Welcome to Your Crisis: How to Use the Power of Crisis to Create the Life You Wantby Laura Day
From the bestselling author of "Practical Intuition" comes a groundbreaking book about using the power of crisis to transform one's life.
- Little, Brown and Company
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Welcome to Your CrisisHow to Use the Power of Crisis to Create the Life You Want
By Laura Day
Little Brown and CompanyCopyright © 2007 Laura Day
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWHO ARE YOU?
A Recurring Question to Contemplate
Who are you? That simple question is far more profound than a first glance might suggest. Many people describe themselves in terms of their career (lawyer, carpenter, lab technician, NASCAR driver) or in terms of their relationships (wife, mother, best friend).
You are about to discover that how you define yourself largely determines not only how the world perceives you, but also how effective you are in that world.
Which brings us to your first exercise.
Exercise: Who Are You?
Without giving you any particular expectations, I'd like you to answer each of the following questions with one sentence: Who are you? Who were you before your last crisis? Who do you fear you are? Who do you wish you were?
You'll want to refer to your answers in the coming days, weeks, and even years, so use the journal you've devoted to the exercises in this book.
As I mentioned, there are countless ways to approach the task of describing yourself. Here are twoexamples:
I am someone healing from knee surgery. I used to be a professional dancer. I guess now I'm someone who will never dance again. I wish I were healthy and able to dance.
I am an entrepreneur. I started a catering business when I lost my job in sales. I enjoy what I do, though sometimes the hours are brutal. I don't have as much free time as I used to; I suppose that's the trade-off for career autonomy.
Notice how you describe and define yourself. You are not, however, your self-description. You are not who you were. You are not your fears. You are not your wishes. You are a web of interdependent facts and feelings. If you confront these facts and feelings realistically and systematically, you will become someone you admire and your life will become something you treasure.
Your self-descriptions will change in the coming days, as you work through these chapters.
How You Define Yourself Determines Your Vulnerability
How we define ourselves determines, then, how vulnerable-or how Resilient-we are to life's changing fortunes.
The wrenching changes that we experience in our lives are often painful because we identify so completely with how we describe ourselves. We identify with how we are defined by the structures around us: by our jobs, our relationships, our families, our successes. If we are fortunate we gain a better sense of our connection to others and to the world around us as we get older, and we begin the process of integrating ego into something that extends infinitely beyond it.
This concept is important because the crises in your life attack the very core of your sense of self. It is easy to understand how a person who identified herself, say, as a wife would feel that her life were over when her marriage ended. A successful young entrepreneur loses her company. Who is she now?
Transforming your sense of self enables you to rise above life's Challenges-indeed, doing so enables you to use these same challenges to enrich your self-worth and your potential in life to enjoy, create, and achieve.
* * *
As long as you cling to a narrow definition of yourself, you are vulnerable to any number of crises. Your self-concept is especially elusive when you are experiencing a major life change: you are no longer who you were, but you are not yet who you are becoming.
The importance of knowing who you are applies not just to individuals but also to groups, organizations, and companies. A company will begin its life providing one product or service, but when the world changes, the company's belief about what is important-the company's sense of self and identity-has to change as well. How ironic that Steven Jobs, the man who cofounded Apple as a computer company-only to be forced out-would return to lead Apple's rebirth as one of the world's premier consumer electronics companies.
You Are an Ecosystem
You will find it helpful to think of yourself not as an isolated being but as a vast ecosystem.
Consider a natural ecosystem and its enormous web of interconnected parts. The myriad parts of any ecosystem are intimately interrelated, woven into a complex, yet fragile, system.
That system is in dynamic balance; any minor fluctuations are easily absorbed by the system. Sometimes something from outside the ecosystem alters it dramatically. A new predator species arrives. A persistent drought exhausts the ecosystem's water supply.
Such disruptions are not readily absorbed but rather reverberate throughout the entire ecosystem. One species dies out, threatening the survival of another species that had depended on the first. A third species, previously preyed upon by the first, multiplies wildly. And so on.
Eventually balance will reestablish itself, of course, but the ecosystem will never be the same.
* * *
A tiny shift in perception or behavior can create monumental changes in the internal dynamics that you call your life.
