We’ve all had them. Dark, dank, depressing cloudy days. And they always seem to come at the worst possible time. You wake up late, you have to skip breakfast, you run into heavy traffic, aaand you’re late for your important meeting. Ugh. Why does it all happen at once?
Let’s face it, no matter how wonderful life is, we all have days that aren’t sunshine and unicorns.
And that’s fine, because if all of our days were filled to the rim with awesome, amazing, and out of this world experiences, we wouldn’t be able to truly appreciate all that we have. So, a cloudy day here and there really isn’t all that bad, and with practice we can learn to welcome those days and embrace what comes.
I know, I know. “That’s easy for you to say, Mr. Shortcut Man, but I have seriously bad days…like really heavy thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
I get it. We all have days or times when the stress is incredibly overwhelming and we just want to throw in the towel. But before we give up, consider some more productive solutions to clearing the skies of our cloudy days, because at the end of that day, those thoughts and feelings are just clouds. They come and they go, but you are steady, because YOU are the sky.
And that means you control how your day goes. So, let’s take a look at the weather and see how we can unlock the shortcut to clearing those cloudy skies.
As we take up our position of the powerful, all-encompassing sky, and not the spasmodic, ephemeral clouds that get in our way, we have to realize just how much power we actually possess. As the sky, we have the ability to create the clouds, blow them away, rain them out, or use them for shade. It’s all within our grasp, we just need to unlock the shortcut on how to generate these blue skies whenever we want them.
This topic has a lot to unpack, so I’m going to break it up into two parts. Today, we’ll explore the first two steps in turning cloudy days into blue skies.
Here are the first two of five ways to execute a blue-sky paradigm.
Step 1. Determine what shape this cloud is. When our mood is a mess, it’s easy to say, “I feel awful” or “I’m just so angry.” But that’s not very helpful. It’s too vague and it doesn’t really point us in a meaningful direction. It’s much more effective to figure out what is really bothering you or what is creating the stress in your life at this moment.
You’re more likely to get
- I’m disappointed because I can’t seem to get out of my own way.
- I’m frustrated because I’m going to be late because of all this traffic.
- I’m pissed because Josh is way behind on his deadline…again.
Now, understand that determining the shape of your cloud (or pinpointing what is truly bothering you and causing your current mood) is not going to make it go away or get any better.
For example, if you’re pissed off because Josh is way behind on his deadline again, you can explore with curiosity and empathy what is preventing Josh from accomplishing your mutually set goals.
- Maybe he isn’t clear on the actual goal.
- Maybe he doesn’t have the right tools.
- Maybe he is overwhelmed and needs to delegate.
- Maybe he is struggling in his personal matters.
- Maybe the goal is unrealistic.
- Maybe you didn’t communicate effectively in the first place.
Here’s the thing. Once you start to identify what, in particular, is causing your stress, you can communicate with Josh to learn even more specifically what opportunity there is to redirect his behavior or yours to achieve the mutually set goal.
Step 2. Move to gain a new perspective. While you may be able to identify the exact shape of the cloud you’re experiencing, oftentimes it can be hard to see a way forward to a more positive and opportunistic perspective.
It’s easy to wallow in your bad mood when you sit in the same place looking at the same clouds. If you want to see things differently, you’ve got to be in a place that allows you to see things differently.
And that means putting yourself in motion. When you move around an object, in this case the cloud, you see it in a whole new way. From your current vantage point, it may look like a bear coming toward you (pretty scary). But take a few steps to the side and you now see it has floppy ears and puffy little tail and you realize it is just a rabbit. (Ok, that’s kinda silly, but you get my point.)
It’s important to understand that we’re not going to be able to get very far if we don’t gain multiple perspectives on our current situation.
And that is not helpful when we need to break out of these obfuscating clouds.
All right, there you have the first two ways to sweep away the clouds to develop a blue-sky paradigm. Next week’s forecast looks like windy conditions with a chance of rain, but mostly sunny, so we’ll need a little time in the shade.
In the meantime, how will you decide to take a pause when you feel negative emotions coming on? How will you determine the shape of the cloud that faces you when it comes? And how will you move so you can gain a new perspective and seek what opportunities wait around the corner?