“How do you make God laugh?” Answer – “Tell him your plans!” Now whether you believe in a God of any shape or size there is a real truth in this. We can plan till the cows come home but sometimes life does just throw us a curve ball.
The first reaction is often that – a reaction, and that can make the situation feel even worse. A reaction is different from a response. A reaction is an unconscious act – something “bad” happens and we get triggered into the fight or flight reaction. There is no thought at this point – just pure instinctual reaction.
That may be fine if we really are in a life or death situation but it is not always the best way to handle the curve ball. When we are overtaken by an automatic reaction we often overreact. We see things in the worst possible light, horror stores flow through our minds unchecked and because of that we actually become less able to deal with what is really going on. Our minds take over and all we can see is what is wrong. Not the best place to come from when we want to find solutions to whatever is happening.
So instead of reacting, what we really need to do is respond. Consciously respond to whatever is playing out in front of us. And I say “playing out” for a reason. If you can witness what is happening rather than making it totally personal to you in that moment then you are in a far better place to navigate the situation.
To do this the first thing you have to do is a reality check. Stop, breath and begin to see the difference between what is actually happening right now in this moment and what you think might happen in the future.
Last year I wrote a book and I was invited to submit it to Hay House; a major publisher. All the signs, including the meeting I had with them pointed in the direction that they would pick it up. So it was a huge curve ball when they said they loved it but they could not add it to their list as they had too many similar titles by coaches. My automatic reaction was, to put it mildly, not positive.
Luckily I remembered that what I needed was to stop, breath and do a reality check. Truth was that I had lost nothing, I never had a contract – it was only in my mind. And when I could stand back and look at it, it was not a crushing blow; life would continue, my life’s work would go on, just not quite in the way I had envisioned.
One of the teachings on my spiritual path is that there are no mistakes, even the curve balls are meant to be. There is always a gift in any situation – something for us to learn, or am expansion of our vision.
Curve balls get us to look at our assumptions, to question why we want something, to make us expand our world and shift direction if necessary. They get us to question our motives and to shoot for the moon rather than just around the corner.
They can make us adjust our timing, which can be crucial. I have seen time and again with clients that delays that seemed so frustrating at first have actually resulted in them being in the right place at the right time.
And they can stop and make us think again – check in and see if what we say we want is really “it”. They make us stop and put our full attention on the situation at hand and get real about what we really want.
So, when life is throwing you curve balls remember these things:
- Stop, breath and notice your automatic reaction.
- Do a reality check – what is truly going on? What horror stories am I making up – what am I making this mean?
- Ask yourself, how do I want to respond to this?
- Check your assumptions, your motivation and get clear on what you truly want.
- Acknowledge that maybe this is just not quite the right time – learn to trust that everything has its perfect timing – if we can just get out of the way.
- Regroup with your new level of clarity, and then – and this is the key – let go and be ready to catch whatever ball comes your way.