October 17, 2011

One Heckuva Ride

Risk is that fear driven assessment that defines the potential outcome of our future actions before we engage.  When life is going great, our tolerance for certain types of risk is very high – we don’t worry as much about failure because there is so much good going on around, recovery is likely.  When life is going bad and there is no momentum our tolerance for risk is very low – after all, the last thing needed in our life right now is another problem.

Right now few have much tolerance for risk.  That fear of disaster, failure, more bad news, or another calamitous event is getting in the way of our ability to live with passion and energy and embrace the unique opportunities that come our way every day.  Survival is the opposite of risk.  Survival is risk adverse behaviors that keep us moving forward in a seemingly positive direction as we look for hope and opportunity.

For many of us, our assessment of risk is clouded by the fact that many of us are in survival mode.  Survival comes from a point of high stress and low failure tolerance.  Nothing is more risk adverse that someone in survival mode.  Unfortunately, we cannot embrace real opportunity and engage in a productive, positive quest to transform our lives when our survival skills are at their highest.

True change and transformation in our lives are only possible when we embrace the potential and the promise of who we are and what we are capable of.  Our lives are not defined by or determined by those who give us permission to be who we were meant to be.  For those who we look to for permission is likely living in their own constrained and stressful environment and have not discovered the opportunity to live the promise of being who we were meant to be, not what people told us we need to be.  These thoughts only constrain our potential for moving out of our situation not help us grow and improve from it.

Moving out of a low risk, survivalist mindset starts with the realization of change.  The reason you are in survival mode is because something or everything has clearly changed – loss of income, divorce, death, illness, displacement of wealth.  It is when something beyond our control changes that we try to hang on to things that we believe have not changed.  And, we hang on to those things because we are hoping it will help us find stability or recovery in what has been lost or changed.  Unfortunately, in the face of change hanging on to things that appear to have not changed is a mirage; for everything in our lives are connected – once something changes, everything is transformed in relationship to it.

There is nothing that we are hanging on to that remains unaffected or untouched as a result of what has gone on around us.  Recognizing the enormity of the impact of the change around us is the first step toward realizing and embracing the opportunities for a transformation out of survival mode.  We cannot undo some of those changes that have occurred around us.  We cannot help but feel the stress and the discomfort associated with the impact of these events.  However, we have complete and total control over how we are going to use these experiences as a catalyst to do what we desire.

There is an old familiar saying – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  Every one of us has been given the opportunity to take an incredible ride.  Our journey is not over.  And, there are no shortcuts, safe havens, or easy outs.  The best thing that we can do is jump into the seat, buckle up the safety harnesses and go for the ride of our life.  For it is in the way we take control of our present is how we can and will define our future!!

About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.