We have all had the experience of being in a darkened theater when an exit door unexpectedly opens, flooding the darkness with light and transforming our perception of our surroundings and our place within those surroundings. We often live our lives avoiding those rays of light for fear of what they will illuminate, sometimes through small shifts in our growth or behavior and often through the imposition of others or of outside events. When that happens we must adjust to a new ecosystem and our new position within it.
Outer Changes Require and Reflect Inner Changes
Change is also difficult because we often attribute it to bad luck, to unconscious personal shortcomings, or to external forces beyond our knowledge or control. In other words we often refuse to take any responsibility for the major changes and upheavals that occur in our lives.
Some changes are beyond our direct control, such as a random act of violence or a random act of nature. Our response to any change, however, is within our control. Our response to a change is a powerful agent in how that change plays itself out in our lives.
* * *
Why do resolutions fail? On New Year's Eve, people across the world prepare to start their lives afresh. A new year; a new life. They prepare their New Year's resolutions with great optimism and anticipation, welcoming in another new year with a list of challenges that they have failed at repeatedly in the past.
The next morning they awaken with the commitment that they will break a lifetime of habits in one day. They will lose ten pounds. Become successful. Find true love. Improve their marriages. Stop procrastinating. Get their tempers under control. Spend more time with their children. Making resolutions is comforting; all is well with the world.
The only problem, as we secretly know, is that this approach to behavior modification does not work. Indeed, setting ourselves overwhelming tasks is a formula for failure and self-hatred. We form our habits and behaviors over a lifetime. We become passionately attached to even the most unfulfilling ways of being merely because they are familiar. What makes us think, despite all our experiences to the contrary, that merely resolving to change leads to enduring change?
* * *
Many people find achieving lasting change difficult because they focus on the wrong "side of the equation." Something as practical as losing weight, for example, is not simply a physical change, but rather an outward reflection of an inner change your self has undergone. Most weight-loss plans fail because the person involved views the change-weight loss-as the process itself rather than the result of a process. The process of any lasting weight loss occurs when we become a person who does not need to overeat, a person who seeks to be active rather than sedentary, a person who fills her needs in ways other than through eating.
Losing weight, then, is merely the product of changing your self. Take a moment to grasp fully the importance of this truth. Outer changes reflect inner changes. To achieve in the world whatever you want-whether it is losing weight or gaining a promotion-focus on the inner changes you need to make, and the outer changes will follow naturally and inevitably.
* * *
Your every experience programs your response to future experiences, until you choose the experiences in the world that confirm a particular belief system. One way to define yourself, then, is in terms of your beliefs.
Sometimes you misjudge the world, and your core beliefs are challenged, if not shattered. A man you thought was going to be with you forever moves to another city. Your company eliminates your position. You experience a car accident. Sometimes you encounter a major, unexpected change.
Notice that when your reality challenges your beliefs, and confronts you with the possibility that you will give up those beliefs, you feel betrayed. All loss creates a sense of betrayal.
When loss or other upheaval ruptures your beliefs, you no longer exist in the same way-but you are provided with the possibility of a new beginning.
* * *
Regarding the world around us, our beliefs can act as spotlights, but they can also act as blinders. Our beliefs hide any fact that threatens them and highlight any fact that justifies or reinforces them. Our belief systems, that is, excel at self-defense! We all have our blind spots-especially about anything that challenges who we think we are and what we've based our lives on.
Crisis occurs because our beliefs are so challenged that they no longer have these boundaries in place. We are thrown into a search for new beliefs on which to pattern our actions and base our lives.
The great spiritual leaders throughout history had their beliefs so challenged that their entire beings were transformed. In allowing themselves to be transformed, they created brilliant examples for others to follow.
* * *
One of the joys of raising children is experiencing how their intellects grow not in small steps but in large leaps. At four, my son believed that his mother had all the answers. Mommy was truth. Then one day-truly one particular day; I remember it vividly-he realized that Mommy didn't have all of the answers. On this day his wisdom began. Now, as a teenager, he thinks he has all the answers. But as he grows into an adult, this phase of unshakable certitude will change, too. ("No it won't," he says. "Yes it will," I reply, patiently yet firmly. "You don't know anything," he counters. I bide my time.)
