Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Getting yourself out of a rut

I was asked a question through one of our recent AskSimonSmith.com free teleseminars “How do you get yourself out of a rut?”

Not an easy question to answer because of course it really does depend on the context of “the rut”. However, I came across the question again recently and it reminded me of a story told to me some years ago about a guy who had got himself so badly in debt that life literally didn’t seem worth living. It seems topical right now, given all the negative news we are exposed to almost every day, that the world is going into recession, fuel prices are higher than they have ever been, food costs are soaring, the credit crunch is biting, and life is becoming harder and harder.

This guy had a good job, a nice house, company car, regular holidays, spent time in the pub with his friends, had a supportive family around him, and yet still managed to spend more than he earned. His family wanted more material things around them and he wanted to be able to provide for them. His friends invited him to social events and he didn’t want to miss out. Credit card companies and banks offered him more and more money to provide him with what were essentially luxuries, and he took them up on their offers and continued to spend. Life was great so to speak.

Unfortunately, it became increasingly obvious that he was in fact living beyond his means and before long the payments were becoming a burden and there was no longer any spare money for the things that the family had become used to. He began to worry about how he could keep providing for himself and his family in the same way he had previously. The more he worried, the worse it got.

Eventually it got to the stage where he had no choice but to own up to the situation he found himself in, and talk to his family. He had been so wrapped up in the problem that he found himself considering suicide so that the insurance would settle everything and his family would get what they needed, or wanted at least. However, he realised that he simply had to own up to the reality of the situation and talk it through with those who were most important to him. The relief he felt was enormous and unsurprisingly, in hindsight anyway, his family remained absolutely supportive and helped him see that there were indeed options available to him.

Through talking to his family, he was able to see that there were alternatives and life could continue, albeit things would have to change. His attitude began to shift and he became more positive and resourceful. He calculated the reality of his financial situation and wrote letters to the credit card companies and the banks. He was honest with himself about what was possible and then was honest with his creditors. Some of them resisted at first but when they realised that they had a genuine offer on the table they relented and allowed him to make payments according to his plan. His family continued to support him because they realised they could help. The light at the end of the tunnel was dim, but it was definitely there.

It took time, it took patience, but in the end he got out of his rut and he and his family looked forward to a much more fulfilling and exciting life together. They had got through “the worst” and were moving on “for better” as they had vowed together some years before.

This guy’s “rut” was created because he had bottled everything up and had not been honest with himself or his family. He had, as they say, buried his head in the sand, in the hope that things would go away. In fact, his solution was closer to him than he had realised, and just by being honest and having a conversation he was able to see that options were actually available to him. Life became easier and a future of possibilities was discovered.

So this week’s Success Tips are:

Be honest with yourself and with others – by being honest opportunities become clearer and the “burden” is relieved.

Communicate with people around you – if it is simply too much of a stretch to talk to those close to you at first, talk to a friend, coach or mastermind buddy.

Get out of the problem – ask yourself “what is the problem not?”

And a bonus tip not drawn from the story told to me; remove negative media from your life. The current economic climate may not seem all that rosy but the media do nothing to help the situation. We have a choice about how we feel. Don’t allow others to influence the positive choices you can make for yourself. In simple terms, only allow positive influences and people in your life. Turn the TV and the radio off when the “news” comes on. Read positive material. Choose positive friends.

Some people will say that by removing all the negativity from our lives, we are simply hiding from reality. I maintain that the truth is just an interpretation of events or circumstances. My truth is that life can be as positive as we want to make it, we really do have a choice how we feel!

If you want to know more about how coaching and masterminding can help you improve your results in business and in life in general we will be happy to discuss this with you. Contact us here

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