This is for anyone in a dark situation. We’ll call it a tunnel.
When we’re in the tunnel, we can’t always see the other side. This happens when we’re looking for work, short on money, or in an unpleasant living environment. As more and more negatives start to pile on, we tend do a couple of things:
We focus on more negatives: It’s the easy and comfortable thing to do. Yet it tends to make our situation worse, not better.
We seek out instant gratification: While having a short break is sometimes necessary, it’s important we don’t stay there too long. Many of us go on this break, then stay there. This is nothing more than just an extended vacation in our dark tunnel. Unless we start making an effort to get out, we’re just setting ourselves up to be unhappy in the long run.
So how do we get out?
After you’ve taken your (short) break to ease your mind, here are a few steps I recommend:
1) Accept responsibility for your circumstances
The easy thing to do is to play the victim mentality and blame someone or something other than ourselves. Regardless of any crazy and unexpected circumstances that may have occurred, it’s important to realize that you are the reason for where you are today. Accept responsibility for what’s happened. Don’t kick yourself. Just stop making excuses and blaming others. Once you own up to your situation, you’ll realize you have the power to change things and get yourself back on track.
2) Make an action plan
This is going to vary based on what’s going on. Keep in mind you might be digging yourself out of a deep hole. This could take time. Don’t worry about making it perfect. If you do, you’ll just keep putting it off. Just start. You can try starting from the finish line and then working backwards if that helps. Just make sure it gives you some specific steps to get to your final destination.
If necessary, ask a friend for help. Or hire someone . Whatever you do, do not blame them if they are unresponsive or unavailable. Doing this releases our power to control our circumstances. The goal is to get out. The more we blame, the longer we’re stuck in the tunnel.
3) Stay consistent
It’s easy to belittle those tiny steps starting out, such as making an action plan. “What difference does it make? I’ll still be in my same situation tomorrow.” Making the plan actually puts you further ahead than you think. It ignites a flame of hope. Hope is a very powerful tool. It’s contagious and will reveal both confidence and answers – which are hard to see when it’s dark out.
This only works if you’re consistent. If you’re not, you won’t see any progress. Then you’ll really get frustrated and want to quit. Which keeps us in the tunnel. We don’t want that.
As you go about this, keep finding ways for to keep yourself motivated and sane. Just make sure it doesn’t turn into that extended vacation in instant gratification land. You need to be prepped and ready to go as soon as the break is over.
If you’re in that tunnel now, get up off the couch. Make that plan right. Then….relax. You’ve just taken your first step. You can sleep tonight knowing that you took a moved forward towards the other end of the tunnel.
Best part: Doing this helps the tunnel seem a little bit brighter.
Go get ’em.