* * *
You are who you believe you are. You live in the world you believe you live in. Your beliefs frame and support everything you see in the world as well as your impulses and motivations. When you can no longer verify that reality, when your beliefs or your conditions no longer allow you to function effectively-you experience crisis.
I was thirty-five years old when my husband and I began our divorce. My son was two. Although my husband and I had been separated since my pregnancy, divorce litigation was a frightening new world.
When I was going through my divorce, I met a group of women in the courtroom halls where we spent our days in the costly and barbaric process of a divorce trial. To ensure that we retained custody of our children, we had to prove to a stranger-the judge-that we were viable human beings without our husbands, even if we personally had our doubts. We had to appear self-sufficient, remaining solid and unshaken in the face of accusations that even tabloids would be reluctant to print.
In reality we were all so beaten down by the demands of being single parents, of enduring the soul-crushing court processes, of paying our lawyers, and of being on the short end of the paycheck that we did not believe we amounted to much at all. Our formerly secure, sometimes even affluent, lives had been ruptured beyond repair. We were living in the garbage dump of our former lives.
At some point in the interminable divorce process, however, something "clicked" in all of us-a palpable, visceral change. Ironically, we had become so used to faking courage and self-sufficiency that we began to believe in and embody those traits! As our beliefs changed, we had the courage to call employers for jobs, to manage our lawyers differently, and to try to use our talents to succeed. As our beliefs about ourselves changed, we were able to capitalize on the opportunities around us.
I am still amazed that our personal transformations happened to us as a group, almost simultaneously. Nobody could look at any of us today and imagine us as the fragile, frightened, dependent women we had been not so long ago, waiting for our cases to be heard.
* * *
In moments when we are required to adapt to change, our treasured internal responses and patterns-which supported us to this point-can become the barrier between us and success. New Year's resolutions fail because we make a list of changes we require of ourselves without addressing the many interconnected parts of the ecosystem in which they exist. People who need to lose weight or find better jobs or improve their relationships need to change something in their ecosystem-their patterns, surroundings, perceptions, or relationships-from which the goal is a natural and sustainable result.
When your beliefs change but your life does not change with them, you end up living a shadow life, striving to maintain your beliefs in a life and world you no longer inhabit. Consider Karen's story.
Karen was an advertising genius. She could find a way to package dirt and make you want to buy it. People around her always complimented her work, but she was clear she cared nothing about her work or her considerable talent. All she wanted to do was to marry, raise a family, and have someone take care of her. These needs meant everything to her.
Unfortunately, her relationships were a disaster. She always picked inappropriate or unavailable men. From month to month she was either euphoric about falling in love or devastated about having lost it. Many less-talented people received the promotions and the projects that would have displayed her gifts. Many less-lovely women married and had families. A single, anxious, thirty-nine-year-old, Karen was not fulfilling her potential either in work or in love. By putting her gifts at the "nothing end" of the spectrum and her domestic fantasy at the "everything end," she had disempowered herself to realize either potential.
Everything in your life should have importance; nothing should be worthless.
To Change Your World, Change Yourself
Einstein's principle of relativity revolutionized how scientists view the universe and ultimately led to the discovery of atomic power. But the principle of relativity is more than a tool for scientists: it is a powerful thinking tool we can all use. This perspective will revolutionize how you view yourself and will give you untold power to shape your universe.
You are not a single, unrelated speck of energy. You create a field of energy, relationships, and outcomes. If your world changes, you change. The relativity principle tells us that this dynamic works the other way, too: if you change yourself, your world changes-the universe changes.
If you want to change your world, then, start by changing yourself. When you change, you transmit the changes to your world and shift the dynamic of everything in the universe. You and your circumstances are changing right now, as you read the words on this page.
In taking these steps, we change the universe of which we are part. To change your world-change yourself. The reverse is also true: when you master yourself, you master your environment.
Excerpted from Welcome to Your Crisis by Laura Day Copyright © 2007 by Laura Day. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Laura day is the real deal. This book got me through alot of tough times. She is the only one who empowers you to be your own best psychic.
I was happy to see Laura Day's excellent book WELCOME TO YOUR CRISIS featured this morning on 'Good Morning America,' because it was a timely reminder to pull it down from the bookshelf and put it to work in helping to deal with post-holiday stress. This book has already been an enormous help to me this year. Look no further for the answer to how to figure out what trips you up from getting everything you want (and typically makes you feel like your life is spiraling downward into crisis) -- and put Day's expert advice to work to create an exciting new reality for 2007.
