When disaster strikes our life, we're often simply overwhelmed. As we saw during the 2011 tsunami in Japan, entire towns were wiped off the map, and a nuclear reactor is still in deep trouble. When a country like that is in chaos, where do we begin? Even more important, how do we deal with the "meltdowns" we face in our lives? In my book "Jolt! Get the Jump on a World That's Constantly Changing" I show you how to weather the storms of change, and actually use it to your advantage. After being fired, going through a divorce, losing a loved one or experiencing other traumatic life events, how do you start over? Here's 5 ways to move forward with purpose:
• The time to change is now. When you've hit the wall, or rock bottom, that could be the best thing that's ever happened to you, because it "jolts" you into action. While we never welcome terrible things, they can often help us focus on what really matters and show us the way out.
• Jolt your priorities. In Japan, the key to restarting was determining priorities: ask yourself, what's really important? The truth is, most people are stuck in a rut because they've never really decided what's important in their lives. In fact, most people will struggle to define, if asked, their top three priorities. To move forward, know what matters to you and your loved ones.
• Make strong decisions. Japanese leaders took a lot of heat for weak leadership. The biggest criticism is that they were not transparent. People were concerned they were not being told the truth, and that starts building a wall of distrust that's difficult to tear down. Many people fail at changing their lives because they won't make the hard decisions.
• Embrace ambiguity. One of the greatest tragedies that will come out of the Japanese disaster is the number of people who will spend the rest of their lives asking "Why?". They will become paralyzed and unable to move forward. Because they want a clear-cut answer, they'll spend years living in frustration, anger and bitterness. The truth is that we'll never find easy answers to much of what we experience in life—we have to learn to let go and move on.
• Discover the power of faith. During times of disaster, people start thinking about something outside themselves. People look to God when they get to the end of their rope. But we need to be thinking outside ourselves on a daily basis. The universe is a big place, and only when we start setting our sights higher can we get the right perspective.
Phil Cooke is an author, speaker and media consultant to churches and ministries, helping them share their story with the larger culture. Find out more at www.philcooke.com.
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