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Frustrated, extremely stressed and exhausted, a friend (we’ll call her Kim) was sharing with me what is now an all too common story.  Kim had been laid-off during the 2008 economic downturn.  After a long and painful job search, she had finally landed an opportunity in a company which offered no career growth or challenge, fostered an extremely toxic culture for employees which included extensive overtime, and was no longer financially stable.  Kim was miserable, and concerned about imminent lay-offs, especially since she was soon sending her child off to an expensive university.

Stress had worn her down.  She looked exhausted and couldn’t stop talking about her problems.  She was stressed because she worked too many hours to look for a job. She was stressed because she couldn’t read all the job listings and was afraid she would miss out on an opportunity.  She was stressed about losing her job.  The list of what she was stressed about was endless, and she was miserable.

When I asked Kim what action she was taking to make changes in her life, the answer was a blank stare.  She was so focused on the problems, she was unable to take action to improve the situation.

Take a look in the mirror.  We probably all see ourselves in the reflection of this situation.     Whether it is a toxic job, a relationship, family situation or finances, we can be paralyzed by so many things that stop us from taking action and remain in the uncomfortable and stressful situation. 

How does that serve you? We all know that stress can cause damage to our health, our moods, productivity, relationships and overall quality of life.  Why would we choose to stay in a situation that is negatively impacting our life and health? But we are choosing, by taking no action, we are making a decision to remain in the painful situation.

All of our decisions and actions in life should serve us in the best way possible.  By choosing to refocus our thoughts away from the negative situation, and focus on action (no matter how small), we immediately begin to improve our life.  In taking action to move forward, we demonstrate our commitment to improving our lives, and like a stone thrown in the pond, our action will continue to expand and improve our lives in positive ways we never expected.

What step (yes, just one!) will you take today to begin improving your life? It really is that easy.

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