Weather the Storm, see the Rainbow

You are so much stronger if you know how to weather the storms of life and navigate your ship through it. It’s a cliché, but on the other side a rainbow (or two) might be waiting for you.  And you can learn the skill, even when you feel you have been shipwrecked too many times.

As the saying goes: life is not plain sailing. Someone once said: “you are either in a storm, just through one, or about to go into one”. Health and financial issues, relationship pain, failure, price hikes, climatic challenges, floods and droughts, political unrest, corruption, accidents, and unfairness. That’s life (but only some of the time – the rest can be fun). So, let’s build muscle and grit!

How do we do that? I am sure you already have a skillset to deal with life. Some of those tactics probably work well, others not. Take a moment to reflect on it and decide what to put into your toolbox for future use. Here are a few fireproof tools that you might want to add if they are not in your toolbox yet:

  • First, strengthen your “ship”

You are the ship that will go through the storm. Take preventative care of yourself, in a loving way. Build yourself to be strong – spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. By doing that, you will not only prevent a few storms, but you will cope when they come.

  • Secondly, choose to face reality – with honesty and hope

We may choose to ignore reality, make excuses for not handling it, or blame others for it. But that does not change reality. It is what it is. As Jim Collins teaches us in his book Good to Great, it is important to “Confront the brutal facts, yet never lose faith”. By doing this you will empower yourself and be ready to set your internal powers free to address the storms with knowledge, courage and creativity.

  • Then, check your lenses (perceptions)

“Two men looked through prison bars; the one saw mud, the other one stars.” Chances are that you might not have the full picture, missing out on so many things that are right, so many opportunities and possibilities waiting for you to be seen and used. Choose to put on your most helpful and positive lenses!

  • Have a Towards approach

We either try to get away from problems, or we move towards solutions. It’s again the Pain versus Gain dynamics. Reactivity versus Proactivity. To be proactive requires a conscious decision to STOP and consider the options to sail towards your desired destiny. And then to CHOOSE the best navigation strategy to do that intentionally.

When I was lying in ICU in April 2021, being so weak that I could not feed myself, I decided to visualise (and even feel it in my body) how I will get on my mountain bike again – that resembled health to me, my desired outcome. Within six weeks I was doing exactly that, peddling my bike on a beautiful grape farm. Decide to see your “better tomorrow” on the other side of the storm, and start living towards that.

  • Your Relationships

You cannot do life alone. Life is not meant to be a solo flight, but rather a journey with others. As the Ubuntu saying goes “I am because you are”. Helping others and allowing others to help you, is not only a recipe for resilience but also for happiness.

In the 1930’s a group of researchers started a study on human happiness. The study that lasted over 75 years. Their findings were quite interesting. Most young people assume that success, fame, fortune, money and hard work will bring them happiness. But the study found it is actually our social connections that are most important for our wellbeing.

Friends, may we weather the storms, get stronger because of them, and be courageous to keep sailing while in them. You can do this. Keep going! See you on the other side… where the rainbow awaits you.