The muddy, churning river matched the churning of my stomach. I couldn’t tell if it was because of excitement or fear. I love to take the wheel, be in charge, explore, and seek out adventure. Which is why I found myself needing to cross this river while on safari in Kenya, which is where I live.
I knew I could get through the river if it wasn’t deeper than the top of my wheel wells. But just how deep it was was a mystery. And I couldn’t get out to look because of leopard, cheetah & lions in the area.
What to do? What would you have done?
Have you ever been stuck in a situation where options for moving forward seemed severely limited?
When we’re feeling stuck, upset, stressed, or otherwise unhappy our options can close off leaving us feeling trapped. Relate?
Holly Weeks, author of ‘Failure to Communicate’ likens it to a closed fan. While we may feel like a closed fan, with very few options, there’s almost always more choices than we think. All we have to do is figure out how to get the fan open.
Open the fan (or press the accelerator) and more options appear. Imagine the top of the newly opened fan as a continuum of options & choices.
Sounds good you say, but how do you do that?
It starts with realizing where you naturally tend to look & simply shifting your gaze.
Let me explain.
Perhaps you’re inclined to look outward – aka jump in & fiord that river & damn the consequences. I encourage you to look inward when you hit a bump – take a few minutes & pause. Think. Reflect. Slow down. Ask for help. See what resources are around to assist you that you don’t generally think to look for.
Maybe your strength is reflection – you’re great at looking inward & planning. In that case, I encourage you to look outward when you get stuck. Take a risk, take a chance from time to time. Experiment. (Take a deep breath- most times there are no leopards, cheetahs or lions in sight.)
Open the fan
In my case I’d looked inward (planned & reflected) by taking a 4X4 course before the safari (video clip above) & by having my very experienced safari guide friend at my side. It made looking outward (fording the river) waaaaaaaay easier. He did an excellent job coaching me through the water- where to enter, where to exit & how much to accelerate. All of my planning gave me the confidence to get me, my friend, my family & our vehicle through the river.
And boy did I feel terrific when I got to the other side. Confident. Laughing. Having a blast. Yelling words of encouragement to my friend who crossed next. Mission accomplished.
Look in, look out, it’s your choice. Simply open the fan.
It will give you better perspective & more choices which leads to more freedom.
Need some help opening your fan & shifting your perspective? Share your situation below in the comments.