What are tactics to overcome a setback?
I'll share some practices I utilized to rebuild and reinvent my life after federal prison. This list is not all-inclusive; just some of the highlights.
I hope it's helpful
I needed to step back and reconnect with myself, and meditation allowed me to do this.
I needed an outlet for all the crap that was inside of me, the words I couldn't speak aloud. Journaling is one of the best tools for growth and self-discovery I know.
3. Practice Gratitude
I was sitting in the prison library, with nothing to my name. I lost everything: my amazing wife, my career, my money, my homes, and cars. I lost my identity and self-worth. And yet, one crisp early morning, the sunrise was spectacular. I put pen to paper and wrote, “I’m grateful for this morning’s sunrise.”
I found something to be grateful for in my most challenging time. I cannot express how important that truly is.
4. Cultivate Self-Trust
I didn't trust myself to make simple decisions because I was responsible for landing myself in prison. So I had to rebuild my self-trust. Self-trust isn't the belief that everything is going to work out ok. Self-trust is the wisdom to know that regardless of how things work out, I'll be ok.
5. Cultivate Self-Love/Worth/Adequacy
I was so consumed with shame that I was planning on how to take my life. I had to work through that shame and connect with my self-love, self-worth, and knowing I am enough. One of the ways I did this was:
Forgiveness is one of the most extraordinary acts of compassion and love we can extend to ourselves. It's an ongoing journey but one well worth the effort.
7. Practice Acceptance
When I was in prison, I wished for everything to be something other than it was. I was suffocating my future under the blanket of the past. When I accepted my situation, I felt freedom - inside prison. Now I had a baseline to start over from.
8. Accept Responsibility
I knew the fraud I was committing was wrong, but for a while, I pointed my finger anywhere but at myself. The moment I accepted responsibility for my actions and understood that I was the one who knocked the 1st domino down - I experienced freedom - inside prison.
9. Establish my Core Values
Core values provide the groundwork for my actions, decisions, and behaviors. They are the principles that give my life meaning. They helped me persevere through adversity; when I embody them, I feel aligned and build my self-trust.
10. Purpose/Be of Service
I wanted to give meaning to the suffering I caused my ex-wife, my family, and society. When I understood that sharing my story, entirely and vulnerably, was the path I wanted to take, I gave myself a Northstar to follow.
The pursuit of mastery in my craft creates a life of meaning, fulfillment, and joy - and it serves #10. It's a win/win
12. Everything is Temporary
When I was in prison, it felt like I would be there forever. That my permanent state of being was uncertainty and pain. I felt as though I would be worthless for the remainder of my life. Once I looked beyond the fear and anxiety, I understood there was an expiration date. I didn’t know when, but I knew there was one. That alone gave me the strength to endure. This is the power of embracing impermanence.
13. Adversity Can Be a Gift
Our greatest adversities do not have to be the end. In fact, they can be our greatest teachers and our greatest beginnings. It’s up to us whether we choose to seek and find the gift, or if we stay in the burnt ashes of what was.
The choice is ours.
Another thing I’ve learned: It really is about the journey. It’s about who we become on our way through the adversity that matters. The process is the reward.
Asking questions helped me understand why I made the choices I made, and what I wanted to create next in my life. This actually circles back to meditation for me.