Have you ever been walking on your own in a wood in the late evening, a murky darkness creeping closer, the path ahead becoming less clear with every minute?
Your pulse starts to quicken ever so slightly, and you consciously walk that little bit faster.
Your hairs stand up on the back of your neck, and suddenly the world seems that little bit colder.
Even as a 7-year-old, you know that your anxiety is irrational. Freddy Krueger is not lurking around the corner (please excuse me sharing my childhood terror), the bats flitting between the trees are not interested in your blood, the twigs cracking under your feet are no louder than they were an hour ago. You know that there is no one around for miles.
Most people will have experienced this feeling. But maybe not all of them were in a twilight filled wood – some may well have been in a boardroom, hearing about how the quarterly results may not have been so good. Some may arrive at work only to notice an empty desk in the corner. Some may be reading a “goodbye” email from someone they barely knew….. They may even be walking out of the door with their box of belongings – into a world devoid of substance.
The world suddenly gets a little darker and for a moment it is hard to focus on anything but the growing murkiness – things just don’t seem as clear as they were before.
Now that is truly scary. That is reality.
However, unlike the childhood scenario in the wood, you can do something about it.
Whether the lack of clarity is in your career or your personal life, the choice to be positive and proactive is there.
The worst thing that you can do is remain standing in that wood, with the darkness gathering around you. Get a torch out, or even better (like Jim Carrey in the Truman Show), just turn on the sun…..
The darkest moment in my life came when my wife and I were told that we might not be able to have children. Suddenly the world became very scary…. But, we sat down, went for a coffee, had a cry and made a positive decision to deal with the cards that we had been dealt.
We decided that if the worst comes to worst, we would be happy to adopt. This was our fall-back position (in any plan, there should always be a “just in case” option).
We gave up our stressful corporate jobs in Moscow and moved back to England. We immediately enrolled in IVF treatment and did everything that we possibly could to get closer to our dream of having a family.
For me, it is positive action that helps to clear away the darkness.
Accept uncertainty and make your life a little brighter by taking some concrete steps in the right direction.
Use the approaching darkness as a catalyst for decisive change and take those decisions that have been milling aimlessly around your heads for a while now.
I’m not afraid of the dark anymore.