Last week, I thought I’d have a quiet one, get some writing done and study for some exams. For once I wasn’t back-to-back with coaching and training and my only real plan was to attend a course as a participant as part of my personal development. Earlier in the week, I’d spent time with my mum, been for lovely walks along the beach, done some reading and now it was Friday, a beautiful day in Melbourne with plenty of sunshine and warmth.

As I was having my morning coffee, I realised what day it was; today would have been the twentieth anniversary with my ex. In itself not a good feeling as that relationship was a significant one, but made sadder because he passed away very suddenly just recently. So I was feeling a little melancholy. I didn’t let those emotions take over. I sat with those feelings, acknowledged them, let them come and then let them go. It was not that I forgot them, I just responded to my emotions with kindness and acceptance, and simply got on with my day instead of spending the day moping around.

For a change, I did not have to be at the course early. As a participant, I simply just had to show up at 9am. Living about an hour out of the city, I set off to catch a train just before 8am. Instead of walking to the nearest station, I chose to walk to the one further away. After all, it was a beautiful morning and I had plenty of time.

On the train, reading my book, my phone went off. Two new messages: “The course facilitator has had a family emergency and cannot run the course today”, and, “Can you do it?” Can I… what? Me? What the? Nah! Seriously? My thoughts took off. No, I’m not ready. Yes, I know my stuff. No, I don’t know the course. Yes, I could give it a go. No, what if the participants hate me. Yes, I have the experience. Round and round, all the what-ifs and doubts. Anxious, my heart raced, my head spun. Not to mention sad thoughts from earlier still hanging around my mind.

Quickly, I regained the reigns. I breathed. In and out. I let go of all those confusing thoughts and silenced my inner voice. Calmly, I looked at the facts clearly. I could do it. I train the subject often. Sure the course was different, but nothing I couldn’t cope with. Yes I’m sad, but I don’t have to let that ruin my day. So I replied, “Sure”.

Despite not having the materials or even my laptop with me, I quickly obtained the course notes (thank you smart phone and internet technology) and read through them. Luckily, I had time to read through them on the train. Clearing my mind of the anxious thoughts that had attacked me, I concentrated on the task at hand. So when I arrived at the venue, I was ready (well sort of).

As the participants arrived, I breathed. I could see each one surprised I was at the helm instead of the instructor from yesterday. Keeping focussed on their needs, I let go of my own fear, and reassured them. The course began. I fielded questions; I scribbled my silly diagrams on the whiteboard, we had group discussions and ran through the activities. The class appeared to be on track.

All the way through, whenever I heard my inner voice trying to sabotage my state of mind, telling me I was hopeless or out of my depth, I chose not to pay attention to it. Memories of my ex surfaced, but I felt them with kindness and let them drift away. Sure, there were shaky moments when it was obvious I didn’t know the course notes, and I didn’t even have the slide presentation to help guide me. But instead of letting these hic-ups trigger negativity, I simply let the thoughts and emotions go, re-focussed on the people before me, and got on with the course. At the end of the day, many participants expressed how much they enjoyed the day and found it fantastic. Many comments were made about the good job I managed to do despite jumping in the deep end. Looks like I did OK.

Later over dinner, I realised the importance of my mindfulness practice.  Without it, I have no doubt I would have crumbled under the pressure. Perhaps I may not have even challenged myself to take on the course. Or I may have let my feelings of grief and sadness get the better of me and simply stayed in bed. I managed to turn a challenging day into a successful day.

New Mindfulness workshops announced:

Mindfulness allows us to be fully present in our lives; to feel our emotions and acknowledge our thoughts without them disrupting our state of mind. Free from all that inner turmoil, we can move through our day with purpose, clear thoughts, making good decisions, allowing us to “get stuff done” (GSD) without all the disruptions and distractions that come from within.

Join me at one of my mindfulness workshops to learn how mindfulness can help you turn challenges into success.