Have you ever had something happen in a split second that changed your whole life?
I have it was on Sept 18th, 2015. I was driving to my parent’s house to pick up my kids, and as I rounded a corner, an oncoming vehicle crossed over into my lane, hitting my vehicle. It’s such a weird feeling when you know something terrible is about to happen, but you can’t change it or fix it in the moment. All you can do is hold on tight and wait for impact.
Before my accident, I worked as an Executive Admin for four hospital sites. I enjoyed working with the Director and Manager in my department and was pretty good at my job. At home, I was the mom and wife that showed up to every hockey and baseball game, cheering the loudest whether it was appreciated or not! I was quick to laugh, quick to yell and always a little stressed out!
The day of my accident was pretty crazy looking back at it now, as is every crisis in hindsight. I remember calling my Dad because my husband was out of town working. I remember being so relieved when he showed up, knowing that I didn’t have to be in this situation alone anymore. The other thing I remembered was him asking me to call my kids at their house because they heard the accident and were scared that I wasn’t ok.
As I waited for the emergency services to arrive, I started thinking about how I was going to tell my husband that we needed a new vehicle, honestly believing that that was the biggest of our worries. Little did I know that my life was going to be forever different after that day.
I expected to be sore in the days following, but what I didn’t plan for were injuries that caused a strain on my family, the loss of my health and the career that I worked 15 years to build. Over the next 3.5 years, my full-time job became recovery. I went to massage, physio, OT, Vision therapy, doctors and specialists and the list goes on and on. This experience shifted my entire way of living and thinking.
If you aren’t growing you’re dying
I listened to a great speaker this week, and he mentioned that if you aren’t growing you’re dying. That is exactly how I felt- floating around with no direction and no purpose. I wasn’t able to participate in the things I used to, I struggled with guilt because I wasn’t able to keep promises to my kids and husband, I wasn’t able to go for walks or play the sports that I had enjoyed, and that was only the tip of the iceberg. Going through a trauma or crisis like this was life-altering for me. It felt like it took away everything that made me, me. My memory was terrible after my concussion. My mind was a steel trap before my accident and something I relied on heavily. I remember breaking down in a grocery store because for the hundredth time, I couldn’t remember what I went in for, and then I couldn’t remember the pin on my bank card when I tried to pay. Failure after failure.
“Why aren’t you back to work yet, Christy?”
“The accident wasn’t that bad”
“I don’t get why you can’t just move on?”
Are just a few of the things I heard from others and kept asking myself.
It wasn’t until I started counselling that I began to realize there was strength in my experience. I had a counsellor that said: “Christy, you are a freakin’ warrior. I am not sure I would still be standing after everything you have gone through”. It was then I started to see this experience as something that happened for me instead of something that happened to me. It was in these sessions that I started to think about what my plan was going to be moving forward. That the job that I worked in and spent 15 years striving towards was the cause of most of my stress and actually making me miserable. My most important ‘aha moment’ was that I wasn’t happy with where my family sat on my list of priorities.
The most significant gift I received during my recovery was time. I was given time with my family, to be there for my boys in every part of their lives. Un-interrupted time to figure out what matters in my life and to never again settle for anything less. I am sure this sounds familiar with a lot of you right now, as we all try to navigate the COVID-19 crisis. I have been where you are right now, I understand how scared and lost you feel with everything up in the air.
So, I have a few things you can do to start moving forward. To help you get unstuck or take back some of the control you feel you have lost in this crisis:
1. Limit the amount of information you are taking in.
From today on, give yourself 1 hour to learn what you need to, then promise me you will turn it off. By continually bombarding our brains with all of this scary information, we are unintentionally affecting our mental health. We need to protect our thoughts right now and make sure we are focusing on the things we can control. Netflix is great, but it’s not moving you forward.
2. Write down the things that matter the most in your life.
Take a few minutes to think this one through. What do you want to look back at in 50 years and say that you are proud of? Do you want to be a great parent? Is it helping people in need, especially in a crisis? Maybe it’s being a great friend or creating a business to help you share your gifts?
3. What is one thing you have always wanted to do or be better at?
It is finally getting to that course you have been putting off? Or maybe it’s starting that business that lights your soul? Maybe, it’s being more present at home with your loved ones and being better at managing your work-life balance? Maybe it’s becoming more intentional with your time? Whatever it is, promise me you won’t settle any longer.
4. How can you adjust or pivot what you are doing so that you can stay moving forward in your life and business?
A month ago, you knew what you wanted out of life and your business, and anytime you go through a crisis like this, your perspective and priorities get flipped on end. How you adjust your thinking right now will determine if you are moving forward in 6 months or stuck in the same place as you are now.
Take a look at the things that matter the most to you and start formulating a plan for how you can build or deliver those things. If you are in business, start thinking about how you can shift now, so you are providing what people need today (not one month ago) but how you can help now. Is that by expanding your brick & mortar business to an online store? Can you create a course to share your gift with others? Can you build relationships right now with people so they don’t feel so alone and that you can share your light and knowledge?