How to Recover From a One-Two Punch Life Event

Sometimes life hits us hard with an adverse event throwing us off balance. In return, we react, we adjust, we recover. But what happens when two major life issues clobber an individual in one year? What is the process for getting up, fighting back, and returning to normalcy?  

   A client of mine learned to pick up the shattered pieces of her life and rebuild. For Rhonda, it started when her long-term job with a major financial institution was made redundant. Walking out the door on her last day with her pink slip and severance package in hand, she stayed positive. She did something quite wise, Rhonda decided to take a breather. She deferred our work on her job search for 30 days.

     When I caught up with my client to schedule our first session, she answered the phone in a calm, professional manner. It was what she said next that left me with no words. Rhonda explained she was sitting in a hotel room with her husband and two dogs because her home burnt to the ground in a Northern California fire. 

Picking Up the Pieces

     There you have it, folks, two major life events mere weeks apart, both traumatic, both requiring emotional and financial recovery. Where to start? After processing the initial shock of dual events, Rhonda drew on her resilient nature and began to design a plan. Although highly independent, she knew she must ask for and accept help from friends and agencies. The family made plans to move out of the hotel and into the home of a distant cousin.

     After some counseling and joining a support group, Rhonda and her spouse began finding glimmers of that elusive silver lining.

Now unencumbered by a mortgage payment and Rhonda’s job, the two began discussions about fulfilling a dream and moving to Colorado. While warming to their newfound freedom, their burden became lighter as they anticipated positive psychological changes.

Trauma Recovery

     I suspect at the outset of the tragedy; the couple experienced situational depression. Who wouldn’t? Rhonda told me they left their home mere minutes before the fire consumed it.

     People do recover from trauma, and looking back, Rhonda reports having a stronger appreciation for life. Those two events stacked one upon the other were severe, but change often provides new opportunities. 

     In tough situations, lean into resilience, but the life lesson here is don’t try to go it alone. Whenever a traumatic event impacts your life, ask for help, seek counseling, and as you work through recovery, train your brain to see the positive.

Dear Reader,

When the COVID-19 crisis is over, I suspect there will be multiple stories regarding one-two punch life events. I am publishing this today, to remind us, that on the other side of the toughest situations, it is possible to rebuild.

Stay safe.

Love,

Sunny

Be That Person

Recently I read this post on Facebook: “Be the person your dog thinks you are.” I smiled because my dog thinks I’m pretty special. I can tell because he follows me wherever I go, spends hours beside me at my desk, and shows immense gratitude when a dog cookie appears.

Waiting patiently

But I have a bit of a spin on that sentiment. My thought is: “Be the person you wish you knew.” I’m talking about the one you could have used in your life to make things just a bit easier.

I lost my mother in my early twenties. Sure, I survived as a motherless young adult; however, I yearned for a wise aunt. Someone I could turn to for some mature sage advice, someone who knew my mother, someone to share the loss, the tears, the triumphs. And someone to watch me walk down the aisle.

Who was that missing person in your life? Maybe one of the cool kids who would have invited you to sit at that coveted lunch table and helped you feel comfortable? Or perhaps a wise mentor to show you the ropes when you got your first job?

What if you had a teacher who encouraged and showed an interest in you? Or a coach who believed in you? Maybe it was a parent who was missing from your life.

As luck would have it, I am fortunate enough to have nieces providing me with the opportunity to perform the role that was missing in my life. Think about it. Who is the person needing you in his or her life?

When you find that individual, make a difference, be a helping hand, and a hand to hold when needed.  Listen with both your head and your heart. Lend a shoulder to cry on, then speak your truth. Never withhold a dose of tough love if that is the required remedy. As Aristotle advised, “Lead from your heart and mind and listen to theirs.” Do these things, and you will be a positive story in someone else’s life. 

This week I invite you to spend some time identifying that person absent from your life.  Know that you are the missing link in the presence of a friend, a child, or at this point, a mere stranger. Pursue and build a relationship. I promise you; it will be fulfilling. Someone out there needs you, your talents, and your superpowers. Be the person you wish you knew.

Dear Friends…Rather than give you another article about Covid-19 and how you can help, I am resurfacing an old blog. Both now, and when our global future brightens, we all need to be “that person.”

Sending you lots of love. Stay safe and stay well.

Sunny

Savoring the Fall Season

Gazing at the calendar tells me we are in the midst of a colorful fall season filled with pumpkin spiced lattes, luscious soups, and cooler weather. Wait! Did you hear me, South Florida? I said cooler weather!

 Living in the tropics is exciting (as many of you know, I’m loving Florida Part II), but I would appreciate more of a seasonal change. Most of us enjoy a change of season, even ever so slight. I believe that our lives too have seasons. In fact, when I first stepped out into entrepreneurship, I titled my coaching business, “Seasons of Change.” 

Letting Go

Whatever season you feel your life is dancing toward, consider, at least for today, living in a fall season and fully appreciating the change it brings. It’s about trees slowly cascading their leaves, shedding layers, and baring branches. Anything you need to shed? (Sign yourself up for 10 pounds I hear a little voice inside my head shout rather loudly. Right, it’s not enough the scale screams at me, now my inner gremlin is leading the charge). But seriously, any chance you clinging to a hurt, a disappointment, a broken relationship? If so, note how Mother Nature brilliantly displays the act of letting go. The season is calling to you to forgive, forget, and move on.

Living Simply

Fall is a mellow time, someone once wrote it is “a season to find contentment at home by paying attention to what we already have.” As a self-described minimalist (granted I’m new to this), I genuinely appreciate the benefits of my much smaller new home.

You see, we moved to a small condo craving the soul-soothing surroundings of blue water more than square footage. Before leaving California last Spring, my husband and I made so many trips to the Goodwill Store, the manager asked us if we wanted a job there. John and I gave away at least 70% of our possessions. Now, although high-rise condo living might not be for everyone,  we delight in a clutter-free space that is easy to clean and maintain. I’m getting so good at this I don’t even have a junk drawer!

Like the fall season, get mellowed-out. You don’t have to go to drastic lengths like we did, maybe just clean out a closet and free yourself of things you never wear and no longer need.

Savor the Season

Lastly, Autumn is also about reaping the benefits of what was sowed during the summer months. It’s a period of gratitude that our hard work paid off. As written in Ecclesiastes 3, there is a “time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted.” So perhaps it’s time to pause and savor the delights of the season.

Are you with me on this? Because I’m heading out for that pumpkin-spice latte and to honor the gods of shedding, I’ll ask the barista to make it non-fat and nix the whipped cream topping.