My top tips on dealing with a plot twist!
Whether it’s falling pregnant, being made redundant, your boyfriend cheating on you, being diagnosed with cancer or anything big that you weren’t expecting to happen to you right now, these are what I call plot twists. Very few people go through life without having to deal with a plot twist at some stage or another and some face a few all in one go.
But in life, I believe it’s not what’s thrown at you, but how you deal with it that determines everything. Sometimes plot twists turn out to be the very best thing to happen to you. Sometimes they help people get on a better path or the right path. Often they happen to teach people lessons or bring out the best in them. Sometimes to make you more grateful or take you on a journey you’d quite simply never have gone on without it happening. At the time, you may feel like your world is falling apart, but by focusing on what you can control and letting go of what you can’t, plot twists can be the secret magic formulas of life. Even the really big ones like cancer, I’ve seen women become their true selves because of going through it, women who’s husbands have left them, yet found the real man of their dreams as a result and I know someone who lost their house, businesses and went bankrupt and then found the real them as a result. We shouldn’t fight plot twists, we should embrace them!
In July, I found out I was pregnant and I felt like my whole world has fallen apart. I’m already a single parent to seven year old twins (have been for six years too) and this baby certainly wasn’t planned. I had two options; a) have the baby, b) don’t. Now whilst I have no problem with women choosing option B at all, it’s just not for me. I obviously considered it, but it really went against all my values, morals and ethics and I made the decision to embrace what had happened, much to the dismay of the baby’s father who bailed on us instantly. According to him as I’ve made the decision to go ahead with having the baby, this means it’s all my fault and therefore my responsibility and absolutely nothing to do with him now. Very mature response don’t you think?! (Note to grown adult men: If you’re going to have sex with someone and they accidentally become pregnant, please remember that not all women will want to choose option B and it is still 50% of your responsibility!)
So here I am, 38 and about to embark on being a single parent of three children. And guess what, I’m absolutely cool with this now, thrilled in fact. But here’s how I turned what I thought was the worse thing that could have happened, into the absolute best along with my top tips on dealing with a plot twist.
- Put your plot twist into perspective. The week I found out I was having a baby, was the same week I discovered one of my best friends had been diagnosed with a terminal, cancerous brain tumour and given 6-9 months to live. As he said ‘ I’ll swap your baby for my brain cancer!, it helped me see that whilst having a baby in these circumstances may not be ideal, in comparison things could be a whole lot worse. All summer, I’ve been watching the Syrian refugee crisis and here I am, yes with an unplanned baby scenario, but I’ve got a great career, a roof over my head, my health, great friends and family, I’m safe and I have a wonderful life ahead of me, yes even with a baby on the way.
- Don’t give a hoot about what other people think about your plot twist. It’s safe to say that many people have had and will have their opinions about me. But as I teach my BEST mindset group ‘What other people think of you is none of your business!’, I couldn’t give a hoot what others think, why would I? If people think I’m crazy, are disappointed in me, frustrated this happened etc. that is about them. A good male friend of mine said ‘do you know what Janey, through all this, you’ve not once said ‘what will other people think about this?’. My life has been great being a single parent, my life will continue to be great and if I’ve made peace with it and am happy about it, then that’s all that really matters to me. End of.
- Focus on what you get out of it, not what you lose. When big things happen, you play movies in your mind, often based around fear. I was certainly guilty of this a few months ago. How will I cope, what if the boys hate me for it, or they don’t want a sister, all my business plans need to be changed, what if I miss the boat career wise. And especially once I knew the baby’s father was bailing… How will I afford to upgrade my car to a bigger one, pay for all the things I need, cope with my twins and a baby, manage my workload, take mat leave (bearing in mind I’m a free lancer with no paid maternity break as such), you get the picture. Thoughts like this just breed anxiety and stress, total waste of energy! But I was choosing to be in that frame of mind. Then I flipped it all around, using all my BEST mindset principles and my energy switched. I knew I couldn’t change what had happened, or the fact the baby’s Dad had bailed, but I could change how I responded and dealt with it. All my focus and energy was then on solutions, readjusting plans, trusting myself that I’m going to be fine, altering my business programs and timelines, stepping away from certain work projects, getting a PR person in to help raise awareness of my programs and therefore boost sales. Thinking about childcare options that means I can go back to work part time 6 weeks after she’s born, that I can buy some second hand things rather than brand new things, being careful with money etc. and my boys (who are over the moon about having a little sister by the way!) know we’ll be part of an even more special and magical team. All these kinds of plans and changes are certainly challenging, but also exciting and lovely, certainly not stressful. You can make your life easier and enjoyable despite big stuff going on around you. But this is a choice and only you can do it!
