Bouncing Back

By Kristine Carlson

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It is often our expectations and thoughts about what we think should happen that create our suffering.  Life is rarely what we expect it to be. Sometimes, it’s better than we expect. Other times, it just is as it is. The key is to learn how to bounce.

Adopting the attitude that there is no real failure in life except for giving up, gets you a bigger bounce. Life may seem uncertain at times, but some day you will connect the dots, like dominos in a row, and see there was a carefully orchestrated plan.  The advantage of knowing this is that you can keep the bounce in your step as you move forward with enthusiasm.

We will certainly fall down as children.  An important aspect of learning includes getting back up and on our feet quickly.  The same is true for our moods and happiness or anything else that might be considered a stumbling block. My late husband, Richard Carlson says: “ The goal is to be graceful when low and grateful when high.”  It’s not that we won’t have low moods or slumps in business and relationships; we will.  It’s how quickly we can “bounce!” It’s about shortening the distance between two points and seeing it all as temporary and getting back to a place of calm resolve more quickly. From this centered place, we can make decisions and choose our actions by responding to life versus reacting from fear. From this place, we can bounce forward with resiliency and grace!

2. Expecting less and having more  

Set your expectations to zero, show up at 110% every day, and your positive attitude will drive your 110% experience of life.

Moreover, you won’t be depleting precious mental energy by beating yourself and others up because you’re disappointed and angry at not having your expectations met.

Having lower expectations does not mean that you don’t “go for it,” establish goals, or have visionary dreams. Setting your expectations to zero means that you are able to minimize your emotional setbacks that deplete and drain your vision of valuable energy. When you’re able to establish high intentionality but at the same time “let go,” accepting the outcome as it is, you can rise from any fall, thus increasing your personal power of resiliency. When you give it your best shot and you miss, it’s not seen as a failure. Instead, it’s just another opportunity to step up to the plate and do it better next time.

When your child tries out for an activity and doesn’t make the “A” list, then you encourage him or her by saying: “It’s ok. Practice more; enjoy what you’re doing, and try, try, try again.” Life as an adult is no different.The game of life is like a sport; it takes practice.  Giving it your best shot, and accepting the end result without engaging in negative thoughts that lead you to a downward spiral is the practice. On playing fields, this is called good sportsmanship. In life, it’s called having a winning attitude.

3. What lights your fire?

Are you tired of being tired? When you’re feeling low, exhausted and uninspired, it’s time for you to consider what is going to light your fire.  In the same way a candle has a wick and the wick burns with oxygen you need to fan your own flame with inspiration.  Inspired means “an extraordinary quality surpassing brilliance that comes from an outside creative impulse and is exhibited through your activities.”  For example: the inspired gardener, painter, postal worker, Mother, Father, or artist or whatever.  

Getting oxygen is easy when you remember to breathe.  That’s right: Breathe!  The one thing that really lit people do is start their day with an inspirational practice.  This is about ten to twenty minutes of “me” time designed by the one and only you.  How you start your day is how you live your day.  Could be a gratitude journal, inspirational reading, soft music, a little meditation and yoga with your green tea or coffee?  Anything that sparks your enthusiasm.  

Ask yourself some key questions:  What are you passionate about?  What have you given up in your adult life to be something that no longer fits you like a suit you’ve outgrown?  How can you bring more of ‘that’ back into your life in small ways every day?  Perhaps, instead of asking ‘what’s next’ you can ask ‘how can I serve?’  You will shine brighter if you remember what lights your fire and brings you joy.