Have you ever found yourself looking at your life? Maybe looking at where you’re living, what job you’re in, looking at your partner and maybe your kids, your friends and maybe even looking at yourself in the mirror wondering how did I get here? “This isn’t what I pictured my life to look like” “This is not where I thought I would be right now”.
Are you confused about what you are going to do next in your life?
Maybe you’ve reached a goal you had in your career or around your health or with something in personal life and now you’re wondering “What’s next?” “What else can I do?” “How else can I be challenged?” Or maybe you’re confused by why you’re still single when all your friends are in relationships. You wonder why no matter how many books you read or things you search on google, there are still some things that seem impossible for you to change. Like you’ve tried to lose 10 kilos, maybe it didn’t work, or maybe it did and you put it back on. Or you’ve wanted to quit a bad habit but you just can’t seem to break it. Maybe then you just start to accept them.
There was a time back in my life when things got pretty interesting. I had a successful career managing an award winning restaurant. I had just gotten engaged. I owned a house and was living in a beautiful location with my fiance. It seemed as though I had everything. But I felt like there was still something missing. I felt like I wasn’t living the life that I knew I could be. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t fulfilled and I found myself walking away from my relationship, selling the house and quitting my job. I ended up moving back home with mum and dad which, at 30, also wasn’t what I thought my life would look like.
I was really lost…
I was spending day after day just sitting and watching TV, distracting myself with junk food and escaping my life by watching movies and reading magazines. I tried not to think about where I was or how I got there. I knew there had to be a better way but it was like I was in a chasm, inside a deep hole which I didn’t know how to get out of. What I know now is that confusion is okay, it’s an emotion that we feel and it can actually be helpful, if we learn how to use it to our advantage.
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It’s like untangling a knot. When you want to untangle it quickly, it gets tighter and more tangled. You might change your strategy and try looking for an end, only there doesn’t seem to be a beginning or an end, just a big huge mess of knots. You start kind of pulling at it and getting frustrated.
Then at last you breathe and get calm and start to focus on one little bit at a time rather than the whole thing. You start focusing on just untangling one knot, one little piece of the puzzle. It can take a little bit longer, but how satisfying is it once you’ve spent the time to untangle the knot and have that piece of string just ready for whatever it is that you are about to do.
The same thing happens with confusion. The more you focus on it, the more it increases, the more frustrating it gets. It’s like quicksand. You step into it and start to move, and the more you move the more the quicksand grips.
Have you ever tried to hide away from a situation? You know when you don’t want to even admit that it’s there, don’t want to admit that maybe “I’m not happy in my relationship” or “The job that I really want to do is going to take a lot more time away from my family”. When the problem feels too big, that’s when people go into hiding, trying to escape it. I used to try and hide away by watching TV, watching movies, to escape my life and live in somebody else’s, to avoid the life that I was living that I wasn’t happy in. I did this for years and at one point, I’d had enough. I stopped and looked back on the most recent years of my life and thought “What am I doing?” People can spend months or years of their life living this way.
It’s Ok… There is a solution
So what is the solution? It may be a little too simple for you, I hope you’re ready for it. Do you know what? All you need to do is find the first step to get towards calm.
Do you want help with Sadness, Procrastination, Self-Sabotage, Confidence or Motivation?
Think about it, what happens after confusion? Have you ever felt so confused about something and then felt absolute clarity when you finally got to the other side? Once you learned what you needed to learn you realised it was all OK.
So confusion can mean you’re about to learn something. You’re about to have a breakthrough in that situation. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small situation or a large one. If you keep working at it, and not just accept it, you will find the solution, the way out of that hole to get to calm.
I know sometimes it can be easier said than done. It’s like a muscle. To make it stronger you have to build it up. You have to work at it. Think of the feeling you felt immediately after the last time you learned what you needed to learn in order to keep going, the feeling immediately after the confusion. Your head will try and tell you that this time is different, this time it’s harder, but the structure is the same. You felt like you couldn’t get through it, but you did. You had to in order to be here, reading this article.
So the thing that helps me, some people call meditation. If you do too, that’s cool. I prefer to call it being calm because then I feel it’s easy for me to do anywhere. I can do it in front of somebody, I can do it on the train, I can do it in the office, I can do it in a meeting, I can practice it anywhere. Calm to me is being aware of my breath. It’s getting out of my head and looking around at anything else. At the steam rising from the cup of tea, at the smile on people’s faces. Sometimes I touch my fingers together and the sensation of that brings me to a sense of calm in any situation. It reminds me that I’m here, in this body, right now, that I’m not my thoughts, I am here.
