By Joy Chudacoff
Recently, I traveled to the East coast to see my Dad who’s experiencing some health challenges. I spent a considerable amount of time in medical facilities and meetings with physicians. One morning when I was feeling tired and in need of some self-care, I decided to visit the local salon for a wash and blow dry. When I arrived, there was no wait and I was immediately taken back to the area where they wash your hair. As I took my seat in the chair, I asked my signature question. It’s the same question I ask everyone I come in contact with when I’m out and about:“How is everything going?” This one question typically has three answers:
“Great! I’m so excited about……”
“Terrible. It’s just been one lousy incident after another. Why just yesterday…”
On this particular day, it was the last answer that I received with a monologue that continued for most of my visit. Fortunately for me, I ask the question because I truly want to know the answer. I want to hear the uncut, unedited perception of people’s lives. In my work with women, it’s essential that I speak with many so I can stay on the pulse of what they’re feeling and how it’s affecting their day-to-day lives.
“The way things are” or your perception of life is completely in your control. Stop and consider that for a moment. Does it make you sad or happy when you read this? I will admit that at different times in my life, I have felt both emotions. When things are going well for me, I’m on top of the world, euphoric and excited about all of the possibilities. When I’m having a challenge and it seems nothing works out the way I planned, it’s easy to look for someone else to take the blame for the negative situation I’m in.
Years ago, I had a mentor who shared with me that I was “lucky.” Lucky? At the time, my business was struggling and from my viewpoint on the “way things are” the future did not look bright. I had been working “8 to faint” to build my business and “lucky” was the last word to describe my situation. My mentor shared “the definition of luck is Laboring Under Correct Knowledge.“ He also shared with me that my perception about my business would become my reality. Very wise indeed. And of course, he was correct.
In most cases, when I get the answer “terrible” I find those people to feel like their lives are spinning out of control with no clear direction or purpose. Everything that happens to them is perceived to be the direct result of someone else—no accountability for how their life is unfolding. At the other end of the spectrum, people who are responding with a “Great” understand that they are in complete control of their lives and if they are to succeed and thrive, it’s up to them.
Here are 3 solutions on how you can ensure that your perception of “the way things are” serve you in a positive way moving forward:
- Uplevel your Relationships – Take an inventory of your relationships. Who are the people you spend most of your time with? Create a “wish list” of attributes you want people to have. For example, I make a conscious effort to spend my time with positive, motivated and inspired people. This can make a tremendous difference in your perception of the world.
- Uplevel your Reading – People magazine is entertaining and when I’m at the salon, I read it too! However, I spend the majority of my reading time with inspirational material and thought-provoking information that will help me grow professionally, personally and spiritually.
- Uplevel your Reality – I invite you to take some time and do an inventory of your belief system. Do you believe that happiness exists? Can you find the good in others? Do you look for the silver lining in your life?
That day in the salon (when I was finally able to share my view) I invited this particular woman to reframe how she considers several of the challenges she was having in her life. I asked her if there was something she could do to improve her situation. She gave that some thought and agreed that yes, there were a few action steps that she hadn’t tried. Your perception or belief about “the way things are” is critical to how your future will play out. It can be both scary and empowering at the same time to know that you’re in control of how your life unfolds. Will there be challenges along the way? You bet. Life is full of both challenges and celebrations. I find that a positive perception about “the way things are” tend to increase life’s celebrations and lessen the challenges. Smart Women know their perception on “the way things are” can mean the difference between survival and success.
Anything is possible. Everything is waiting for you.