I woke to an unusually warm and sunny autumn day in Melbourne, Australia. I was enthusiastically building my new Yoga and Mindfulness business when in one fell swoop, it seemed like life had changed forever.
Welcome to COVID19! The most significant disruption I had seen in my lifetime was beginning to unfold across the world. There was no way that we could possibly have realised the toll it was about to take on us all.
In Australia, where I live, it seemed to be at first a problem somewhere else. You know in other countries. When you read the news about what’s going on around the world, it often seems to be so far away from your very own reality. I live in what Australian’s like to call the lucky country. I am grateful that we emigrated here when I was a child, with my parents and my two older siblings. Like many immigrants, my parents did it hard at first in a new country on their own with three young children and no family to support them. It was a big thing. However, I think it taught me resilience from a very young age.
My early disruptive start in life in Australia may be the initial reason why I have always been one to embrace change. So the disruption of COVID19 simply took me down another path with different lessons to learn. I am a lifelong learner and love a challenge. At the time that COVID19 became a reality in Australia, life for me was already full of challenges. Some of which I had openly chosen and some I had inherited. I had left a well-paid job to start my own business. The timing felt perfect in my life. I wanted a new challenge, and I had a purpose in my heart to take life up a notch.
My new challenge was to take the vast experience I had gained over the last 25 years working and weave it into a new world I was creating as a Yoga & Mindfulness Coach. I had been through a significant personal transformation in my life, and I wanted to help others see the vast potential that existed in their life. I had always loved yoga and meditation for many years, so I decided to study it part-time whilst I continued to work.
As a typical strategic thinker, I had a plan to keep working whilst I gradually built up my business. I set up my business to commence from the beginning of the new financial year in 2019. By August, I knew the only way to make my vision a reality was to leave the comfort of my well-paid job and step out into the world all in. So I decided to leave my job and take the most significant financial gamble I had ever taken in my life. At the time, I felt in my heart, it was exactly what I needed to do.
I decided to spend the next twelve months writing and researching my first book. Up until February 2020, all things were going exactly to plan. Well, so I thought. What I didn’t expect is what came next. It is doubtful that any of us were prepared at all for what came next.
Whilst everyone in Australia went into lockdown and home isolation. Without what seemed like any preparation at all. An entire nation, the place I called home, Australia, was thrown onto a disruptive path that none of us were ready for at all. I personally was forced to close my business, of which I had only just begun. This, for me, was only the first of many unknown steps I was going to have to take in the battle to stay in the arena. It was a position I had chosen to take in what now seemed a lifetime ago, way back in August 2019. By this time, my mother had already been battling several health problems. However, as I was now working for myself, I was able to work from home, making it much easier to care for my mother as she lived with me. I was able to strike a balance between quality time with my beautiful mum and work on growing my new business.
It was, however, time to pivot now and pivot fast. Thankfully I had already set up my business online for bookings and payments, so it was reasonably easy to transition to a completely online platform. Then my business flatlined, and a scarcity mindset seemed to have kicked in, and people stopped spending money on personal growth. I literally lost all my clients overnight, and the community around me was in a state of what I can only describe as complete shock.
Step forward to Mothers Day, May 10th 2020, and I was to lose my beautiful mother and then my beloved dog both within one week. Don’t get me wrong. It is not that I didn’t think these endings were coming. Of course, I did, but the timing could have been better wouldn’t you say? The phone call to my sister on Mother’s day was pretty much the lowest point. Who wants to have to call their sibling on mothers day to tell them their mother died? No one, I am guessing, yet I was living this reality right amid a pandemic. The months of April and May were almost a complete blur. I pretty much spent my days going to and from hospitals right in the think of the pandemic. It was not a place anyone would want to be at all alone and amid a pandemic. So whilst people all around me were complaining that they couldn’t go out to celebrate Mother’s Day with their mum, my mother died on Mother’s Day. It kind of really puts life into perspective, don’t you think?
So you might be thinking now, what else could possibly go wrong? I was single and alone in the middle of a pandemic. I was now in a big empty house that one moment was busy, and in what felt like the next moment, it was completely empty. Many people would fall apart, right?
However, something unusual and quite remarkable happened. I did not fall apart at all, and at this point, no one was more surprised than me. I had seen my friends lose loved ones in the past and often remarked that I couldn’t imagine how I could cope if I lost my mother. In fact, in a strange and yet bizarre twist, I actually grew exponentially. I am sharing my story to explain that it is not only possible to survive great tragedy in the face of adversity, but it is the catalyst itself that will send you forward at high speed, just as it did me.
A year later, after my mother’s death, a dear friend said the most beautiful thing when I told her where I was at in life. She said, “this year of triumph and success is the gift your mother left you when she passed”. Perspective can bring such beauty and magic into your life, don’t you think?
Even though we often don’t like to admit it, change is really the only thing we know for sure. Everything is constantly in a state of flux. A disruption like COVID19 is merely a change we did not have a plan for. However, it certainly isn’t the only one that is coming into our lives. One of the very few certainties in life is to know that there will be many changes ahead of us all, many of which we simply cannot be prepared for.
However, we can expand our mindset to respond rather than react to unplanned changes as they arrive in our lives. When we do this, amazing things happen, just like what happened to me. I live life with an infinite mindset. I am always ready for change, whether it be planned or suddenly appears out of nowhere. The ability to do this is a mindset that can be learned and adopted by absolutely anyone.
The question you need to ask yourself is, “Are you willing to do the work to redesign your mindset?” Thus enabling you to respond to change rather than react.
Potentially this is where the beautiful inward journey begins. If you want to learn the easy way, go inward. However, if you would like to continue to learn life’s lessons the hard way, keep looking outward for a solution.
All the answers exist within you. However, first, you must face Little Red Riding Hood dressed as the Wolf! A wolf you say! Yes, a wolf. In COVID19 little red riding hood was dressed as the wolf. She is opportunity dressed up as disruption.
What do you see when you see the wolf standing at your door? What is your natural instinct to do? Is it based on bias, or is it based on the reality of what lays before you?
Right now, at this very moment, you have an opportunity to stop and consider the path forward, or alternatively, you can do one of two things. You could put your head in the sand and hope it all goes away and life gets back to normal, or you can even just continue like nothing is happening and watch it all unravel before your very eyes. Alternatively, you could do what I did and change your mindset. Then you will, as I did, see the wolf as an opportunity instead of a threat and pivot.
The choice is yours to make. You can learn to step into life with courage and try a new way. Your future can look however you want it to. What you do today determines where you will be tomorrow. Are you today where you wanted to be? If not it’s time to get moving.
I have pivoted many times since I experienced the loss of my studio and the deaths of both my beautiful mother and my constant companion, my beloved dog Scooter. These pivots have taught me much about life. I have welcomed the opportunities to grow through such immense disruption in my life.
Today I am a writer and project management consultant. I reentered the corporate world my way with a newfound mindset. I am a very different person today. I have been catapulted forward with a whole new set of skills developed from the lessons I learned, supporting the work I do now from a brand new perspective. Today life is full of magic in ways I never imagined possible.
Who would have thought that the most significant disruption of my life would have projected me forward to exactly where I needed to be?
The same is available for you when you tap into your infinite potential and discover the beautiful art of mindful disruption.
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