Life Transitions, Day 12: Upheaval

Life Transitions, Day 12: Upheaval

Things weren’t working. There was just no other way to put it.

And I didn’t know why. I was stuck. I was lost. And for some reason I intuited that more work, more action, more to-do items, just wasn’t the answer.

I never would have imagined that stopping and meditating would hold the answers I was desperately trying to find.

This is Life Transitions. Welcome to day 12.

Life Transitions Series

Life Transitions, Day 1 (Introduction)
Life Transitions, Day 2: Resistance
Life Transitions, Day 3: Jobs & Careers
Life Transitions, Day 4: Location
Life Transitions, Day 5: Relationships
Life Transitions, Day 6: When the Sandcastle Crumbles
Life Transitions, Day 7: Recovery
Life Transitions, Day 8: Pivots
Life Transitions, Day 9: Injury
Life Transitions, Day 10: Illness
Life Transitions, Day 11: Disaster

What is Upheaval?

Upheaval happens suddenly without warning.

That doesn’t mean upheaval isn’t the result of someone else’s intention or deliberate sabotage, because it oftentimes is.

Of course, sometimes upheaval is beyond the control of anyone, even those in power. I covered disaster on Day 11 of this series, and disaster can certainly be the catalyst for upheaval.

For the intents and purposes of this series and life transitions in general, upheaval represents sudden changes that make it necessary for us to course correct.

In that sense, upheaval is not unlike pivots. But where pivots can be made consciously and deliberately, upheaval is involuntary.

Upheaval can take many forms – physical, spiritual, emotional, and more.

But usually it isn’t good or bad, at least not in the sense that we would say winning the lottery is good and going broke is bad.

Whatever meaning you attach to it becomes true, because if you return to that meaning often enough, it will become belief.

Upheaval isn’t always pleasant, expected, or even fun. But if you see it as an opportunity to reposition yourself for a more desirable future, then it can certainly lead to positive individual outcomes.

We Are in Upheaval Now

If you want to see an example of an upheaval at play, you need look no further than your own life.

The pandemic has resulted in a massive upheaval – both positive and negative, micro and macro, individual and collective.

Some people (even some I know) have seen lock-downs and quarantines as an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family, fall in love, tackle bucket list items, embrace their spirituality, and more.

The flip side of that, of course, is the negative impact it has had on families, mental health, bank balances, and of course, resulting suicides.

Overall, I can only offer a superficial view, as I can’t possibly list off all the positives and negatives of upheaval.

What I can say is that, in the right hands, upheaval represents an opportunity (in this context, not opportunistic).

An opportunity to rethink and reevaluate. To change course or pivot (also see day eight) as necessary. To become aware of what matters in life and to give it the time and attention it deserves.

We all have worries. But most of the time, these worries aren’t justified, because they aren’t here in this moment. We might be worried about our bank balance, but in this moment, we have enough. We might be worried about when we’ll get back to work, but in this moment, we don’t need work.

As human beings, we generally fall into the habit of imagining worst case scenarios and acting as if they are going to happen, instead of imagining the future we want to create, and acting as if these visions will be realized.

We generally fall into the habit of imagining worst case scenarios and acting as if they are going to happen, instead of imagining the future we want to create, and acting as if these visions will be realized. Click To Tweet

I understand that this can be a challenging perspective but to tackle upheaval with any sense of possibility, in my experience, a spiritual perspective is necessary.

But if we were to appreciate the moment (which is all we truly have) instead of the impending doom we suspect is around the corner, we would see that, in fact, everything is fine in the moment. And we would be able to live in the fullness of this experience instead of constantly being drawn to the past or the future. And the past and the future are only available in the mind.

How to Handle Upheaval

I’ve offered some substantial clues as to how to handle upheaval already.

First, understand that upheaval in and of itself is not evil. It will feel uncomfortable. It may even feel unjust. But it’s usually there to make you aware of something.

Given that it typically occurs in an area you care about deeply, it’s unlikely you’ll react to it positively in an immediate way.

