I recently reconnected with several of my high school classmates. This may not seem unusual except for one detail – we attended school in Johannesburg, South Africa and have now spread to locations throughout the world. This was undoubtedly one of the positives that occurred after my diagnosis with breast cancer – the fact that my high school friends reached out to me with sincere compassion and caring. Another plus was that there is a virtual group where many of our classmates stay connected and share life’s ups and downs.
One of the women in the group reached out to the rest of us as she was maneuvering through some tough business issues. I am going to share a wise response that came from a former classmate and renowned doctor who now practices in Orlando, Fla:
- When your life is overwhelming and you feel that you are losing control –focus on the issues that you can manage.
- Identify the things in your personal and financial life that you can manage, pay very strict attention to them and ignore the rest. You will find that you can begin picking up the pieces as you recover from your crisis.
- Pay attention to yourself, your health and mental health. It is more important than ever that you eat right and exercise and try to relax – these are things you can control.
- Pay attention to your family and friends. Do not lose sight of them, do not let them fall apart with everything else.
- Identify the one or two or three things of your finances that you can possibly control, no matter how insignificant, and focus intently on them.
- As you recover from the crisis, you will start again picking up the pieces, in a controlled, gradient fashion. As you begin getting things under control, even after possibly losing much, you can start rebuilding in a much more deliberate fashion with a more solid foundation.
Finally, remember there are things you CAN do. Here is an “exercise” that you can use to make sure you are taking care of the important things. Follow the sequence and you’ll find that there are three dynamics at play here:
- Self (Dynamic 1),
- Social, family and friends (Dynamic 2)
- Financial, the outside people, partners, creditors, etc. (Dynamic 3)
You MUST start with Dynamic 1, you cannot succeed in 2 without success in 1, and you cannot succeed in 3 without 1 and 2 in control. I hope I have offered some useful take-ways for those of you undergoing a difficult challenge.