What to Do When Reality Hits Hard

Reality sucks, especially on TV. If it’s not the traumatic news reports, it’s adversarial competitions that encourage rage. Contestants are regularly voted off the island, fired from apprentice jobs and judged to be lacking in any discernible talent.

In “real life,” serious disappointments are likewise bitter pills to swallow. Many of us have endured significant economic hardships — from downsizing and outright business failures to mortgage crises and investment losses. Few of us have escaped unaffected.

I see this in my work coaching people. Some people are more resilient, bouncing back quickly. Others struggle to cope with the changes forced upon them.

While few of us personally contributed to the housing bubble and bank collapses, each of us must take ownership of our responsibility to effect change and move forward. It may be tempting to see yourself as an unfortunate victim, but this line of thinking is pointless. When you assign yourself the role of victim, you deplete the energy you need to fight back.

It’s easy to be a master of self-deception when reality isn’t what you you expected. It’s harder still to admit you can do something about the way you’re interacting in the world. It’s time to view your situation in a different way — an approach that many of us inherently fear and resist. You have to make a choice:

  • Are you ready to take steps to remedy the situation?
  • Do you want to remain stuck?

Survival requires us to move on. The problem is, we’re profoundly affected by loss. It drains our physical and emotional reserves, and it can contaminate our thought processes. Instead of optimism about the future, we become prone to negative thinking, doubts and fears.

These tough situations and emotions are good reasons to work with a coach. You can’t know what you don’t know, and your best thinking probably won’t lead you out of a negative hole. Working with a professionally trained coach, however, can.

Acknowledging reality is one thing. Choosing to see it differently so you can change it requires courage and imagination.

How have you been affected by loss? How do you manage your view of reality? I’d love the hear from you, leave a comment.

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