Your girlfriend may decide to break up with you, out of the blue, with no explanation whatsoever (also see relationships from day five of the Life Transitions series).

What you may not see is just how inflated she had become in your world. You put her on a pedestal. Thought of her as more important than work, or spirituality, or exercise, or hobbies.

That type of pressure isn’t received well by anybody. Most of us want to be in meaningful relationships, but we know when our partner is worshipping the very road we walk on. And it’s too much. Because none of us are saviors by profession.

What I’ve just described is also known as excess potential. Wherever there’s excess potential, the universe self-corrects and restores balanced, and it takes the path of least resistance to get there.

Excess potential is where upheaval is most likely to occur. People who put too much emphasis on any aspect of their life, no matter how connected to their purpose or calling, are sure to experience upheaval repeatedly.

A woman who works 16 hours per day towards her business goals is sure to see progress at first. But sooner or later (usually sooner), she will see diminishing returns.

You have a choice. You can use your will to push beyond the diminishing returns.

But then something else happens. You work yourself to exhaustion. You experience a panic attack. Or maybe you collapse from overwork.

This is the universe correcting the undue imbalanced created. And it points clearly to the fact that more (work) doesn’t necessarily lead to more (reward).

The best thing you can do about upheaval is just be with yourself. This can take any form you want. You can mediate. You can journal. Maybe having a coffee and sitting outside for an hour every morning.

The point is to sit with whatever emotions arise. Not to fix them. Not to survive them. Just to allow them. Acknowledge them. Love them. They only come up to be released and to dissolve but they can’t dissolve if you try to numb them or distract yourself from them.

In the example given, working more would just be running from the problem. And the balance is naturally restored when you begin giving other areas of your life the attention they deserve. Suddenly, as if by magic, by paying attention to areas of your life you neglected, your business would start working better too.

Upheaval, Final Thoughts

We all go through seasons of upheaval. Sometimes we don’t even recognize when it’s happening.

But if we can begin to identify the pattern, then we can transition through upheaval with grace, and without much tribulation.

Upheaval is just trying to make us aware of something we need to know. To course correct. To move into alignment. Or to find a better path to our dreams and desires.

What upheaval have you experienced in your life? How did you handle it?

I look forward to sharing more on the topic of life transitions, and if you have any questions you’d like answered, I’d love to know.

Leave a comment below.

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Life Transitions, Day 8: Pivots

Life Transitions, Day 8: Pivots

Having fought for as long and as hard as I could for the results desired, without any indication of change or improvement, I had no choice but to admit something just wasn’t working.

And I had never even considered that stopping to assess the situation would offer a new perspective and a breakthrough.

The recipe had always been there, and so were the ingredients. But I couldn’t even see it until I began to reflect.

This is Life Transitions. Welcome to day eight.

Life Transitions Progression

If you’d like to follow along with the series up to this point, here are the quick links to access recent stories:

Life Transitions, Day 1 (Introduction)
Life Transitions, Day 2: Resistance
Life Transitions, Day 3: Jobs & Careers
Life Transitions, Day 4: Location
Life Transitions, Day 5: Relationships
Life Transitions, Day 6: When the Sandcastle Crumbles
Life Transitions, Day 7: Recovery

Life Transitions Involving Pivots

A pivot is generally a small change.

Oftentimes, it involves taking something you’re already doing and optimizing it for desired results.

For example, maybe your workout routine is growing stale and providing minimal results. So, you add something new to the routine.

Or your doctor told you to incorporate more greens into your diet. So, you begin doing exactly that and buy a container of mixed greens at the grocery store.

Sometimes, as in business, a pivot can be a more significant change. Repositioning yourself based on market conditions, competition, customer demands, or trends that could be capitalized on.

Pivots can take time to implement and adjust to, but generally they’re more like developing a habit than enduring a major life event or trauma.

Developing a habit may take some time (the often cited 21 days is perhaps a little off base), but it doesn’t take forever, and once in place, it tends to do wonders in terms of results.

