17 Aug 2016
Building Reserves – How to Stop just surviving and start living with abundance
The Chinese character for ‘crisis’ is made up of two smaller characters. The first represents ‘danger’ and the second represents ‘opportunity’. In essence, crisis, which by its nature, is experienced as rapid change, is actually a ‘dangerous opportunity’.
This perspective couldn’t be more fitting for this time in history. Changes come hard and fast and many of us are challenged just to keep up. Being able to not only cope, but to thrive, during life’s uncertainty is a valuable personal asset. But how do we develop the skills to take advantage of change, rather than fear it?
Firstly, it is as easy or as difficult as transforming how you choose to view and experience change. Just as we looked at the dual meaning of the word ‘crisis’, instead of focusing on the problems when circumstances change, we can look for the opportunities that also come along during those times.
When I was running my professional life coaching business, I would ask each of my clients to look for the solution in every problem they experience. Granted sometimes you have to look hard, but inevitably it is always there. Consider a turbulent time in your life, the loss of a job or relationship break-up, for example, and think back to how that change eventually lead to even better opportunities coming into your life if you kept moving forward and stayed open to the new opportunities coming into your life around that time.
Another way to thrive during change is to be prepared for it. This is not as difficult as it first appears, but it does require some dedication and discipline. One of the most successful ways to prepare for change is to build reserves in all areas of your life.
To have a reserve means that you have more than you need. There are some key areas in which you can build reserves – money, love, time, health, energy, integrity and information. When you have adequate reserves, they act as buffer zones during times of change and lessen the impact.
For example, to have a reserve of love means having the right kind of caring support and love from those who matter to you. Then if a romantic relationship gets tough or breaks up you are surrounded by your reserve of love so you don’t have to go through that difficult time feeling ‘alone’.
Another example is with money. In these times of economic instability it is more important than ever to have a buffer zone to protect against workplace fluctuations and upheavals in the economy. Just imagine how good it would feel to know that you had a year or two worth of income in the bank cash. It is a very achievable goal in building reserves.
In fact, having a financial reserve can also place you in a great position to take advantage of those ‘dangerous opportunities’. In his book ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’, Robert Kiyosaki talks about when the stock or real-estate market is on its way down the intelligent investor sees it as an opportunity to buy investments that are essentially ‘on sale’. With a reserve of money an economic crisis becomes an economic opportunity.
Building reserves is not just for the major areas in our lives it’s also about looking at creating a buffer in our day to day living that will help us avoid stressful situations and eliminate potential hazards. For example most of us rely on our car everyday, so how can we build reserves there/ . You can start the habit of never allowing your car to go below 1/4 tank of petrol before refilling (so you will always have enough gas to get where you are going without stressing out). Make sure all the parts of your car are in working order and put reminders in your for timely maintenance. Keep a ‘just in case’ kit in your car – small change for parking or phone booth, torch, jumper cables, cell phone charger, water bottle and snack. Also have your road side assistance and insurance up to date.
One reserve people don’t often think about is having a reserve of wellbeing….or as I like to call – taking time to “fill your inner well of ‘being’ “.
Society and workplaces encourage us to be on ‘outward’ mode most of the time, always in action, producing, creating, growing, improving…in short ‘doing’.
That is all positive stuff, but where does the energy come from to do these things? It comes from our from our internal reserve of inspiration and energy – from our inner ‘well of being’.
If you keep drawing from this ‘inner well’ then it eventually runs dry and this experience is commonly referred to a ‘burn out’.
One of the reasons why I first created Goddess Retreats was as an antidote to burn out, a place where women could come and find a space to take time to ‘fill their wells’ – not only with healthy activities, wholesome food and a big dose of pampering, but also experience environments and people that inspire, support and facilitate the opportunity for our guests to re-discover what it is that sparks their spirit and take away to tools and awareness to continually fill their well.
I truly believe this is one of the greatest practices we can do for ourselves. When are ‘well is full’, we are inspired and full of energy and life then ceases to be a struggle – even when everything is turned upside down – because facing change with the right attitude is an essential ingredient for life’s success.
“I love to put up my feet and get inspired by reading”
Take a moment now and write down 3 areas in your life where you recognise that you need to build reserves.
Now brainstorm on all the things you can do to build reserves in those areas.
Once you’ve finished your lists highlight the top item you feel excited about starting to implement to begin building your reserves.
(TIP: Avoid items that are ‘should’, in that you don’t feel excited about doing it, but the voice in your head says ‘you should’ – leave those for later and get going on the actions that you are naturally enthusiastic about!)
Some Examples of how to build reserves in different areas
Financial – Eliminate all unnecessary debt so your monthly fixed outgoings are well below your earned income and you can easily and consistently save a minimum of 10% of your income for investment.
(Tip – if you need a crash course on eliminating debt, get rid of all credit cards and practice on using cash for all purchases and bank payments for paying bills. This is a great way to get physically reconnected to your money if you are a habitual debtor)
Space and Time – Start building boundaries so you have some space and time for things that fill your well or are unstructured so you can do whatever you fancy. One of my great teachers always had the boundary of not making any plans and not being contactable on Sundays. She very nicely made all her friends and work knew about this boundary and so she was free to enjoy this day of her week with absolutely no pressure from the outside world.
Are you in the habit of screeching in ‘just on time’ to appointments while continually stressing out watching the clock and preparing your apologies for ‘running a few minutes late’. Start building a reserve of time by arriving 15 minutes early. (Tip: If you are telling yourself I am too busy to hang around for 15 minutes waiting then you need to look at the overall picture of your space and time reserve!
Supplies and equipment – I love this one! I am a firm believer of having the right and enough supplies to do the job, whether it is in the office of cleaning the bathroom. Our office is always stocked with a great reserve of stationary, cables, power bars & extension cords, chargers and batteries. It feel great knowing that all the tools I need are at my finger tips at all times so i don’t have to stress out and run to the shops when things run out or break.
I am also the same with my surf gear and boards so they are all ready to go at a moments notice – I have a surf bag packed with all the bits an pieces I need like rash guard, towel, extra wax, wax comb, fin key, extra leg rope, sunscreen, zinc, plus hair conditioner, a full (bpa free) water bottle and bag of nuts for a snack.
Have fun thinking up creative ways to build reserves in all areas of your life and enjoy the peace of mind and sense of security that naturally arises from putting it into action.
You will find that you will lose the adrenaline boosted feeling of continually living on the edge, and even if challenges and crisis happen, you will be well buffered by living with reserves in abundance.
With love, light and seashells