A Better Approach to a Stressful Situation

Imagine yourself going for a walk in a beautiful wooded area. Now imagine there is a swarm of mosquitos buzzing around your head. How much of the wood are you able to appreciate?

This is what it felt like last week as I headed into the final few weeks of school. I was panicking as I thought of the gaps in my learning (it seems I unrealistically expected to know EVERYTHING about coaching by the end of this course). Looking at the last weeks of my certification course and preparing for exams through that lens, I could see little else – only what was missing. I could feel the panic rising. The missing pieces, like those mosquitos, obscuring my view of what was really there.

Thankfully, I realized quickly that my perspective was not helping me at all. It wasn’t assisting me in finding those places I still wanted more learning, and it certainly wasn’t helping me remember what I had already learned. I decided to adopt a different approach. I imagined my review process as a memorial walk, a rite of passage, through a serene, wooded area – minus those mosquitos. Thinking of it that way had me looking forward to the process of review with a sense of anticipation and excitement. Each tree representative of a module we had studied or a specific area of personal growth. At each stop along the way – some memories had fallen, mossy logs, some had tall, deeply rooted trees – I asked myself the questions, “What am I celebrating?”, “What is the growth?”, “What do I know?” “Where is there room for future learning?” Through this lens, I can recognize and celebrate what has already become part of me. I can also appreciate the areas I want to see further development.

As I sit in my office, I am surrounded by pictures of trees with words printed on them. I am a visual person, so I created these images to remind me of my journey. I see words like celebrating and growth repeated over and over. I feel the sense of joy over the journey and recognise the distance I’ve already traveled. I am filled with gratitude as I look at my memorial forest.

What a difference perspective makes!

This reminded me of a post I wrote some months back about conquering your metaphorical mountain. I love the reminder from Edmund Hillary, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

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