Last week, I told you about my 'Leaf on a River' journey. After the 18 months in which I lost my marriage, business and health and ended up with $88,000 of corporate debt, I went where that leaf took me...like 'Whack A Pee Pee Pinata LLC.' Each unexpected turn taught me so much.
In the days after my meltdown, my life had become such a dusty grey of the trudge of simple survival. During those times, I didn't have enough money to even rent a car. My gracious ex-Mother-In-Law loaned me a Honda with a shredding roof. I would park it around the corner from appointments since here in LA, "you are what you drive." Which leads me the point of this week's post - reinventing yourself in trying times.
Reinvention Tip #1
Friends and family are such a great blessing.
If you have some tucked away in a closet somewhere - go dig them out. Treasure them. They may just help you to do more than survive in stormy weather.
A Flower Changed My Life
I know it sounds crazy. You may scoff at my simple remedy. That tiny step helped stop my descent.
My dear friend of many years, John Morton, had seen my grey outlook. (Any one of his wonderful posts can help you through a down day.) He reminded me that "God is the kinda guy you can trust." And that I might consider that even if I had lost a marriage, I could treat myself with kindness. His insight sparked the novel concept that I could take a small step to take better care of myself.
Buying a single flower seemed so extravagant. As I walked into that flower store I felt like I was walking into an exotic distant land. My first tenuous steps into that little flower store on Barrington Avenue felt like I was walking into the the Amazon.
I did something different (that's a hint). I slowed down (that's a hint) and did something just for me (that's a big hint). I bought myself a yellow freesia on the way to my crappy job working for a crabby doctor.
Looking at that tiny, happy flower sitting in a styrofoam cup on my desk made me smile right down to my L'eggs knee-highs all day. As I look back on it now, that action of buying a single flower was the moment my life began to turnaround. I'll never forget. That night I put on music and danced to candlelight instead of eating ice cream. Within a few months my body let go of 17 pounds of "unhappy-marriage-fat" without dieting. I started looking...good.
Reinvention Tip #2
Do something nice for yourself or some one else.
If you won't who will? Need I say more? Look at how a simple flower in a styrofoam cup made me feel.
Reinvention Tip #3
Only you have the power to turn around your day.
Anything kind or new.
Taking even the tiniest step to empower yourself is a powerful success strategy. Even if it looks silly to someone else.
In 'N Out
Seemingly miniscule changes gave me enough momentum to start making other positive changes. I enrolled in the University of Santa Monica Master's Degree program in Spiritual Psychology--even though I had no idea how I would pay for it. Participating in that program changed my life. I learned about making self honoring choices, forgiving my past and designing my future. I started looking at my challenges as opportunities to grow. That learning orientation towards life helped me to be more gentle with myself. That inner gentleness was a key ingredient in my flourishing. Seeing myself as a spiritual being having a human experience instead of a big fat loser gave me the courage to look at the areas of shame. As soon I was able to forgive embrace my humanity, my outer circumstances shifted. Being from Kansas it was as though my life went from black and white to the dazzling Technicolor of OZ.
Reinvention Tip #4
Inner shifts flip the switch on the outer world.
Don't let the small stuff make you sweat. The more you honor your inner goodness the more the outer world embraces your choice. An inner rosy attitude helps the outer world blossom.
We're Not In Kansas Any More
Soon, I was driving a Mercedes instead of a borrowed, banged-up Honda. Using the tools I was learning at USM, I paid off most of the debt and moved from someone else's pool house to a beautiful home with my own guest house. Wow! I was following the Yellow Brick Road! In less than two years, I was coaching business owners, Emmy- and Grammy-award-winning producers, and a member of the founding team of FedEx. Folks got great value. Then I had the crazy notion that I could write a book. (I'd never had a writing class.) That book won awards and got national attention...which is probably why I get to be in front of your eyeballs right now.
I am telling you this because I couldn't have dreamed this existence ten years ago. My hope is that my story helps you. That is the whole reason I took on the crazy business of writing a book- and blogging. To be honest I dread writing this blog. I sweat bullets with every post...wondering if it will be good enough. (Hmmm, perhaps I should follow my own tip #4?)
I am going to prison. For the next two weeks I will be taking a vacation from blogging. I'll be working with inmates and look forward to tell you what I learn from being in the largest women's prison in the nation when I return.
As I write this I am in the midst of a whole new reinvention myself. So, I hope that you will share what you are doing to reinvent yourself.
Are you ready to get out of the way and let your dreams have a say? Email Eli about how you reinvented yourself recently at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.elidavidson.com today.
Eli Davidson is a nationally recognized executive coach and motivational speaker. Her book, "Funky to Fabulous: Surefire Success Stories for the Savvy, Sassy and Swamped", (Oak Grove Publishing) has won three national book awards. Eli is a reinvention catalyst, who can transform your professional and personal life from Funky to Fabulous with her ten, trademarked Turnaround Techniques that create rapid and remarkable results.