Life Coach: Helpful tips for managing life’s road bumps

July 26, 2011 

Is life less fair than you anticipated? Did you feel as a child that once you reached the plateau of adulthood, life would be smooth sailing? Gone would be the emotional rollercoaster of adolescence, the hurdle jumping of diplomas and degrees and the minimum wage jobs.

Even though our parents’ lives may not have mirrored Easy Street, we knew we could do it better.

After all, we would be in charge. Goodbye wishing, worrying, waiting and wondering. Hello freedom, accomplishment, true love and yes, even justice.

We arrive at this threshold of adulthood and then comes a success, followed by a road bump. Maybe the ideal job turns into drudgery. Maybe the ideal mate becomes bossy. And we lament, “Life just isn’t fair!”

How can we maintain our zest for life and face our disappointments with courage?

Here are a few ideas to manage those obstacles.

n Change your mind. Many decisions we make are reversible. Can we do an about face or do we have to just accept the situation?

n Take charge or give up. How much control do we have over the situation? Sometimes we can take charge and control the outcome; other times, the external variables are decided.

n Have patience. Let events play out, then assess new directions.

n Accept that most situations and people are not good or evil. We attach emotionality and fear to situations we don’t like. Be open to feeling different about a seemingly bad obstacle.

n Trust in a better future. Time and situations always pass. Have faith that unforeseen opportunities may arise when you least expect them.

n Step back. Observe the situation from many vantage points before acting.

n Remember one life success during difficult times. Do the instant replay to remind yourself that you have mastered challenges. Maybe it’s making a lovely cake, or planting a garden. Simply remember it and smile.

n Let go of the anger and blame. Many life situations are not your fault or others.

n Take the superlatives out of your speech. Watch your word choice. Change “it’s awful” to “it’s unfortunate.”

n Accept uncertainty. Living in a void for awhile may be better lunging at premature solutions.

n Invite, don’t force solutions on problems.

n Use humor.

n Breathe.

n Sleep on it. A new perspective may come to you in the morning.

n Nurture and pamper yourself. Separate yourself from a negative experience. A nice thing about being human is that we can and do heal -- physically and emotionally.

n Ask for help.

Fairness? Let go of that concept. Let go of the notion that things will always go your way.

Just do your best and move on. After all, sameness can be boring. Enjoy the ride … the bumps in the road are just that. Bumps.

Joan Dickinson, Ed.D., an Anna Maria Island resident, is a life coach, certified yoga/meditation instructor, health care/wellness consultant and a retired psychologist and behavioral health care director. Her column appears every other week. She can be contacted at 778-8356, P.O. Box 731, Anna Maria, FL 34216 or

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