggling in a body you dislike? Have you found your inner strength yet still feel stuck? The only way out of the hurt is through it. Avoidance doesn’t make pain disappear; it just hides it. Stress, anxiety, sadness, and anger will come out one way or another. Let go of this shore called safety; I’ve done it and so can you. Once you let go, enter the Unknown. As scary as it may seem, the Unknown is full of wonderful lessons.
1. What feels true is not always the Truth.
I thought things should be a certain way, but it was not the case. Look at the pandemic situation: Our illusion of safety has suddenly disappeared. Certainties of today might reveal themselves as illusion tomorrow. Life is not black or white. It’s made of an array of grays. Each of those grays is an opportunity to learn. Things don’t have to be one way or another; things just are. Adapt and flow with them. Your interpretation of facts is biased by your experiences, so when you get lost, ask yourself: What I experience may feel true…but is it the Truth?
2. Be kind to yourself.
We all experience ups and downs. One moment we are happy; the next, miserable; and sometimes, a mix of both. Whatever you feel—from stuck to unstoppable, from hiding to confident, from terrified to peaceful—start with kindness. Whether you lost a loved one to divorce or death, were passed over for a promotion at work, or feel unfulfilled in a situation you can’t change, acknowledge the part of you that is hurting. Any other way would be experienced by your subconscious as a slap on the face. Once you acknowledge your feelings, you will move through the emotions faster. The way through pain is not around it—it’s through it.
3. Focus on what you have.
I know gratitude is cliché, but I am relearning in these times of shelter-in-place that there is beauty even in the most painful moments. What is bringing joy into your life today? The sun in the sky? Kids playing around? The calm of being alone? A project to focus on? Whatever brings a smile to your lips, follow it. Negative talk won’t serve you. Positivity attracts positivity. Find three things to be grateful for daily.
4. You have a choice.
You may not feel like it, but you do. One of my clients, who works as a masseuse, called me last week suffering from anxiety. She felt her only choice was between working, ignoring the shelter-in-place directive and putting her health in danger, or staying home and struggling financially. In fact, the real choice was: Since she couldn’t work, would she stay in bed worried, or would she find a way to bounce back? Within days, she pre-sold massage sessions for the summer, redesigned her website, and offered videos on how to take care of our bodies from home. She is stronger than ever. Possibilities come your way once you open yourself to them.
5. You need to make this jump!
Before my divorce, my situation was not all rosy: Our marriage was not the best, I felt unfulfilled professionally, I had injured my back, and I felt stuck—but I would not risk losing that illusion of control. Once the ground disappeared from under my feet, I had to react. I didn’t jump—I fell elegantly (or not) until I could discover my wings again and fly.
Staying in an uncomfortable situation hoping for it to change on its own can be tempting. But if you feel stuck in a situation you don’t like, you may have to be the one making the change. Once you let go of the safety shore, you will find your way toward success. Women are strong and resilient; they can step into their power, change themselves, and change the world.
6. The journey is not a straight line—it’s a spiral. Be patient.
The first layer of recovery took me three months. Finding my power, writing two books, creating my company, and making it successful took three years. At the personal level, I went from heartbroken, to dating, to in love, to heartbroken, to dating, to in love…and it was not always easy. Each time I go through a level, I learn more about how to move forward and around at the same time. Resilience acts like nature: a spring of growth, a summer of joy, a fall of abundance, a winter of darkness—and the next spring flowers grow on branches that seemed dead just a few weeks before. Like the seasons, we go from stuck to resilient, self-accepting, confident, and excited about what’s next. Layers after layers, this is a journey!
7. Find your inner light and share it.
There is no light at the end of the tunnel. No money, no relationship, no job, nothing, or no one can make you happy if you are not happy with yourself. Find the light inside of you, your inner wisdom. This light can illuminate even the darkest places. It will allow you to find the way. We each have our own inner light. Connect with the light in your friends, your neighbors, your relationships. Let’s find one another and share more love, more joy, more healing. Help the one around you to change just with a smile, an act of kindness, or words of appreciation.
Illuminate the world, one inner light at a time. With your help, the Unknown will be brilliant.