Have you ever had the experience of watching something unfold before your eyes and have no control over its outcome?
You know it greatly impacts you and yet you cannot control certain elements, meaning you can feel a combination of helplessness, panic, loss and disappointment. The list goes on, and one common theme with these words is the negativity of them.
I had this experience recently, having found myself caught up in travel related aviation strikes. This meant I was able to complete the bulk of my journey from Dubai, ultimately returning to France, which had halted to a standstill due to Air Traffic Control strikes. The biggest challenge for me personally was to accept certain aspects of the outcome of this, and accept being herded from one desk to another, rearranging plans, organising overnight stays and alternative flights.
I kept meeting the same people in the different queues and while there was an element of solidarity, basically everyone was very focused on their own circumstances. It concerned me, because we were also herded into buses and planes that never left their parking spots. People became agitated and it was clear to me that if an emergency occurred, there would be chaos, and surely the older and younger passengers would fair the worst. I remember being grateful for my health and decent enough brain to be able to help myself and others out of an extreme situation.
So back to a not so extreme situation – my time. MY Time. The time that was mine, that I could control, was taken away from me. I was stuck in the middle of Europe, neither with my family I was returning from holiday, nor with my husband, to whom I was returning. I became angry that circumstances were controlling me.
Then, I let go. I simply let go. I stopped dead in the middle of the herd with my backpack, upsetting the natural flow of traffic. I had been moving freely and suddenly I was now blocking the flow of people, upsetting the hum of the airport, like that person who stops walking after getting on the moving walkway and blocks your path (know the feeling?)
I moved aside, out of the smooth run of the herd. I decided to simply accept my situation even though I had little or no information, after being strung along with empty promises for hours on end. I decided to let go of the resentment and frustration and feeling let down.
Once I had let go, I became more aware of my options. My head cleared and I could further reflect on what I COULD control and be proactive with my actions, rather than reactive. I also realised that acceptance happens through a number of stages.
Stages of Acceptance
- Shock & disbelief
- Blame & playing the victim role
- Awareness & control
- Resignation of what you cannot control
- Assertive acceptance
- Proactive change
Negative impact of resisting change
- Chaos – conflict between the movement of the herd, and your desire to be in control
- Tunnel vision – making it difficult to recognise other possible opportunities
- Confusion – knowing subconsciously that the situation needs to be addressed, but reduced clarity creates confusion
- Anger – causing feelings of resentment and blame towards the very people who are trying to help you
- Regret – festering as time goes on with the “If only” and “I should have” self punishment
Time Management through change
Once I had accepted my situation, I was able to better utilise my time (and extra time). I thought about what was important for me in this situation. Change is also a process, providing a double impact – how to manage your emotions while managing your time AND the different stages of acceptance (I think that’s more of a triple whammy). To follow are a few tips I can share from this experience (and many others).
How to manage your time when dealing with change
- Recognise the different steps/stages of change
- Reorganise your priorities
- Watch out for the dead space time
- Be aware of stress points (especially if you are with other people)
- Know your limits of tolerance
- Know that you don’t have to be first in the queue
- Use the pockets of time you CAN control productively
- Make up for self care – work on your anger levels and emotions
- Use the space and environment that’s available
- Proactively seek out resources to your advantage
Look around and see where you can be of assistance to others who are not as fortunate as you. Rather spend your time productively than dwelling on negative feelings, thoughts and their consequent actions.
A note on consequence:
- Your thoughts become your words
- Your words become your behaviour
- Your behaviour becomes your habits
- Your habits become your values
- Your value system becomes your destiny
- Your destiny is your reality
Only you get to decide the outcome, not others. Your thoughts become your reality, so mind them well!