- Quit planning your life so much. The reason many adults are depressed is because they think they have to follow this set life plan where you do things at certain times (classic example is fun in your twenties, settle down and have kids in your thirties, build your career in your forties and fifties, retire in your sixties la la la). When you don’t fit in this module, people think they’ve done something wrong or failed. Or, when a life plot twist happens they think their life is over when their set plans might need to be adjusted slightly. Equally those who follow these kinds of life patterns, often get depressed too, because when they have what they thought was the ‘right’ thing to do and what would make them happy, they realize they don’t and they aren’t! Yes it’s important to have goals in life, I have plenty of them, but they are flexible, adaptable and I’m enjoying the ride of life too (including the plot twists!), which makes me able to deal with sudden changes in circumstances like this. Also people that ‘think you should live life in a certain way’ feel uneasy when other people chose to live their life differently. Everyone has different maps of the world and these are based on values, experiences, your environment and personal choices. Love, fun and happiness are my top three values, so my life is based around these. Values differ hugely from person to person so be aware that others may put their fears and stuff on you when plot twists occur!
- Focus on what you can control, forget the stuff you can’t control. I had a client this year who’s husband lost his job and they thought their world had fallen apart too. But once they put all their focus not on the ‘why did this happen to us?’ and ‘what will we do?’ and they put all their focus on not fighting the old but building the new, great stuff happened. Ten months on, he’s got a better job, their marriage is stronger because as she saw how hard her husband worked getting a new job, she had more respect and love for him and actually their plot twist took them all to a much better place! I can’t force the baby’s father to be and involved and support me. I can’t control people’s disappointment or frustration in all this. I can’t turn back time or wish I’d never agreed to go away for the weekend where all this happened. But what I can do is control how I feel and what I do moving forwards, how I can make this a completely wonderful experience for me and my boys (and my daughter), make my work fit around three children, still be successful, plan fun things to do and have an amazing life. People try to control everything and it backfires in their faces. You only have today, so make today count. I have a client who’s husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer in the spring, she has three children under five. Do you think that was part of their life plan? No of course not. They can’t control the cancer, but they can control how they spend the last 12 months of his life. And whilst it is completely tragic what is happening to them, they are finding joy in each day and trying making every moment count.
- Sometimes things happen for a reason. Do you know the second most magical experience in my life (other than giving birth to my twins) was seeing their reaction when I told them there was a baby growing in my tummy. Bloody hell, I never thought I could love my sons more than I did, but when I saw their faces light up, kiss my tummy and say hello to the baby (and they do this every morning and evening now without fail) and ran outside with no clothes on to shout to my Dad in the garden that they were going to be big brothers and that Mummy has a baby in her tummy! OMG… you can’t buy moments like that. When that happened I realized that this baby (and perhaps especially because of these circumstances), was going to be the most amazing thing to happen to us. Something I didn’t think I wanted, even thought would happen and certainly didn’t plan, has become the best thing ever. And of course to find out it’s a girl, giving me a daughter that I always secretly wanted but never thought I’d have, is the icing on the cake. This is life to me. This is what it’s about. When we die we don’t reflect on our bank accounts or our job titles or what we achieved in the boardroom. Life is about love, certainly to me! And plot twists, however challenging they seem when they first appear, usually take us to a place of real love. As I said earlier, don’t fight them, embrace them!
Look out for a series of baby-related blogs coming soon and here is my bump which has just popped out, no more waist for a while!
If your mindset could do with some tweaking or a complete overhaul, we are now taking bookings for BEST 2016 which starts on February 1st and runs for 40 weeks. It will be the third time we’ve run the program and part of it helps you deal with plot twists!
Tip of the week – “The feelings you have come from thoughts you have and you can change these thoughts at anytime”
Lots of love