How to Get Through the Storm and Create a Fresh Start

by Alli Polin on June 7, 2016

time for a fresh start

I live in the middle of nowhere. Well, to be more accurate, I live in the middle of a very large continent in the middle of the desert. It rarely rains and even the sight of clouds punctuating the blue sky is a rarity. When I first moved here, we had a stretch of 157 days without rain. Last week it poured, and it was awesome.

One of the things our little town is known for is the dry river bed that runs through it. It’s the home of the Henley on Todd Regatta where racers carry their boats and run through the river. Since its inception in 1962, it has only been canceled once due to rain. It’s a safe bet that the river is dry. Last week the river was flowing.

I love the rain.

It brings new growth.
Washes away the grime.
Creates flow when days before there was nothing.

When I look at my life, and my client’s as well, we could all use some more rain.

In my life, things can get hard. I’m human and a lot of what’s hard I make difficult. Fits of frustration, wanting, feeling stuck. I let it bubble over and take control of my days and nights. I need a good rain to wash it away and crave the peace that’s left once the storm has passed.

I’ve been a coach for over a decade and know that I’m not alone. The desire to live a bigger, happier, more fulfilling life is palpable for so many people, yet our daily lives are stuck on a loop. We’re living a GIF. Yuck.

When we’re the most lost, it feels impossible to back up. We are not a truck with a GPS pointing the path forward. There’s no reverse. Sometimes, what we most need is a fresh start. We all need rain.

What’s beautiful when it rains is that not everything gets washed away. When I talk about a fresh start, that doesn’t mean endings necessarily. Think of it as a reboot. Rain leaves the trees, the mountains, the sidewalks… It’s the junk that’s gone.

You may be thinking how much you hate it when it rains. I hear you. Days of rain can get dreary, and a drive in a downpour can suck, but all the while you know it’s going to end. Just like what’s hard, what’s holding you back and keeping you stuck will also end. It will. I swear. But… you’ve got to get through it first.

Invite the Rain.

Let go of the crap.

All the things you’re holding onto – let them wash away.
All the dreams you have that you tell yourself you’re not ready to do – let it rain.
All the times you’ve felt like you’ve lost yourself on the quest for success – bring on the downpour.
All the worry that’s your companion – welcome the storm to set you free.
All the doubt, fear and negativity – rain.
All the wishing and not doing – rain.
All the stuck and anger – go away.

Let it rain. Let it free you to start fresh, believe again and create from a new place.

fresh start after the storm

All good but how the heck do you do it?? How do you create a fresh start when you’re in the worst of the storm and it feels like the rain is never going to end?

How to Be a Rainmaker and Create a Fresh Start in Your Life and Leadership:

1) Breathe

When you’re under stress and have high anxiety, your breathing is shallow, and your brain doesn’t get as much oxygen. Your heart is pumping, and your body is preparing for danger ahead. Guess what happens when your brain gets less oxygen and your heart is beating faster? You can’t focus as well or think as clearly. You’re ready to respond to the threat ahead.

Now breathe. Deeply.

Each deep breath stimulates your Vagus nerve and slows your heart rate. Use your breath to center you in the present moment.

2) Feed Your Soul

If you love classical music, pump it up! Reading? Open a book. Cooking? Running? Sketching? Guitar Playing? Dancing? Whatever it is that lights you up, make the time for it.

My clients who are the most stressed and have lost their sense of joy and quite frankly, sense of self. They have let the things that they love slip from their life. Time (or lack thereof ) created micro-moments of choice that went unnoticed until the things they loved were gone and only a memory.

When you do something you love, your whole being changes. Consider it a small rain shower in your life and personal leadership.

3) Say NO

You can’t have it all at the same time. It’s impossible. When you say NO to something, make sure you’re saying YES to something else – yes to you.

It’s an easy exercise:
Find three things that you’re doing and want to stop.

Working late every night after the kids go to bed.
Eating at my desk daily without much thought
Business travel that takes me away for weeks at a time.

If you say NO to all of these things, what are you really saying YES to?
NO to Working late daily = YES to time to relax with my partner and a stronger relationship.
NO to Eating at my desk = YES to a mental break and healthy choices.
NO to extensive travel = YES to my family, my community.

4) Rediscover YOU

When I started Break the Frame I pictured the faces of my colleagues and friends who had given so much of themselves on their road to professional success. In fact, some of them had become unrecognizable even to themselves. They wondered, “how did I get here and was it worth it?”

Hire a coach, go out with your friends, schedule a date night. Invest in your relationships and in living your life more intentionally.

