By Nancy Rynes, author of Awakenings from the Light
Article copyright Nancy Rynes, 2023
When is the last time you found yourself in the middle of a challenging situation? Last week? Yesterday? Or was it just a few minutes ago?
How did you feel as a result of that challenging situation, and what did you do about it? Did you work through it to find a solution? Did you rant and rave, blow off steam in the gym or on a run, or perhaps cried about and moved on? Did you blame or shame yourself or others? Or did you simply feel so overwhelmed you didn't know how to move forward?
No matter how you felt about the situation, then or now, is OK. Feelings are feelings. Like challenging situations, we all have them while we are here on planet Earth. The most important part, though, is how you think about that challenging situation, and then how you move forward. I do not often talk about this life lesson learned during my Near-Death Experience, but I feel it's worth revisiting it now even though I lay out the message in depth in my book Awakenings from the Light.
I want to tell you a story to illustrate. I still do work with professional clients on specific projects. These are organizations of all kinds that handle things from finance to healthcare and beyond, and for the last few months I have been working with one client in particular. Let's call him Steve*.
From day one on this project I did not have a good feeling about Steve. While in meetings he seemed pleasant enough, knowledgeable, and intelligent, but I began to notice a disturbing pattern of behavior: he often ignored my emails and requests to review documents that he had asked me to create for him. I started reviewing those documents with him line-by-line in meetings instead of relying on him to do so on his own, but even then he seemed distracted and difficult to engage on the task that needed to be done.
I began to wonder why I was on this project in the first place.
A major deadline for the team came and went without Steve reviewing one specific document that was critical for our project. This was even after my reminding him about it at least once a week. Two months passed and he still ignored my requests to review.
Then came yesterday. Steve's boss finally forced him to be accountable and asked why the document was late. Instead of accepting responsibility and admitting he messed up, he instead set up my colleagues and I to take the fall for him. And in a meeting about another topic, Steve verbally laid into us for almost 30 minutes, essentially accusing us of being incompetent and inept in regards to the document he had failed to review.
While we were all stunned, I had the presence of mind to sense what was happening. I did not take this man's rants personally but I realized that my team and I were obviously being targeted because Steve had not done his job for the past three months.
Once again I began to wonder about the reason I had been brought to this project, spiritually-speaking.
I did not feel like I was learning anything for myself in this situation. After all, I had worked for bullies in the past and knew how to handle this one. But I wondered if I was here to help this team (or a specific person on the team) in some more esoteric or spiritual way. You see, I have been around the sun enough times to know that there is usually a purpose and reason for events in our lives. Not everything, but most things. Our souls choose life on Earth for a reason. For most of us, it is to learn something (or many "somethings"), or help someone else in some way. And likewise, each situation we find ourselves in can be an opportunity to learn, to grow, or to help someone else. So what was being learned here, and by whom?
Because I could not immediately figure out anything that I needed to learn by being here, I did not ponder the "why" of the situation for too long. Instead, I thought about what the best outcome would be in this situation -- in other words, what did I really want to happen? I would likely never know the bigger, spiritual reason for me being on this project until I left this planet for good so it was time to focus on taking care of the situation and this team.
I decided the first outcome I wanted was for Steve's superiors to hold him accountable for his behavior. The second outcome I wanted was a little less clear...I definitely did not want to work with him again, but I would be open to considering other scenarios. Which led me to turning over the issue over to the next person up in the chain where many options were considered and a positive way ahead was chosen.
While it is easy for challenging situations to turn into "why me" rants or blame-fests, I would suggest you only allow yourself to wallow in that mindset for a short amount of time because it never leads anywhere positive. Instead, take a mental and emotional step back, then ask yourself:
- Am I learning anything from this situation? If so, what?
- Am I doing something that is necessary for me or someone else?
- Am I helping someone else by being in this situation?
- Am I bringing light or loving-kindness to a situation that desperately needs it?
- Is this someone else's mess and I am here simply to show them other alternatives?
Step back. Think about the final outcome you would like, then take an action to make that outcome a reality. And remember that people are observing. The whole reason you are in the situation may be to show someone else that there are other, more productive ways of handling challenges.
Thank you so much and blessings to all of you,
*Not his real name
Archive: Past Newsletter Issues
TODAY Show: Nancy's Interview on NBC TV's TODAY
Anthony Chene Documentary: Nancy's Interview
Messages of Hope with Suzanne Giesemann: Exploring NDEs with Nancy Rynes
Article: Seven Lessons That Dying Taught Me About Truly Living (Aspire Magazine)
Article: Lives Changed by NDEs (Boulder Daily Camera)
Article: Awakening to Life(Pages 6-10, Journal of Exceptional Experiences and Psychology, Summer 2016)
Article: The Meaning of Life (Excellence Reporter)