If you’re anything like me, you’ve gotten pretty tired of hearing the words: unprecedented, challenging, unchartered waters and unusual. The last 8 months have been all these things across the globe. I know this is hard, but if you think about it, that’s what we should expect in life. We should expect things to change. We do, however, like comfort, predictability, structure and routine. For some, when these unexpected changes arise, there is great increase in stress and anxiety, and ultimately increase in sympathetic nerve tone (fight or flight response). For others, changes are simply opportunities to learn something new, achieve clearer focus and greater resolve.
I was adjusting a baby the other day. He was a little bit fussy and his mom said something to him that is still stuck in my head. You see, he was born at just under 25 weeks gestation. As you know, that’s REALLY early. According to statistics, at least 20% of babies don’t even survive when born this early. The first several months of his life were in intensive care at McMaster Hospital, where life-saving interventions were the routine for him. He had many tubes, tests and procedures just to survive in the early days. His mom told me this:
When he was is the hospital, there were so many hard moments where all I could do for him was give him my voice. When he would be going through difficult procedures and difficult times, I would always tell him “I know this is hard, but you can do hard things. You are strong!”
What voice are you giving to yourself, and the people around you? No one wants to be in the midst of a pandemic. No one wants to have a physical limitation, or mental health challenge or premature baby. There are many times we can’t change the situation, but we ALWAYS get to choose our response. How are you responding? Do you see uncertainty as a threat or an opportunity? It often means we have to leave comfortable familiarity behind. If you want to have an impact on those around you, it’s time to forge ahead into those unchartered waters!