What to Do When Life Doesn’t Look How it “Should”


We all have a vision of how life “should be” and how it “should look”.

But, life is a series of ups and downs and rarely turns out like we believe it “should.”

Susan, a millennial, had a goal of becoming a successful manager in the financial industry. She believed this goal was her key to being successful, making a lot of money, and feeling good about herself.

She visualized the position. She developed the skills and earned certifications required. She worked hard.

You can imagine Susan’s surprise and upset that when she got the job she always believed she wanted, she realized the job wasn’t for her! So, she quit. She is now feeling lost and is grappling with what to do next because life isn’t looking like she thinks it should.

We feel stuck when our lives don’t match what social media posts and motivational speakers tell us. To make matters worse, we believe if we do all the right things and control our mindsets the right way, life will produce a panacea of great results!

The truth is, life is a series of ups and downs for each and every one of us! We cannot control life; but, we can take responsibility for getting the most out of this life.

12 Tips on How to Smooth Out the Bumpy Ride

  1. Take Good Care of Yourself. You are all you have! Your personal energy is a reflection of your health and mindset. Drink plenty of water, eat healthy, exercise, meditate, etc. To improve the quality of your sleep, think positive thoughts before falling asleep.
  2. Do Your Best Each Day. Attempting to operate at 100% every hour of every day isn’t realistic. Pay attention to your most productive times of the day. Schedule your time to reflect your values, priorities, and energy levels. For example, if you’re a morning person or someone who is more productive later in the day, schedule tough tasks and conversations accordingly.
  3. Be Kind. Learn to be kind to yourself (and others) when experiencing a bad time. Instead of saying, “buck it up” or “just get over it,” develop compassion for yourself and others.
  4. Stop Being a Control Fanatic! You cannot control people, situations or the economy! Learn how to be flexible when working with others. Learn how to work within structures before changing work or home rules. Keep your intentions on creating positive win-win-win outcomes.
  5. Learn How to Ride Out Business and Career Cycles. There will be periods of time when you feel on top of the world in business and your career. And, there will be times when you don’t. The challenge? When you’re doing well, it’s critical to understand you will never have it all handled. With every up there is a down and vise-versa. If you want true success, hire an external coach and find an industry mentor to keep moving forward. This minimizes feelings of defeat during the inevitable “down times.”
  6. Take an Honest Inventory Before Making Any Changes. In the above story, Susan had other alternatives rather than quitting. Write out the exercise, “What’s working? and What’s not working?” Use your numbers and be specific to get the most out of this exercise. (See: It’s Time to Brag! Business Edition) The key is to build from where you are…not start over. Also, use the brag exercises to become present and mindful of what you have accomplished. Then, share these accomplishments with others to support you in creating what’s next.
  7. Don’t Make Decisions When Feeling Low. There is no such thing as an inconsequential decision. (Jeannette Seibly) All decisions impact your life. Make your decisions from a position of strength.
  8. Life is a Process Not an Event. Think of the tortoise and the hare fablethe moral of this fable is that you can be more successful by doing things slowly and steadily than by acting quickly and carelessly.
  9. Practice Mindful Breathing. Concentrate on breathing when feeling stressed. It’s easy. Breathe in for a count of 5. Pause. Exhale for a count of 10. Repeat at least twice. (This really works.)
  10. Stay Present and Focused. Remember, our brains are not wired to multi-task. When having any conversation or handling any task, stay present and focus on what you are doing. The quality of your results will improve and the amount of time spent will decrease.
  11. Reward Yourself. Take a 5-minute break and physically move during the workday. Do things you enjoy. Read a fun article, take a walk, or listen to a podcast. Don’t use this time to check emails or make calls.
  12. Do It Now. Makes plans for fun and/or relaxation by doing those things you’ve always wanted to do. Don’t wait! Do it now!

©Jeannette Seibly, 2020

Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning dynamic results coach and keynote speaker. For the past 27 years, she has guided the creation of leaders to excel in achieving results. Are you ready for an unprecedented 2020? Contact Jeannette today for straight talk with dynamic results. Don’t forget to listen to NEW podcasts on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.

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