Ep. 30 Self-Reinvention After Illness or Tragedy

Due to illness, an accident, or some other unexpected event, if you find yourself needing to change a lot about your life, you’ll want to up-level your resilience by listening to the secret of self-reinvention in this short episode.

Transcript: Welcome to The Autoimmune Hope Coach podcast with Sarah Brown. This is Episode 32. To perpetuate life, salmon swim upstream against the current. Because of that, for me, they symbolize adaptability, strength in adversity, and living purposefully. So let’s dive into some upstream thinking.

Now listen, have I got an upstream thought for you today! Oh, my goodness, when I was talking with Kate, a couple of episodes ago, it was Episode 28, if you need to refresh, she was talking about a theme in her life about self reinvention. And we discussed it for a little bit. And I just– it’s one of the most powerful resilience tools that I can offer those with chronic illness, or anybody who has something happened to them where life is different after the thing.

So here’s the situation: we’re living our lives doing the things we want to do. And then something happens. And w– our immediate thought is, how can I get life back to the way it was? We want to go back to status quo. And sometimes there are consequences of the thing that happened, you know, injuries or job loss or change in income or anything. And so getting back to status quo is not available. And so then we feel this perpetual state of anxiety and stress because we can’t get back to the way we were.

So self reinvention is something that you can do in these kinds of circumstances. And I want to just use a brief story of– this is made up by the way, but it’s just a principle so that you can apply it to your own story.

So let’s say that once upon a time, there was an artist. The artist loved creating art, beautiful paintings, doing the art, just preparing, getting inspiration, and then actually completing the painting. It just filled her up with joy, so much joy. Then one day, she’s in a car wreck, and she loses the use of her arms, she can no longer hold the paintbrush and paint on the canvas. So she– she doesn’t have the use of her arms. And she’s just starting to disintegrate her personality, she’s not able to get back to status quo. She loved her art so much. It was a huge part of her contribution to society, her expression of herself, her love of beauty and her use of her talents and skills.

And so here’s what we do in the self reinvention space: we ask ourselves what we were doing. And so as an artist, she was creating beautiful things. She was using her talents and skills, she was sharing her talents and skills because her art was something that she sold and other people could see. She was improving her skills as an artist, the more she painted, the more experienced the more classes she took. All of that was just self improvement. And that felt good. And then she was also able to make money by selling her art. So that’s kind of– those were her, you know, side effects from being a joyful artist. So now, it made it seem with the car wreck, [cough] excuse me, that she could not create beauty. She couldn’t use her skills and talents. And she wouldn’t be able to improve as an artist and she couldn’t make any money. So where do you go from there?

Well, here is my formula. Her options are, and I’ll get to the formula in a second. But her options are to learn to study art in a new way, assuming that she still had her cognitive faculties, she could still be a student of art. And if she could talk and exchange ideas, she could still do that. She could get a teaching certificate and keep learning– this time with an emphasis on how to teach art, even without the techniques of the physically showing. She could do art history, she could do so many things in the art category. She would be developing and learning more about teaching skills and communication skills and how to research and how best to create a curriculum for her students. And she would be able to teach and enjoy others’ art, and have art appreciation for, you know, as an onlooker of art.

So she could, in the end, she could facilitate a brand new talent out of the seedbed of her former artistry. She could now have the talent of facilitating beauty and talents of others. That could be her talent, of learning about and explaining and teaching about art history, and the beauty of art. And also reach back into her experiences as an artist and be able to mentor people.

So here’s the formula. The reason that we do what we do, when we love doing it is because of how we feel when we do it. So let’s look at emotions as playing an enormous part of doing what we do. So if we just reverse that, and you say, what emotion do I want to feel? I have no longer the use of my arms. And yet, I want to feel [fill in the blank], what would you say? So you might say, I want to feel like I can contribute. I want to feel creative. I want to feel like I have a unique perspective to share. So you would fill in the blank, how do you want to feel? And then what could you do to generate that emotion? How could you be thinking in this new way? So you take action, and you say, okay, in order to feel like I’m still a creative at heart, even though I can’t do my craft, the way I used to, I have to open up the definition of creative for myself. So maybe I study art in a new way, maybe I make it an intellectual exercise, instead of a physical one, you know, moving of the paintbrush. So then you start exploring those things, you gain new skills to add to your old skills. And you create a new identity for yourself. And it’s all based on emotions. So I became a teacher because I love seeing the light that comes on in somebody’s eye when they learn something, or when something clicks. And then my ability to teach was taken away. Then I’d say okay, what was that emotion? What did I love so much? I love seeing people be able to do something they couldn’t do before. So how– what other hundreds of, you know, jobs would allow me access to that emotion, or that thing, like what what I loved about it? and then you go about creating the life that way. So you use the emotions to define it. It does require leveling up. So talk about upstream thinking, upstream feeling, and upstream action-taking. It’s against the grain, it’s against the current. What would be easy is just to heal, and go back to being an artist. But if that’s taken away, then don’t give up the fight. Do not give up the fight! Go into your higher brain problem solving areas and start hashing out all the ways that you could delight in a new flavor, a new form of your former talents, or love, and just use emotions to go back to. Don’t think that if you can’t pick up the paintbrush, then there’s no joy for you. I promise there’s other things that you can do that you’ll be able to feel a very similar type of satisfaction and enjoyment. And that problem solving that you’re going to be doing is your resilience muscles. It’s leveling up, it’s maturing, it’s gaining ground. It’s like it’s it’s so powerful. Because the alternative is: I’m defined by what I produced and the way I produced it, and now that’s taken away. And so I have no identity. I’m just a shell, I don’t matter, I can’t contribute, and I have no joy, nothing to live for.

And we want to stay off– as far away from that as possible. We want to say okay, change course, I’m going to do a life pivot. I’m going to pursue things that helped me feel expansive, that helped me feel like I can contribute. And then you go about solving for that. So reinvention, by way of your emotional foundation and a lot of growth and maturity is possible for you. I want to be heard, loud and clear. Please go back to Episode 28 to hear how Kate did this in her life. And just exercise faith in yourself that you can do this too. That we do things because of how they make us feel and so therefore our emotions are aren’t taken away from us when we have other restrictions. So use that emotional, inner guidance system to then problem solve your way into a new talent, a new skill, a new hobby, a new passion, a new way of making money, a new way of providing and experiencing this life. I promise that is possible, and it can change everything for the second half of your story. once things have changed, and you feel like you can never go back. In the end, you’ll not want to have been able to go back because you will become somebody with so much self respect that you are able to pivot and become a new version of yourself. All because of something that you didn’t ask for, didn’t want, and can’t control. Now that is true power.

So ruminate on that. Think about how you can apply that in your life. What is self reinvention for you? What emotion are you going for? And how can you solve for it? Problem solve your way into feeling that no matter what your circumstances are today, what your capabilities are, what your energy level is, that you can still matter that you can still put yourself in the place of initiative and contribution and joy and satisfaction in this life.

Alright, take care. And please come join me at the membership. www(dot)personal thought trainer (dot)com forward slash membership you can try a free month, you’re gonna want to jump in and learn more about these resilience principles with me and other women like us. All right, thank you take care. We’ll talk to you later.

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