5 Ways To Navigate The Missteps In Life

stumbling man cartoon illustrationOne step.   One simple step  That’s all it took for me recently to change my life for the past two weeks.

Life can change in an instant.  We go along with the daily routine and our plans.  We think we are in control until God shows us that we don’t have things figured out.  Even if you don’t believe in God, I can tell you that life or the universe or whatever you believe in has a way of throwing you off of your plan and the things you thought you had under control.

We aren’t as smart as we think we are.  Life happens and then we have to make adjustments.

For most people the first thing they say is: “Why did this happen to me?”  Some people are quick to blame God whether they are a believer or not.  God doesn’t work that way.  Bad things happen to us regardless of our religious level.  (Matthew 5:45)  I have even heard Christians ask why would God let bad things happen to them.  Seriously?  Stuff happens.  That’s just how life is.  None of us are immune from life tripping us up once in a while.

We can ask that question but what answer do we expect to get that would satisfy us?  Things just happen.  We make wrong decisions and we take wrong steps.  What has happened has happened.  There’s not much we can do about things after they have happened.  THE most important thing we can do is to adjust and follow the course that is ahead of us at that point.

Instead of being stuck in the why, we have to discover the what.  What do we do now?

Missteps can be a way of getting our attention and altering our path.  We have to look at life altering events as things that push us into a new or fresh outlook on our life’s journey.  We have the choice either to be thrown by life’s bumps or change our attitude about the situation.  Personally, I don’t like to be blindsided by unexpected situations.  I like to be prepared.  Life doesn’t always afford us an opportunity to see what is coming.

So how can we deal with life’s stumbles and missteps?

  1. Understand that things happen – We can’t control everything. When it happens, don’t let it throw you. You simply can’t plan life.
  2. Take a timeout to regroup – These unplanned stumbles in life give us an opportunity to reflect and reset ourselves.  We need these times to take a break from the routine.
  3. Make a plan to move forward – We have a chance to see what has been done in the past and make adjustments to move forward.  Instead of reacting, we can look ahead with some clarity.
  4. Build upon your strengths – You know what you do best.  Focus on those things and work on your weaknesses.  Do what you can do.
  5. Leave fear behind – We all have fears about the unknown.  Let’s don’t let our fears keep us from moving forward.  Falling down happens but we can’t be afraid to get back up again.

Don’t let the unexpected or unplanned things that happen to you to keep you down.  I know it stinks when they do.  Absorb the blow and give yourself time to rebound from it.  Use the missteps to help you reset yourself.  We can let these moments be lessons that we can learn from to adjust our course.








Adjusting To Changes In Life

lifeIn my last check of my work email on Friday, I read an email that announced one of my co-workers was going to be leaving.  This news took the wind out of me for a moment.  I wasn’t expecting it.  I normally don’t have such a reaction when people at work leave.  It happens.  People move on.  New people will be hired to replace them.  The problem is that you hate to see the good ones leave and he was one of the good ones.  I told my wife that it seems the good ones always leave and the annoying ones NEVER leave and if they do they are replaced by TWO annoying people.

That’s how it goes.  You have to adjust.

Today I read a post on Facebook about someone I have known over the years who had been in critical care recently due to heart-related issues.  From what I can tell, the last status is that he is at home recovering.

Life changes.  People leave us.  We grow old.

Sure, it can be depressing if you let it but you can’t stop it.  I told my wife recently that I still can’t believe I’m in my 50s now.  It doesn’t seem real to me.  My mind isn’t there but my body is.  You can’t stop getting old.

So, if you can’t stop it, the only choice you have is to roll along with it.  Adjust to the changes of life.  Adjust to getting older.  Realize people are going to leave your life.  It’s a harsh reality but you have to do it.

More than likely I won’t have another 50 years unless I’m really lucky.  I want to make the most of what time I have now.  Enjoy the now.  Don’t stay stuck in the past and don’t worry about what’s ahead.  Live today.  Enjoy the people in your life right now.

We have all had to make the hard choices in life which have caused us to lose a few friendships along the way or move away from our comfort zone.  I know that I find myself at times on the same treadmill which is work Monday through Friday and then off on the weekends.  I get stuck in that routine.  I could change it except for the fact that I have bills to pay and responsiblities to my family.   We all do what we have to do for that purpose.  There was a time that I was all about my career and what I could accomplish on my job.  I became a known name in my field and was involved in a lot of projects and other opportunities.  I thought that was the thing but all it got me was MORE work and MORE expectations as well as the stress that went with it.  In recent years I have toned it down and have returned to what was truly important.   I figure that I never want to be the person who will wish he had spent more time at the office etched onto my tombstone.

If there is one piece of advice I have given people is that things change.  Sometimes they don’t change as fast as we would like for them to change but it doesn’t change.  The best ability one can have is the ability to adjust to the changes.

When I transferred from a job location I had been for over 20 years, someone asked me how the office would ever do without me.  I simply said that they would hire someone else.  I didn’t mean for it to be as blunt as it came out but it is true.  I moved on and they hired someone else.

The one thing I hate about being an adult is that I have to make the difficult decisions and, ultimately, suffer the consequences of those decisions.  It was easy growing up because I could always blame my parents or my teachers because of the decisions they made but now it’s on me.  I don’t like that part.  I don’t like having to play the $200 electric bill instead of getting a new computer.  I don’t like staying home when I want to go somewhere but it’s just a part of how life changes.  You adjust your thinking when the responsiblity rests on your shoulders.

The value of our life is the NOW.  The present time.  What we’ve done in the past is over.  We can’t go back and change anything.  The future isn’t here yet and it unfolds according to how we live the present.