Get your river flowing once again. Nobody can thrive in the desert without water. Let it rain – you can create the rain.

BREAK THE FRAME ACTION:

If you want to take this one step further. Here’s the Rainmaker exercise.

Grab a pen and a piece of paper (or open up Evernote or Word if you’re like me and hard pressed to find a pen)

60 Seconds…

List all the words that you associate with the rain.

Another 60 Seconds…

List all the words that you associate with what happens after the rain ends.

If you’re playing along, stop reading here. When you’re ready, words in hand, continue.

Here are some common words that come up during step one of this exercise:

puddles

storm

low visibility

splash

stream

drip

rhythm

mist

loud

dancing

danger

clouds

dark

fear

safe inside

dreary

Scan your list and close your eyes. Imagine you’re in a storm. The rain is pouring down. You hear the non-stop beating of the drops on the pavement, cars, rooftops. You’re inside and experiencing the storm from a safe place. Spend a minute or two sinking into how you feel and what’s happening.

After the rain:

fresh

calm

bird song

sweet smelling

bright

sunshine

renewed

beginning

energy

green

glistening

growth

new

possibility

clean

alive

Get ready to do it again. Scan the list and close your eyes. Notice that the rain has stopped. Maybe you look out the window or even open it. Maybe you get up and walk out the door. What do you see, feel, smell? How do you feel? Breathe it in.

60 More Seconds…

From this place after the storm…

What’s the one thing that you most want to do? What’s possible from here?

Write it down.

Go do it.

If you’re ready for some rain, I invite you to listen to one of my favorite songs of all time by Sara Bareilles: Let it Rain.

 

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Karin Hurt June 7, 2016 at 7:52 am

This is so beautiful, Alli. Poignant. Important… and with a soundtrack 😉 Just what I needed this morning… although we have a bright summer day here. We should catch up some time soon.

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Alli Polin June 7, 2016 at 8:21 am

Thanks, Karin. The rain was just what I needed. Happy to spread some your way even on the sunshiniest of days.

~All

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Cynthia Bazin June 7, 2016 at 9:07 am

Wow Alli…. Excellent post. As you know, you are one of my favorite people and your writing is always on point. I appreciate you! -Cynthia

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Alli Polin June 8, 2016 at 6:22 am

Thanks, Cindy! Means a lot.

~ Alli

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Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™ June 7, 2016 at 9:23 am

In your true fashion Alli, you have inspired anyone who has been through tough times and those who are facing them now.

You paint a picture that all can use before, during, and after to meditate, reflect, and lean on for true uplift.

This is a wonderful post!!
Kate

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Alli Polin June 8, 2016 at 6:40 am

Many thanks, Kate. We’ve all gone through hard times and I hope that people know that there are steps that they can take to help bring on the sun.

Grateful!

Best,

Alli

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Terri Klass June 7, 2016 at 11:11 am

What a touching and thought-provoking post, Alli! I can just imagine your excitement with the rain and I love the metaphor of how we can reboot after a rain storm!

Periodically I try to re-evaluate what things in my professional and personal life are getting to be overwhelming. The hardest part for me is to admit the truth about what I need to dump in order to march forward. I ask myself: How is this activity or client situation connecting with my goals and dreams? Am I feeling too compromised?

As always, I now need to rethink some stuff after reading your post. I will definitely share today!

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Alli Polin June 8, 2016 at 6:47 am

You touch on a really important point – it’s hard to admit the truth to ourselves. It can be painful to close the door on the things that we wish were working but are not. However, finding the courage to do it, creates the room for our next chapter to begin.

Thanks for sharing your insights, Terri!

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Jon Mertz June 8, 2016 at 7:36 am

Alli,

Make it rain and then grow! Always a fresh smell and outlook after a refreshing rain!

Jon

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Alli Polin June 8, 2016 at 8:27 pm

Right on, Jon!! Totally with you.

~ Alli

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Terri Deuel June 14, 2016 at 8:40 am

Alli,

I’ve read this post several times and listened to the song periodically over the past week. Well said. Beautifully written. I love the rain and now have meaning behind why that is so. Thanks my friend.

Terri

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Ingrid June 16, 2016 at 3:21 am

Thank you for this post Alli… I have just come through a few very challenging months of being submerged in unavoidable family issues. Just another type of rain when you think about it. I seem to be through the worst of it now and I’m working to find the sunshine again. A trip to the Dark MOFO feast with friends tomorrow night should about do it! Loved the song too… might have to download it for our collection. Thanks again.

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