One of my favourite quotes is from Viktor Frankl, Austrain Neurologist and Holocaust Survivor:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
This week I launched my new business ‘The Resilient’ here to enable you to find that space and fill it with intention, courage and strength to find growth and freedom.
Transformation happens when you start to see and perceive differently. But to get there you need space and creating it needs conscious intervention.
It was ironically a constant flood of unexpected and uncontrollable change that became my change.
But change is hard. Our love of comfort zones gives us a sense of security we don’t want to loose. Change has hair pin bends, large drops and beautiful views. It requires you to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, to embrace positive discomfort, to get fiercely realistic, rigorous, and disciplined while you embark on your journey of hope and infinite possibilities.
The adversity that change brought with it was almost like a guardian, there to teach me everything I needed to know. Giving me the chance for me to step into my own. To understand what I wanted, what I valued, what I needed for my wellbeing, and with what intention I wanted to live my life.
As a Turkish girl born in Britain wedged between two cultures, unsure of which way to turn, I worked diligently and persistently to act from my purpose, which was to steer businesses to growth by doing good for the people they serve and serve them. Eventually, I found myself in a position of great influence as a transformational strategist advising multi-million pound business’ on the needs of their consumers, designing their products and services, mapping their innovation and steering their cultures and communities.
But being a consultant serving the largest companies in the world with a constant stream of strategic thinking that would outsmart their competition, and enable their growth and survival for years to come, was not a small endeavour to take on. Especially while bringing up my daughter, looking after my (now ex-) husband during his illnesses, trying to keep my business afloat during a political coup or commuting between two countries weekly while my teams were hanging on my every word for direction, trust and stability.
There was a point after running my own business for 5 years in a challenging emerging market (in a foreign language) when I thought I had reached a place of stability and I could switch to cruise control and finally enjoy life after having put so much empahsis on my career. After all I was in my early 40s.
But one divorce, teargas in my eyes, a failed coup attempt and a lost democracy later, I realised my personal transformation was still to come. It wasn’t over yet. In fact, it was the beginning.
After a series of unexpected blows, a.k.a. all that life could throw at me, I was clinically diagnosed with ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’ and ‘burn out’ and I quickly realised that things needed to change. Otherwise I risked nosediving into depression. But to make matters worse I was spending each day analysing what the world would be like in 5–10 years time — and suffering as a result from ‘pre-traumatic stress disorder’ as well.
It was no longer sustainable and it was only then that I realised the buck ultimately lied with me. I could no longer blame, expect or demand. I had to pull myself out of the rubble as the world, its businesses and the collective spirit had a long way to go before it could step in to take the pain and hopelessness away.
But one thing was clear, I still had hope, my sense of humour — although fading fast — and people around me that truly gave a shit about my wellbeing. But the final jolt was when I woke one morning and felt completely tired of the ‘story’ I was playing out in my head, the fantasy that had become my narrative — there was no space between the stimulus in and around my life and my response to it. I was just reacting, no longer acting and my story had become a truth I didn’t even believe in. I needed to create space in order to create a new way of life that gave me more meaning, growth and freedom.
So I leaned in hard. I started to combine my personal learning of physiology, psychology, spirituality with my business acumen, entrepreneurial skills, knowledge of cultural trends and understanding of organisational culture to build a new set of tools for myself that would give me new skills and habits of resilience.
In so doing I became more aware of my life choices, community, environment and real intentions. New decisions emerged and plans to make them happen.
As I delved deep, I connected like I had never connected before, with myself and with others. I worked with an amazing coach, attended Gestalt coaching courses and therapy, started exercising (consistently!), changed my diet, started intermittent fasting, took up transformational breath work and mindful practices. But most importantly I made more time for the beautiful relationships in my life I was so lucky to have, especially my daughter.
Slowly the wind turned to a breeze, the pain into joy and one by one, and step by step I found myself adopting new habits, thinking and tools that collectively enabled me to start truly nourishing myself and my dreams. I had embraced a new way of life, one that had more fullfilment, joy, productivity and steady growth. Most striking of all was that I found myself able to say ‘no’ and hence stay out of self-inflicted trouble.
I had found my inner resileince.
In short, I worked with discipline, focus and determination to rewrite my story to one I would want to wake up to, and one that would allign my professional and personal story authentically together to serve for a more wholesome life — one that embed my understanding of integrity and kindness.
So here I am in the era of positive vulnerability bringing my personal story together with my professional knowledge to encourage the next generation that good can come from turning tough emotions into positive actions and showing them how to create the space they need to get there.
I am a believer that the world of change is one of beautiful hope, new connections and the opportunity to allow the universe and its infinite possibilities to take its course. But you need to know what to ask from the cosmic kitchen!
With superpowers of resilience I believe you can make any change you need in order to identify and reach your dreams.
So as the Coronavirus continues to leave its mark in our lives and we find ourselves having to delve even deeper into our inner resources in order to get through, I am here to provide support on that journey.
Don’t forget you are unique, you are whole, you are the resilient and with a bit of space in your life you can embark on your personal and professional journey to rise and thrive.
My only hope is that The Resilient and it’s suite of upcoming training programmes, coaching and strategic support will be your companion along the way.
If you have got this far, thank you for reading! It means a lot.
Eternally grateful to all adversity and excited for our journey together.
Check out the new website www.theresilient.co.uk to find out more and drop me a line with feedback and thoughts!
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