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When life gives you a slap, would you rather be bamboo, or a dried old stick?

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When Covid hit the bigtime, I lost $22,000 worth of corporate contracts and Airbnb bookings within the space of 3 days.

Suffice to say, my nervous system (and Neville) were NOT STOKED.

There were tears. There was meltdown. There was panic.

There was obsessive reading of Covid news. Obsessive bulk-cooking of spaghetti bolognese. And obsessive eating of entire blocks of Green & Blacks chocolate.

This lasted for a few days.

I really dedicated myself to the panic, you know, threw myself into it with great gusto.

Wallowed in the victimness of it. Revelled in the drama. Even though I knew deep down that I would be able to work something out, Neville didn’t give a damn. His perspective was narrowly focused on one single thought.

“Oh god. Everything is fucked.”

That was 7 weeks ago.

I can now look back and say that my Covid meltdown and that massive loss of income was one of the best things that could have happened to me.

Scary? Yes. Challenging? Yes. Enlightening? Yes.

I have learnt things about myself that I never would have learnt if the rug hadn’t been ripped from under me.

I’ve had huge realisations about how much I drain myself with the way I approach work.

I’ve become clearer than ever about what is most important to me. And what I’ve been saying “yes” to, when really, I want (and need) to say “no”.

And most of all I’ve started REALLY listening to my gut instinct on a moment to moment basis.

I’ll write more about these lightbulb moments in another blog post. I’ve since been inundated with corporate workshops to help companies and their staff manage stress, isolation and uncertainty. (Pst – if you think your workplace would benefit from a workshop like this, email me and let me know!)

Needless to say, (which is such a weird thing to say right before saying the thing) the results of these learnings have been bloody miraculous, not just for my mental health and resilience, but also for my business and for my relationships.

My inner wise guy (AKA the gut instinct) always cackles at these times and says “Remember, Andrea?”

“Life is happening FOR you, not TO you.” Neville likes to forget this from time to time.

What if, when everything feels fucked, life is actually delivering us exactly the lesson we need right now?

What if instead of fighting and shouting at the sky with our fist about how unfair it all seems, we just stopped for a second and allowed ourselves to FEEL how we’re feeling?

What if we dropped the resistance, and started to ask ourselves “what lesson can I learn from this?”

Whether you believe “everything happens for a reason” or whether you believe that’s a load of bollocks, it doesn’t matter – because you still get to choose which perspective you take.

Perspective 1: Everything has gone to hell in a cardboard box and I’m going to storm around feeling pissed and victimy and panicked and sad.

Perspective 2: This is an opportunity for growth. I can use this challenge to become more resilient. How can I be curious about what’s happening here?

Have a go at both options. How do they feel?

Perspective 1 = you choose to be a dried old stick that snaps when life smacks you over the stick-head. (AKA, lacking resilience)

Perspective 2 = you choose to be a supple little bamboo whipper snapper that bends and then bounces back into shape when life smacks you over the head. (AKA, highly resilient)

I know better than anyone that it sometimes feels self-righteously good (a bit addictive even) to act like a dried old stick, curse others (or just the sky, or Scott, or Boris, or Trump – definitely not Jacinda) for the situation we’re in, and wallow in self pity.

But it also feels tiring. And draining. And snappy. And like hitting your head against a cast iron wall. With rough-grade sandpaper glued to it. So let’s stop doing that.

It never feels good to be a dried old stick.

Bamboo is lovely.

If you’re really struggling with something at the moment, no matter whether it’s Covid related or whether it’s because some dude ghosted you after you accidentally sent him a screenshot of his own face…

You’ve tried resisting and panicking and fighting the situation already, amiright?

Perhaps it’s time to try the opposite.

Pst — for more tips to help your mind calm the fuck down so you don't jitter through your day like an anxious hampster, download the free g-book here: How to Stop a Bad Day in its Tracks  It’s free, and brill.

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