5 ways you can choose to shift up…and not down

No matter what’s going on in your life right now, you have a choice.

A choice to shift up, or shift down…in response to whatever you might be facing in your own life right now.

The first time I truly understood this was when I read Viktor’s Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ in which he tells his own harrowing story of how he survived one of the most degrading human experiences imaginable; life in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.

This is an extraordinary example of someone who managed to shift up – and not down – not only to survive, but to then eventually thrive once he was finally re-united with loved ones and able to share his experiences with the world.

And his message is this;

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

As soon as I read this, I instantly fell in love with the idea that no mater what might be taking place in our lives, we have a choice.

A choice to decide how we want to view & respond so we can ultimately determine our own destiny, even when it looks like we have no control at all.

This suggests that no matter what you’re up against, your greatest source of power lies in your ability to respond from a place of meaning – versus fear.

Or in other words, you can choose a more courageous approach and try to create a deeper sense of purpose & meaning from the situation at-hand, or you can take a fear-based approach and spend countless hours ruminating over things you have no control over.

Both are totally understandable, but only one will help you to feel better and make something ‘more’ from the experience, as opposed to less.

And here’s how it works…

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, we all need our physiological needs to be met first i.e. food, water, air, shelter, sleep etc.

Once these are in place, we can then start thinking about security in terms of things like employment, resources, health, & property.

And only then do we move on to other things like love & connection i.e. family, friends, community, as well as building our self-esteem in terms of things such as mastery, status, recognition & freedom.

Recent world events are a great example of this, with many choosing to shift back down to the security level, while grappling with things like business closures, job losses, loss of income, health concerns & social distancing measures etc.

And once we feel threatened at the security level, we can do one of two things;

  1. We can either shift down & focus on our physiological needs i.e. panic buying & stockpiling food & supplies (like toilet paper!)
  2. Or we can CHOOSE to shift up by reaching out to connect with all those we care about while simultaneously reframing how you want to show up in the world as chances are you may need to re-think that right now

So, for those thinking about shifting up, here are 5 practical suggestions to help you choose to shift up (and not down);

  • CHOOSE YOUR RESPONSE

It can be helpful realise that we are ALL going through one the world’s great challenge moments together, which means our best bet is to get through it together! This is also a huge opportunity to remember that no matter how it might be impacting you personally, that you still have all the power you need to choose your response. Victim thinking will suggest that ‘something bad’ is happening to you and while that might be partially true, the larger truth is that you can absolutely decide how you’re going to engage with it. And that means you can either join the ‘many’ in the general sense of panic sweeping the world OR you can start asking yourself some of the more meaningful questions around ‘what do I choose to believe in right now, so I can start showing up in new ways and serve?’

  • REACH OUT & CONNECT

Now is the perfect time to reach out and connect with friends, family and the broader community. Because we can, and self-isolation doesn’t have to mean a lack of connection – far from it. It simply means we might need to be a bit more resourceful right now and make additional efforts to stay in touch. And if you look around, this is already happening in a range of ways; school classrooms are moving online, businesses are finding new ways to connect with their customers, and people like musicians & artists are discovering new & innovative ways to share their gifts with the world. So finding new ways to connect is ‘everything’ right now and will make all the difference in the world, not only to others…but also to you!

  • FOCUS ON YOUR HEALTH

There’s never been a better time to focus on your health! That means staying across the facts and practising social distancing, as well as all of the other great health tips and advice out there. But it’s also a great time to work on your personal health and wellbeing which often falls by the wayside when life gets ‘busy’ and and we start riding all the usual excuses. So get outside (if you still can…) and go for a walk, or join a virtual gym, or a yoga class, or maybe it’s time to take up that meditation practice you’ve been talking about for…well forever! And how about boosting your immune system while you’re at it, by learning to cook some some new healthy recipes while cutting back on the sugars and processed foods

  • SHARE YOUR VALUE

When we feel under-threat, it can be easy to prioritise what we think we need – versus what we have to offer. So now is also a great time to ask yourself, what do I want to share with the world? Maybe there’s something you’ve been thinking about doing & putting off for a while. Or perhaps now is the perfect opportunity to re-wire your business, or re-align your job, or career, so that it makes much more sense in terms of what’s most important in your life right now. The point is that while it can be tempting to hunker down and play small, what if instead you decided that now was the time to shift up a gear or two…and play big?

  • TAP INTO YOUR PURPOSE

Tapping into your own unique sense of purpose is one of the most powerful ways to re-align with what’s truly meaningful & matters most…to you. That’s because your purpose will not only reveal those things you’re naturally best at, it will point towards those areas where you’re likely to gain the most value – as ultimately these are ultimately one and the same. And this means that as soon as things start to stabilise again – and they will – you will have re-defined your current scenario to be a more natural fit with whatever it is you’re currently seeking more-or less of – in your own life right now, which will then allow you to live in a much more powerful way

And as ever, if you’d like to know more please reach out to me directly or follow the links below.

Stay safe!

Nicola x

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