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Tips for when life is NOT optimal

I like making things #optimal. Optimization is powerfully motivating for me. The question is never “Is this working?” The question is always “can this work better?”

Better, is what I'm always reaching for. My friends even joke that I'm the Gold Star lady. I like to get to where I want to go at the highest possible level. I want to do the best I can. Not just good, the best. But you know what? Sometimes optimal doesn't happen. Sometimes there are no great choices. Sometimes it's not the way you want it to be. Sometimes it's not the best.

What do you do when that happens? How do you handle it? I think sometimes I speak in a way that makes people believe that I've just got all my shit figured out and there are no problems. But the truth is, there are days when stuff is not optimal. In fact, I'm dealing with an issue right now with my son's school that’s definitely not optimal. I'm choosing between two things that I'm really not happy about. And it happens that way sometimes for everyone.

So what do you do? What do you do when you find yourself choosing between two things that aren't good enough for you?

Today that's what I’m going to talk about. I want to share with you the things I do in order to help me manage when stuff is not optimal.

Number 1 Name it.

I do not believe in #toxicpositivity. Even as optimistic as I am (and I am very optimistic) you can’t get anywhere if you don’t say what’s real. If it's shit, say it’s shit. If you're angry. Say you're angry. Name the thing. You can't do anything until you name the thing. If what's happening isn't good enough for you, you need to look it in the face and say,

“You know what? This is some bullshit. I don't like it. I'm not happy.”

Until you do that you can't move on. Naming it allows you to feel valid for being upset. It gives your anger or pain meaning. But don't sit in bullshit. That's no fun, name it and figure out what you’re going to do about it.

Number 2 Find the lesson.

This one is so helpful. Look you are not in control of everything that’s happening, but you do have influence and there is ALWAYS something to learn. When you look for the lesson you arm yourself with knowledge and skills that can help you the next time something shows up that you don’t like. If you are having trouble finding a lesson then it’s a sign to go get some outside perspective. Talk to a trusted friend, mentor or coach and see what you can squeeze out of your situation. The only real loss is not taking anything away to help you grow.

Number 3 Remember what perfect really means.

Look, one of the major mind shifts that I've made in my life is the belief that things are working out actually the way that they're supposed to work out. Life has a funny way of doing the thing that it needs to do, even if in the moment you're like this is bullshit. It happens a lot but the truth is, usually once you look back from where the bullshit happened, you can see how things moved and put themselves together in such a way that was actually kind of perfect. Trusting in this is a huge part of what I try to help people with, myself included. Everything is doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing. The tornado is acting exactly like a tornado. The storm is acting exactly like the storm and without these things, we can't get to the next level. So you just have to trust that things are working the way that they are for you not to you.

Number 4 Life is long.

We experience life in the moment and sometimes it can feel like what we are experiencing now will never end, but life is really long. This is a marathon, not a sprint. So when you find yourself in a position where something's not working out the way that you want it to put that idea in your back pocket and say to yourself, maybe this is for later. Trust the timing of things. Given enough time and the right energy things usually work out. Look back over your life, I promise you can see evidence of this. Perhaps not the way you were planning or hoping for, but they work out nonetheless.

Number 5 It is what it is.

Now, this sounds really dismissive and unsympathetic, and non compassionate. And I get it because it is to a certain extent. But you know what? It’s still true. Sometimes it just is what it is. Nothing that's going on in your life right now is going to stop the sun from coming up tomorrow no matter how much you don’t like it. Life doesn't stop. If the entire human population was, right now, wiped off the face of the earth, the trees are still gonna grow and the sun is still gonna rise. And you have two choices about that. You can feel sad, or you can be like, well thank God it doesn't matter that much. Totally your call. It’s easier to remember this AFTER you have named the thing, see number 1 above.

It’s when life isn’t working the way you want it that we get to that binary choice place. As much as we may want to rant, and scream and rage at the injustice of it all, you really only have two choices; are you going to make it better, or worse? Making it better rarely involves screaming, ranting or raging (though you may need to do this while naming it which is completely fine).

Pain is important. Grief is important. It reminds you that something matters, it gives you purpose and meaning. But if you sit in it you waste away. Sometimes you just need to say it is what it is.

Life's not fair. Not always the right thing happens the way that you want it to happen. Sometimes it's bullshit.

It's not fair. It's not nice. It's not fun. It's not pleasant. But it is.

The situation that I'm dealing with with my son's school is really frustrating. I don't have a lot of control over it. I'm trying to work within two different systems and my choices aren’t really that great. I'm choosing between the lesser of two evils, but it is what it is and I only really have two choices. I can either sit and be pissed off and blame the people in the school for what's not working or I can look for the lesson, trust that things are the way that they are for a reason, and move forward with determination because I know that life is long and I will have an opportunity to get to where I want to go.

So the next time you find yourself facing something that isn’t optimal, remember these little tips and see if they help you shift a bit. If you have another tip that helps you please share it below!

Do you need more? Reach out, I can help.

And of course - don’t forget - #Consideryourlife #Beonpurpose


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