Walking in My Power in a Snowstorm: Lessons Learned from Life Not Going as Planned

snow storm11 of my research assistant students. Check (well minus the 2 whose flights got cancelled). 7 colleagues and their 20+ students. Check. Snowstorm that leaves us stranded in Denver, Colorado for an extra day. Check.

Life doesn't always go as planned. Luckily I've learned along the way that

Yet our job is also to realize that sometimes we may not know… Maybe it's a conversation we had with someone that changed their life. (A former student actually sought me out to thank me for a class he took from me that changed his career trajectory!) Maybe it's a chance meeting on an elevator where we learned something that would help us later on in life in a way we may not have anticipated (A chance conversation I had with young woman I've never met before sparked a new research interest for me!). Maybe it's simply the lesson that it's okay to ask for help, and to receive it.

I learned multiple things on my trip to Denver:

  1. Sometimes you have to let go – I can't control the weather anymore than I can control my website malfunctioning after the latest WordPress update. I also couldn't control two of my students getting stuck back home due to flight cancellations. My poor students panicked. How would they give their presentations if they couldn't get to Denver in time? I soothed their nerves, had them email me their talks and gave them myself. Problem solved.
  2. Sometimes you have to roll with the punches – Usually when I go to a conference, my students want to explore the city in between their presentations while I work from my hotel room. This time, my sweet students made it clear that more than anything, they wanted to spend time with me. We went out for lunch and dinner nearly every day. We hung out in the hotel lobby in between sessions. Even my colleagues wanted to socialize, which is rare in our overbooked lives. I got very little work done, but that was okay. Apparently I needed the social time as much as they did.
  3. Sometimes you have to ask for help – when my website lost functionality in the middle of a high site traffic week, I tried it I fix it myself. I do that, as I am a fixer. I called my hosting company, tried to re-upload content, and looked to support forums for answers. Nothing worked. So I finally reached out to 3 separate website support staff. They were able to restore some functionality, but a week later, the site still isn't fully restored. And I am dealing with that (see learning to let go above!)
  4. Sometimes you have to trust – I knew the snowstorm would pass eventually – or at the very least, the airport would reopen. I also know that sooner rather than later my website will be fully functional again. (Both were excellent lessons in patience for me!) But the bottom line is: I got to a point with both issues where I knew I could not fix the problem. It was beyond my control and/or skill set. I had to trust in the Universe that all would turn out as it should… Eventually.
  5. – My weekends are usually filled with time with my man, chores, catching up with work, planning for the next week, and a little much-needed self-care and play time. On this particular weekend, I had planned to rip up the carpet in my house as I scheduled to get my house recarpeted two days after I got back from the conference. The snowstorm delayed me a day and I was fretting over whether I had time to actually get the house ready for recarpeting. I could have asked for help. I didn't (I'm a doer and fixer, remember?). I figured I'd just stay up late if I had to. It would get done. In between sessions, I checked my phone. “Floors are ready for carpet. And Nike (my unruly puppy) and I got into it while I was mowing your lawn.” I almost cried. My boyfriend took care of my chores and the onerous tasks of moving all of my furniture out of the rooms and ripping up my old carpet and plentiful carpet staples. Did I mention this was his last weekend off before he goes on call for a 70+ hour work week? His generosity never ceases to amaze me. 

I think what I learned most from my trip to Denver is this: we all have unique talents and gifts. It would behoove us to spend our time on those rather than wasting time on things that don't really help us move toward our Soul's Purpose (if you don't know what that is, we are working in that in my group coaching program!). My weekend may not have gone as planned, but I did – inadvertently – spend my time on the things that I do best and will move me toward where I want to be in the next phase of my life: educating, mentoring, coaching, and walking in my power. I even made sure I had some time for self-care and snuck some baths in there!

Moving forward, I know the week ahead will be hectic: another conference, rehearsing for a belly dance show next weekend, playing catch up from being out of town, and – thanks to my boyfriend – the recarpeting of my house. But I also know that everything will work out as it should. I just need to focus on walking in my power, practicing what I preach, and doing what is aligned with my Soul's Purpose. And let go of all the rest.

 

4 Comments

  • Virginia Reeves says:

    Everything will work out as it should.
    Mary – this is a powerful reminder that things happen we can’t control. Retain your power and moving on as you did are the answers.
    Sometimes, a ‘nuisance’ actually has a major benefit you wouldn’t have planned or expected (you didn’t have to do the carpet mess).
    You’ve learned your world goes on even without technology performing at its best. I think many people need to remember to step away.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Dr Mary Pritchard says:

      I couldn’t agree more, Virginia! Life happens for us, not to us. And we could all use the reminder to unplug every once in a while. 🙂

  • Stephanie S Atkinson says:

    I wish I could convey how appropriate your words are for me this morning. I have been in a state of total chaos for the past couple of months/weeks/days due to fear of the unknown (surgery for a condition that is affecting my ability to physically work), anger and hurt (a 35-year marriage that is failing after 3 years of weekly joint counseling plus 8 years of individual counseling), being stuck in this situation because of the impending surgery, and the NEED to make these drastic changes to save my life, my soul. I am part of the Woman Within International community, so I have the tools – I haven’t fully processed the workshop I took in February, though, so I’ve been keeping myself in constant inner agitation over things I must say and do. This, in turn, affects my physical body and I’m in constant pain. I’ve been fighting against it all for so long that I’m exhausted – the reminder that things will turn out as they’re meant to is helping me surrender to my circumstances, to be patient and trust. Yes, I’ve heard them before, and thought I’d taken them in – for some reason, your post resonated deeply within me this morning, and for that, I am grateful beyond words.

    • Dr Mary Pritchard says:

      I am so glad it served you, Stephanie. Please reach out if you’d like to chat further about what you are going through. Sometimes we can all use someone who will just listen and hold space for us.

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