The Importance of Pivots

Network marketing was my official introduction to entrepreneurship and business.

Although I never did all that well in it, for me it served as a critical education.

I can still recall what my mentors would often say when I was on the right track, but not quite hitting the bull’s eye with my prospecting efforts:

“Just make a little tweak and you’ll be off to the races.”

This wisdom is easy to take for granted.

I have seen people who were in jobs they didn’t especially like, or those who were off course for a period.

Most people are 80% on track with their life purpose, know it or not. Our nature and nurture naturally bring us to the things that excite and interest us most.

And while a “life purpose” may sound grand, sometimes it truly is just going to the office, working eight hours per day, and going home to be with your family every night.

What may not be immediately obvious is that little adjustments can take that 80% to 81, 82, 83, and so on.

But these small adjustments can challenge our comfort zone. So, it’s easy to say, “yeah, I could make that change, but based on the effort to payoff ratio, I don’t think it’s worth it.”

We say this thinking we have some idea of what the payoff is going to be, without realizing that a 1% improvement in direction can sometimes amount to exponential change in our lives long term.

A 1% improvement in direction can sometimes amount to exponential change in our lives long term. Click To Tweet

How to Uncover Worthwhile Pivots

This isn’t always straightforward or obvious.

If you’ve been working hard for a long period of time without a break, though counter-intuitive, now might be a good time to take two weeks off.

If you’re used to being in action and never stop to think or reflect, though counter-intuitive, now might be a good time to lock yourself in a cabin without electronics.

We can easily get set in our ways without realizing that our actions aren’t bringing us any closer to desired results. And when that happens, we often end up putting the blame on ourselves.

By taking more actions, we just end up cementing the rut.

So, more pressure leads to more “figuring it out”, which leads to more action items to be completed in a day, which leads to no expanded results, which leads to more frustration. And the cycle will typically continue until you’re forced to stop.

The easiest way to uncover worthwhile pivots is by listening to your heart. If it’s coming from your heart, the solution will seem so eloquent, so obvious, and so in alignment with who you are, that you’ll ask yourself why you didn’t think of it before.

Getting in touch with your heart may take something. Meditation is often a good place to start. When you meditate, inevitably, painful emotions and feelings will arise. As you sit with, allow, acknowledge, and love these feelings, you’ll experience release, and your connection to your heart will grow.

Putting Your Pivots to the Test

Discussing your pivots with trusted coaches, mentors, or others committed to your grown is often a good way of determining whether you’re on the right track.

But going out and telling everyone you know isn’t advisable.

It’s been my experience that people are rarely excited about, or motivated by, the same things you are.

So, when you have what you think is a life-altering revelation, those around you might respond with a nonchalant, “that’s nice.”

Leading up to that moment, you may have been on fire about your new idea. But because a loved one didn’t demonstrate the same level of enthusiasm; you begin doubting yourself. It takes the wind out of your sails.

My suggestion would be to discuss the pivot only with those already mentioned – coaches, mentors, and others committed to your growth.

Beyond that, put your change to the test. And as you go about making the changes, ask yourself:

  • Do I feel connected to my heart?
  • Do I feel encouraged or do I find myself spiraling into a frustration cycle again?
  • What are the results telling me since I’ve made this change? Are they leading to expanded, breakthrough results?

If you feel disconnected from your heart, if you feel like you’re succumbing to frustration, or if you aren’t achieving more (based on data, not based on a gut feelings), then it may be time to go back to the drawing board.

Pivots, Final Thoughts

Fundamentally, pivots save us from doing the same thing over and over expecting different results, which is the very definition of insanity.

The things you need to do to uncover worthwhile pivots will likely be counter-intuitive. But if they are heart based, they are usually productive.

Have you made a pivot before? How did you handle it, and what were the results?

I look forward to sharing more on life transitions, and if you have any questions regarding this topic, I’d love to answer them.

Leave a comment and let me know.

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