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"After many years of training, courses, and counselling in various forms I thought I had certain aspects of my life sorted. Yet completing Emotion Academy showed me that I had been running away from my emotions and not facing them. After Emotion Academy, now I have the tools to engage with myself and win the internal battles once and for all - Neil Welsh, Victoria
The other thing I do is talk to someone who’s been there before. Who do you know that you can talk to about anything? Where can you go to talk to somebody about what’s going on? Just to be able to let it out. Sometimes talking it out is all you need in order to know that it’s okay. Or to hear from somebody who’s been there before and find out their experience.
I say it a lot and I say it because it works. But take a breath, take a break, go for a walk. Get outside of your head and see what’s around you and then when you come back to untangling that knot, that mess that you feel like your life is in or that difficult situation you’re in. Focus on one bit of it, focus on something you know you can change. That you know you can be responsible for. Focus on that and what you notice is that the calmness will start to increase. You may even start to see other paths that are possible, or opportunities open up, that you didn’t see before.
As you know, I was working in restaurant years ago. I remember it was my first day on the job. I was put on the restaurant floor and told, “Okay, this is the time we find out if you sink or swim. Go look after your section” This meant I had to take drink and food orders, clean and reset tables, serve food and all this during the busiest time of day. It was chaos. I had to turn the tables, which meant that as soon as people finished their meal, paid and left I had to get the table ready for the next group to sit down (and there was a line up outside of people waiting to dine). It was frenetic, it was crazy and it was so busy. That day all I could do was focus on one thing at a time. And all I did was ask myself, “What’s next, what’s next, what’s next?” I quickly learnt that in order to be able to survive, every time I went passed a table I had to do something on it. This table I passed I connected with the customers, the next table I passed I took an orders, the next I served their food, topping up water, re-setting the table. I did all these little things so that every trip back and forth I did from the kitchen was useful. There was no wasted trip passed a table and what that meant was I swam and I swam hard. I got that job and I kept it. The thing I learned from this experience was that amongst all that busyness, there were moments of clarity, and as soon as I lost my focus, I would get overwhelmed and it was hard to get it back. Whereas if I focused on those little things that I could do, the water I could top up, the smile I could give to a customer, the acknowledgment I am on my way to take their order. The little things I could do make a massive difference to my ability to look after those 50 diners. I focused on what I could control, what I could do and I just did it. And I did it and repeated it again and again and became the best waitress because of that experience.
Melisa Grigg - Head Coach & Trainer
Melisa was stuck in sadness for 15 years, hated her job, was overweight and her relationship had just ended. Melisa inspires people with her story and now teaches how she sorted her life out. She worked out how to be happy and how to lose over 30kg of body weight. In simple steps she teaches how you can stop procrastinating, find confidence, stop being so sad and finally start to find true meaning and purpose in your life.
Now I do the same thing when I’m in any situation. I focus on what I can do. I focus on doing it to the best possible standard that I am capable of. Confusion is rarely a bad feeling to me now. And that lost feeling that I had when I was sitting at home at my mum and dad’s house is gone, because I started focusing on other people. I realised that I’m not the only one out there feeling lost and alone and that happened when I started applying myself 100 percent to things. Everything became more meaningful when I applied myself 100% to it. When I wasn’t looking for some greener grass on the other side of the fence, but instead appreciated where I was and what I could control in that moment. My jobs became more fun because when I was working I was present. When I was talking to somebody I was one hundred percent there. I wouldn’t let my thinking get in the way because my thinking would lie to me. It would tell me that I wasn’t good enough, that I was shy. Now, I have a new meaning for confusion.
Confusion now means I’m about to learn something new.
Confusion means that I’m about to learn something that is going to help me. It’s essential and rather than dread it, I celebrate it. If I feel confused I’m like, yes! I’m doing something right! It means I’m continuing to learn, I’m continuing to grow.
So remember to surround yourself with amazing people. People who have been there before. People who support you.
If you’re feeling confused stop, breathe and find one thing that you can focus on and solve that. Solve that bit of the puzzle, feel good about it, then move on to the next bit that you can solve. Don’t try and do it all yourself. If there’s a way that you can do it better or easier or understand a little bit more then go find that person and ask a question and enjoy. Remember confusion means you’re about to learn something new.
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