How to overcome any challenge and access peace, power and prosperity right now.
A lot of us are feeling the pinch right now. We’re being asked to do more, for less – at work and at home. It’s easy to feel like it’s all too much. So how can we stay inspired and in action when so much seems beyond our control? This is my 3-step plan to turn any challenge into an opportunity to SHINE. It’s called LOVE IT, LEAD IT, LEAVE IT.
In life, we have stuff we CAN control; for example, what we spend our time or money on, what we say and what we do. When we’re operating in that circle, we feel positive, empowered and alive. We take action on what we can. Let’s call this our circle of control or influence.
Outside of this circle are the things we CAN’T directly control but still feel concerned about; for example, the state of the economy, the train running on time, the weather. When we’re in that circle, we feel disempowered and in survival. We tend to feel stressed and get stuck. This is our circle of concern.
In his book The 7 habits of highly effective people, Stephen Covey describes these circles. Interestingly, he says that the more we occupy the outer circle, the more fearful we feel and the less effective we are. Think of something you feel concerned and out-of-control about and check this out for yourself.
- So how do we move out of the outer circle, and into the inner circle?
- We can change our beliefs about it – LOVE IT.
- We can take action on it – LEAD IT.
- We can just accept what is – LEAVE IT.
STEP 1: LOVE IT – which means change your beliefs about it
Life is made up of ‘things happening’ in reality. And that is exactly what they are: just things happening. A dog barks. A baby cries. The sun rises. As human beings, to make sense of life, we apply meanings or beliefs about what is happening. It’s the meaning or ‘belief’ we give to what is happening that actually causes our reactions ‘Dogs are dangerous. Dogs are great protectors…. I’m a bad mother if my baby cries. I’m glad my baby can communicate with me.’ Why do I have to get up so early. It’s going to be a beautiful day…
Our beliefs or how we see things determine our actions (what we do). Our actions determine our results (what we get). Our results re-enforce how we see things. The meanings we give things are made up in our head. They are interpretations which, by definition, can never be absolutely true, only possible or valid. But we live our lives as if they’re absolutely true.
We only have ‘problems’ because we see them as problems. In fact, when we can love what is, we can find peace, power and prosperity in any moment. But how can you love something that seems unlovable? The first step is to separate what is really true…
Think about your problem and answer these questions for yourself.
How you can LOVE IT – which means change your beliefs about it
- What do you believe about your problem?
- Can you absolutely know for sure that is true?
- In what way do you know it isn’t true now?
- When you believe that thought, what happens?
- What would life be like if you didn’t have that thought?
- What do you want to believe instead?
- In how many ways do you know this is already true?
- Choose the belief that will most empower you.
LEAD IT – which means take action on it
‘Lead it’ is about taking action in the inner circle of control. Having learned what to love in the situation, actions we can take easily appear now that we hold an empowering belief. These are invisible to us when we ho ld a limiting belief. It’s like taking off dark glasses and literally seeing things that were not there before. Sometimes, it’s as simple as just taking the action we know to take.
How you can LEAD IT – which means take action on it
- What is in your control?
- What actions can you take?
- What is your next step?
STEP 3: LEAVE IT – which means accept it and let go
Once we have a belief turnaround and are in action, this is often enough to leave us empowered. However sometimes, we still have something that is diminishing our peace and power in some way. This means there’s something to let go of. It will usually be a form of resentment, resistance or regret. Letting go means, leaving it be, allowing it to be the way it is and the way it isn’t without judgement or resistance. Ultimately letting go is a choice and that is in your control.
How you can LEAVE IT – which means accept it and let go
- What are you resenting, regretting or resisting that you could let go of?
- What do you need to accept?
Here’s my real-life instant example of LOVE IT, LEAD IT, LEAVE IT. I use it in my life all the time.
My husband’s away at the moment. I live in a village in Southern Spain where the roads are narrow and winding. I just scraped the car when trying to park. I know my husband’s not going to be thrilled and I’m worried. I’ve got a deadline to write this article today. Can I love it? No, let’s be honest I can’t, but my belief ‘this is a disaster and I’m in trouble’…well yes, I can turn that around. ‘It’s not a disaster and he’ll be understanding’ certainly helps me right now. Can I lead it? I could take the car to the garage, but I want to write this article today and my husband’s home tomorrow. No action to take right now. Can I leave it? Can I accept that I scraped the car (again) and that I’ve caused damage that he may react to? Yes I can. I can accept this situation, stop regretting it, resisting it. I’m going to leave it behind for today and stay in control of today – and not drift into the circle of concern of tomorrow.
PS. He was understanding when I eventually told him. I waited for the right moment when I was feeling centred and empowered, and explained honestly what had happened. He said: ‘Oh well, could have been worse!’.
Emma’s Case Study
- Emma’s problem is that for the next six weeks, she perceives that she will be extremely pressured at work. Whenever she thinks about what’s ahead, she feels it’s all too much. She wakes at 4am wondering how she’s going to cope. How can she love that?
- How can Emma lead it? Emma could now see to take on her projects in a way that moved her into the inner circle of control.
- What can Emma leave? Emma can let go of her resentment to her clients for the project delays, and her regret at again finding herself under pressure.
LOVE IT, LEAD IT OR LEAVE IT is a powerful tool. The end game is peace and empowerment versus stress and feelings of helplessness. You can use this process with yourself. Although it’s helpful to do it the first time with someone who can ask these questions to help guide and challenge you.
When the clouds get in the way, it’s easy to forget that the sun is still there. A professional coach can help you release clouded beliefs and create new ways for you to turn your challenges into opportunities and enable you to flourish and shine. Contact me for a chat or visit www.elizabethlovius.com.
For a PDF Version: Love it, Lead it or Leave it.
If you want to get deeper into the process, here are some great teachers I’ve found helpful.
For the best foundation in understanding how we experience (and can change our experience of) life: The 3 Principles
For loving what is: Byron Katie
For being proactive: Stephen Covey