Rebuilding After Difficult Times
By Tim Ursiny, Ph.D., RCC
Many people have had finances devastated, real estate values drop, job
challenges and other difficulties in the recession that businesses have
recently experienced. That said, many signs are now pointing to the end of
the recession and owners and managers must turn your attention to rebuilding
lives and finances. While rebuilding may be difficult it is also doable if
you follow two main steps in the process:
- Let go of the past
- Develop a captivating plan
Within each of the steps there can be a few common blocks, as well as a
practical tactic for breaking free of these challenges.
Let go of the past
Main challenge = Accepting the losses
Many business people have difficulties rebuilding because they refuse to
accept the losses. It is like someone who has lost a loved one that refuses
to grieve at the funeral. They do not want to accept the loss. While this
tendency is completely understandable it will also keep you stuck.
Individuals who do not grieve do not move on in life. And while some people
grieve with tears and others with anger, it is important for all of us to
vent out our hurts, disappointments and losses.
What keeps us stuck
Two main tendencies that can keep people stuck are:
- Staring at the rear view mirror - Glancing in the rear view mirror in your
car alerts you to dangers behind and can help navigate the road
successfully. However, if you were to only stare in the rear view mirror you
would crash your car. It is like that in looking in your past. It is good to
glance at the past and to learn from it. However, when an individual gets
locked in the past they usually crash their current and future life.
- Blame - Blame has a short-term purpose of protecting one's self-esteem.
When you can blame someone else for your difficulties it temporarily makes
you feel good about yourself. Blame also has another less obvious purpose,
which is why the media moves to blame someone so quickly even in a natural
disaster situation. When someone else can be blamed for something that goes
on in the world it gives the illusion of control. Sleep comes easier because
it is now believed the world is much more predicable than it really is.
Unfortunately, blame rarely serves and distracts from learning all you can
learn about yourself when going through tough times.
One great way to mourn the past is to write a venting letter. This letter
can be directed to someone or can even be written to God (note that many of
the Psalms in the Christian Bible are venting letters). In this letter let
all of your emotions out. Don't worry about it being pretty or logical, but
rather make sure that it expresses how you feel at the most primal level.
Write until you have nothing else left (and do not do this in an email form,
you could be venting to your boss and accidentally send it out)! When you
are done, read the letter aloud a few times with passion. Then burn it or
tear it up as a symbolic act of letting it go! If done from the heart this
is a very effective way to release the past.
Develop a captivating plan
Main challenge = Overcoming hesitancy
Letting go of the past is not enough, as you must also create the future.
When it is time to begin again, many people are hesitant due to two fears
that can keep them stuck.
What keeps us stuck
- Fear of failure - It is absolutely normal to be concerned about failing as
you try to rebuild. Few enjoy failure and some avoid it at all costs! Fear
of failure is one of the most self-limiting tendencies and must be overcome
in order to create a successful and prosperous new life.
- Fear of success - While fear of failure is often obvious, fear of success
can be subconscious and less apparent. Many people fear success because of
their perceptions of what comes with success including greater
responsibility, less life balance, higher expectations and even the fear
that once they get it they may lose it. Therefore, some individuals sabotage
their success to guarantee that they will not have to deal with these
As simplistic as it sounds there are only two main ways to deal with fear
and that is to dip or to dive. When someone is getting into a cold swimming
pool they have two choices. Some people are divers; they get on the diving
board, jump up and down a few times and then dive into the water. They
experience a rush of pain, but then they get use to the water quickly.
Others are dippers. They stick a toe in, then the feet, then up to the
knees, (wait a little) and then slowly ease in. This approach takes longer
than diving in, but is less painful. Neither is right or wrong because both
swimmers are getting into the water. So if you are a diver, then acknowledge
your fear and just "do it". Keep doing it until you are no longer afraid.
If, in contrast, you are a dipper then break down your rebuilding task into
ten steps. Arrange them in the order of the steps you fear the least to the
steps you fear the most. Then one by one (starting with what you fear the
least) tackle your rebuilding tasks until you build the confidence to take
on the next task.
Rebuilding is difficult. It takes letting go of the things that you have
known and taking the risk of failing or succeeding. However, when we rebuild
we build our insights, confidence and tenacity and these are things that
will aid us for the rest of our life.
Dr. Tim Ursiny is the founder of Advantage Coaching & Training. He works
with financial advisors, managers, wholesalers and teams in areas such as
stress management, selling skills, conflict resolution, and building client
loyalty. He is the author of multiple books including "The Confidence Plan",
"Coaching the Sale" and "The Top Performer's Guide to Attitude." For more
information, please visit http://www.advantagecoaching.com, or contact: