There it goes…
My car’s check engine light flips on 24 hours before I’m about to leave town.
One of my kids has a fever, the sniffles, a cough, or is barfing…again.
The client called and needs to bump up the project timeline.
My babysitter texted and can no longer commit to Saturday.
The team meeting was moved to the same day as my dentist appointment.
The sink is dripping, and I just replaced the worn out seal.
Outside it’s -24 degrees with the wind chill and school has been delayed another day.
Life’s pivots, these things happen. The frequency can be often or sporadic, we never know when life is going to throw us a curveball.
I used to get rattled by these interruptions. In fact, they could derail my whole day or week. I’m hardwired as a planner so anything in my schedule that got disrupted, shuffled, rescheduled, or tossed in a new direction was very hard for me.
The bright spot - God and the Universe has taught me a new way.
One big area of growth during the pandemic and beyond has been my softness for cancellations, interruptions, shuffles, you name it…
School is shut down for two weeks, nope - for the rest of the year.
Yoga class at the studio - offered, but only on Zoom.
The vacation that was planned for months - rescheduled. Scratch that, canceled.
An easy carry-out spaghetti dinner from the local restaurant - unavailable. They’re closed indefinitely.
Thanksgiving together with family - canceled.
Here’s a funny one: I even got interrupted writing this piece at 5:44 a.m. - no surprise.
Fortunately, we found new ways to gather, explore, and connect. Without realizing it during these moments, I was learning one of the greatest skills: building up my tolerance level.
I’m proud (and quite frankly shocked) to say that I now have a high tolerance for life’s pivots. As I mentioned, this was not always the case for me. If you’re seeking more peace throughout your weeks, this skill will serve you in many ways too.
A few simple starting points for building up your own tolerance level:
Spend time in nature - a game changer for me. Sharing my breaths with the sun, sky, and elements reminds me that I’m part of the Earth and nothing is permanent.
When life is shuffled, take a pause. Ask yourself, “How big of a deal is it? How will this impact my day? How will this affect my attitude, my team, and/or my family?” Most of these are in our sphere of influence. They can be spun positively or negatively depending on how we choose to respond.
Absorb the cancellation and reshuffle later. Do you need to reschedule right away? Maybe. Can it wait? Probably. When something gets canceled or takes an unexpected turn in my week, I now try to pause, absorb the change, and reshuffle later. It’s OK to not play musical chairs right away. Typically we put a higher expectation on ourselves in this arena than the rest of the world sets for us.
Release it. It’s perfectly normal to be disappointed in a cancellation. True story: last fall I was supposed to spend a week in Colorado with my family. My son got an unexpected ear infection during our travels, did not adjust well to the altitude in the mountains, and had trouble breathing so we were advised to return home immediately. We were only there for 48 hours. While I was incredibly grateful that he recovered quickly when we got home, I was devastated about the whole thing. Preparing for a trip with our three small children (ages 6, 4, and 2) is no easy feat. It’s understandable to be disappointed, upset, angry, confused, or even happy when something gets canceled. If we’re upset, tell someone. In my case, I cried in my Counselor’s office. When you’re happy, ask yourself, “Do I need more cancellations in my life?” An empty calendar can be a beautiful gift! If you experience anger (I’ve been there!), try exercise or another healthy stress reliever to counter the cancellation.
Create your own cancellation. Look ahead on your calendar and choose an hour, afternoon, or day of quiet. Plan it into your schedule if you’d like, or create a spontaneous cancellation. A period of quiet can work wonders for your spiritual well-being.
As we continue the internal quest to become better leaders for our team, family, community, and ourselves - it is imperative to build our tolerance level. Life’s pivot’s will always be there - big or small. I’m thankful my tolerance level is much higher than in years past. It is serving me well in life, leadership, parenthood, entrepreneurship, and many other areas of my life.
Build up your tolerance level and freely accept life’s pivots.
Written by: Sarah Watson, Creator of Calm at The Restoration Project
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