October 8, 2017

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

When I wrote the last blog on September 24 (See Let Go of Guilt Blog #282), little did I know what was coming.

I had been talking to a number of my coaching clients who felt paralyzed in their business pursuits by the seemingly-endless stream of hurricanes, fires and earthquakes that have occurred over the past several months. I wrote then about their feelings of “Striver’s Guilt,” which is much like the Survivor’s Guilt that paralyzes some people who have survived a horrific event where others perished.

Some of my clients felt so depressed over watching the 24/7 news stories about thousands of strangers who had suffered unimaginable losses of homes and even loved ones, they couldn’t muster the positive energy for daily outreach to grow their network marketing businesses. A few who know individuals directly affected by these natural disasters even felt it was disrespectful of their friends’ losses to pursue their own personal success.

Then this past weekend, the news focused on all the gruesome details of something even more horrific – the mass murder and wounding of hundreds of innocent people whose only crime was to enjoy themselves at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas that was within range of a madman with an automatic weapon perched on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.

Several of my clients also had some harrowing personal experiences with this awful event:  One was extremely grateful because she was supposed to go to that concert, but her babysitter cancelled at the last minute. Another said her BFF was at the concert and was in terrible emotional shape because, although unharmed herself, she had witnessed someone being shot a few feet from her. Still another told me her young relative’s best friend was one of the people who were murdered.

Incredibly, most of my coaching clients, who are all independent consultants with the same network marketing company, were preparing to depart for their company’s annual convention in Las Vegas this week.  Wow.  How do you process something that awful happening so close by when you are supposed to be celebrating your business success?

It is well above my “pay grade” to make sense of such a tragedy.  For me personally, life’s number one question that I hope God will be kind enough to answer when I make my transition is “Why do bad things happen to good people?” How we each continue to live our daily lives with faith, hope and optimism after such events is up to each of us to figure out, according to our own personal beliefs.

I am sure of one thing, however: Our succumbing to paralyzing Survivor’s Guilt or Striver’s Guilt and despair will NOT help those affected by tragedies and disasters in any way. As the wise old saying goes, you can “light a candle or curse the darkness.” The choice is yours.

If you choose to light a candle, you will honor the memory of those who didn’t survive accidents, illness, natural disaster or unfathomably evil human deeds by providing a beacon of hope and comfort to those who most need your support, even as you help yourself.

What we must focus on in all of these disasters and tragedies are the numerous acts of selfless kindness, generosity and heroism performed by strangers in service to their fellow human beings.  First Responders and ordinary citizens alike put their own lives in danger to save others, while medical professionals acted with calm heads and skilled hands to save many lives that otherwise would have been lost.

If you want to strengthen the much greater force of Good in the world, instead of just cursing the darkness of human evil and natural disasters, ask yourself: What can I do today, with the resources I have, to light my own candle?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Donate as much financial help as you can to relief providers. Human and animal relief organizations like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Humane Society, SPCA International and many others have the know-how and resources to get the right kinds of aid to victims as quickly as possible. They just need the funds.
  • If you can, donate blood. Even if it stays in your community, your blood will help someone you don’t know who is in trouble right where you are. Sign up to be an organ donor when you renew your driver’s license, too!
  • If you can spare a few hours, volunteer in your community. Food banks, literacy programs, Meals on Wheels, addiction and at-risk youth programs and animal welfare organizations, to name a few, all rely on hometown heroes to help them do their good work.
  • Lend an ear or a hand to someone who needs it. People all around you are suffering quietly in big and small ways right now. Visit an elderly, single or ill neighbor with tea and cookies. Just be good company for them or offer to help with chores and errands once in awhile.
  • If you don’t like how things are going in local, state or national politics, don’t just complain — DO something about it! At the very least, VOTE.  Attend town hall meetings or write your representatives. And if you can, donate or volunteer to help candidates you believe in get elected.  If, like the majority of Americans, you think our gun safety laws need some common-sense improvement, political change is the most effective way to make tragedies like Newtown, San Bernardino and Las Vegas become far less frequent.

And for goodness sakes, put your own oxygen mask on first!  You can’t help anyone else if you are glued to your television, laptop or smart phone, watching the news and feeling paralyzed and hopeless. My BFF Lisa says she is “on a news fast,” listening to audio books instead of watching troubling news reports and social media, and she feels much lighter for it.

It is critical that you get up each morning and put on your mental armor by spending just 15 to 30 minutes on your own personal and spiritual development in order to direct your mindset and your energy in a positive, can-do direction.  Then go out and get after your own Big Dreams, just as you support many others in pursuing theirs.

Creating your OWN financial and personal success will make your candle burn even brighter for those who are searching the darkness for a ray of light to help them find their own Path.

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****************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.