About three years ago, I moved my company to Las Vegas. And it was nearly destroyed.
It was right before COVID-19. We had seen a huge opportunity to headquarter in Vegas: There would be tons of events, and we wouldn’t have to travel so much. Then, a global pandemic hit.
Regardless of whether you lost a business or kept a business, lost a job or kept a job, this change was an invitation to think about things differently. I always talk about hunger and how it can’t be taught. Hunger is squeezed out of you when your back is against the wall. You’re uncomfortable, and you either die or you survive.
My team was in that exact scenario: Our backs were pressed against the wall, and we were looking over the edge of ruin. It forced us to respond. We started an online education company, which has exponentially multiplied our ability to reach people in ways in-person events and seminars never could. It’s been a huge blessing and one we never would have received if we hadn’t experienced a die-or-survive situation.
Here’s what I know: The bad stuff is always there. Equally true: The gifts are always there. In the midst of a shake-up, you will find within yourself some resilience you didn’t know you had.
Many of us are past the crest of uncertainty from the pandemic and have rediscovered quality of life. We work from home, we get to see our family and friends more, we’re productive and we can make an income from anywhere in the world. Our comfort zones do this amazing thing in response to change: They expand. In hindsight, something that felt like a terrible disruption was also an invitation.
Now, this may all sound like a very optimistic way to view stressful situations. You may be thinking, Great, but change feels awful. I don’t like it. How can I see opportunities when things feel bleak or I feel alone or it all feels too hard?
When I’m in the middle of a stressful time, I need two things: to activate the curiosity center of my brain and to enlist the help of a guide.
First: Start asking questions. If you’re like most people, your brain may default to the negative. You’ll home in on weaknesses, insecurities, failures. Your survival instinct has you on edge, looking for threats. But you can train your brain and your instincts. Accurate evaluation doesn’t have to be disempowering.
I find the straightest path out of chaos is to ask yourself: What’s the gift? What’s great about this? Who am I going to become because I’m going through this?
Second: A coach, mentor or guide can be vitally important. I call myself Baby Yoda. As a guide, I see things you cannot see and I hear things you cannot hear. You’re in the field, but I’m in the bleachers and can see a wider view.
So, do those two things: Ask yourself the right questions and get someone with a broader perspective to guide you when the path isn’t clear.
You didn’t call for change. But it came for you. What will you do with the invitation?
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2023 issue of SUCCESS magazine. Photos courtesy Nick Santonastasso