If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed these days, you’re not alone. Just when we think we’ve adjusted to the “new normal,” another crisis seems to emerge, leaving us stunned and unsure of which steps to take next. With everything going on in the world, it’s tempting to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that none of it is happening. But when we try to hide in this way, we become more vulnerable to the very thing we’re trying to escape.
In the face of big challenges, we might think that our actions won’t make a difference. World events can become so heavy that we feel too broken down to even begin. But every time we feel angry or saddened by the state of the world, it’s not enough to simply disagree with the way things are. Once we arrive at the realization that something isn’t right, we have a responsibility to try to make a difference.
Below is one way you can move from a state of shock to a place of action. Keep in mind that these stages can happen in any order, at any time. We are all so different and what is happening in the world is unprecedented. What matters is that we have compassion for ourselves and keep showing up in our own way.
The stages of moving from shock to action
Something happens in the world and we find ourselves stunned, shocked, and completely frozen.
We can’t believe it’s happening. We might struggle to comprehend that it’s true or even choose to look away and pretend it’s not real.
We begin to digest the information and accept that it is in fact happening. Reality sets in.
As the situation grows more real, it often feels like the world is crashing down all around us. We feel helpless.
Once the waves of overwhelm pass, we begin to get clear on what we can change and what we cannot.
Having identified what’s possible, we begin to strategize what specific actions we can take to make a difference.
At this point, doubts often surface. We might think we can’t succeed or that our actions are too small to matter. We become frozen by our fears.
As we listen to our doubting thoughts, we also hear our inner voice of courage. There is a voice within us that says, “Yes, you can.” We put our doubts aside. We’re ready.
Without knowing what others will think of us,
Without knowing if we will succeed,
Without knowing the result of our actions—we take them.
You might cycle through these stages many times, so understanding their progression can help you regain your forward momentum when you get stuck. If you need help finding the inspiration to get to your next step, try one of the classes in our Dedication collection.