This is a great resource. I wish I had this resource during a crisis I had years ago. This would have made a world of difference. If you have a friend in crisis....give this book to them...they will thank you.
WOW! At the point of crisis we confront a decision that¿s usually long overdue! Thank You, Laura Day! Thank you for instructions on how to harness the power of the dread moment to push toward a new reality. It¿s just what I needed to create a positive change in my life. Welcome To Your Crisis touches upon the fundamental question of the ages: How much power and control do we really have over our life circumstances? As a Law Professor who routinely encounters and helps others deal with their crisis, the book is the gift that keeps on giving. Having learned the lessons of crisis transformation the old fashioned way ¿ one tear at a time - Day takes the reader through a series of exercises that enable you to move from crisis to stability in three easy steps. From there we are guided toward substantial personal growth, characterized as the outward reflection of our inner change. Superb! Inspiring and LIFE CHANGING to say the least. A must read in today¿s world of generalized chaos and impotence. Je suis bien dans ma peau. Professor Robin Barnes
Welcome to your Crisis is a revelation in simplifying deep change when it is most needed . Laura Day has been a respected intuitive and healer for many decades . her reputation in the field of intuitive insight and practical solutions is her true genius. Ms. Day in her own profound way has the ability to remind the reader of the 'basics' of integration. She is powerful in her simplicity . Laura Day's call is for the reader to take responsibility for their life and to integrate the daily response to change as an opporuntiy rather than a catastrophe. She knows as her personal experience was her greatest teacher in this area and she writes and speaks and teaches from magnificent experience. Her practical insights are the primary elements for making what might look like 'the end' become 'the beginning' of a new life with even more empowerment and healing. Since Laura Day has been featured on many national television shows for many years the response to her work has always been affirmative that her techniques of self enquiry and transformation are simple yet important. This book is a logical and brilliant sequel to her other best sellers and is a perfect companion to her last book 'The Circle' A quick browse through the book on the shelf will reveal to you the clarity it contains as compared to the overwhelming number of other boioks about self help and psycholgy and empowerment. This book is basic a must read Like breathing the basics are best to be remembered all the time. Just as breathing is important for life to continue optimally ,Welcome to your Crisis offers the simple and profound basics for rebuilding your life based on timeless principles put in contemporary words. bravo Ms day! it is always a joy to have your books as a resource in this journey of life. they are unique. And as all her books are Laura Day is 'practical' Elan Star Hawaii
This is by far the best book from Laura Day that I've read so far. Weather you are going through crisis or not this is a must read. She helped you learn how to deal with your crisis and any future crisis by helping you to figure out what type you are when crisis hits weather you are an axiety depression denial or anger type so you know when you are falling into that and that it's OK to go there once in a while but you have to pull yourself out if it. She helps you to deal with stuff on your own but she also says that you must turn to people for help or at least support and if no one in your life will do that for you then find a group or at least one or two people in the same situation that will help you. But, if you don't at least reach out to be then you might never know. If you are going through a crisis then getting this book is a great place to start.
Welcome to your Crisis is a must read for all. When life throws a curve ball why not use it to our advantage. Laura Day teaches us to rise to any occasion and look fear in the eye. Hitting rock bottom can be an opportunity for change. I learned from this book that any crisis can teach you more about yourself than when things are going ok. This book reaches much deeper than just an ok life. What needs to change in order to bring us up to the very top of where we would like to be? Laura¿s compassionate intuitive guidance is a gift and her wise words will help create positive change. After reading The Circle I received my simple wish. After reading Welcome to Your Crisis I can handle anything that is thrown my way now that I am the person I really wanted to be. Buy this book for yourself and anyone in your life that needs guidance for positive change.
Laura Day is an amazing guide and teacher in our world. She shows in this book, how we turn our most challenging moments into our new realities. The best thing is that she does not advocate some esoteric zen-like state, but how to work in the here and now with very real and practical results. A great book. Buy it for yourself and others!
This book points out something that I have long believed - your real time for opportunity comes in the midst of the worst crisis. Laura Day, who is an amazing teacher and guide in the world, really shows how to create the life that one wants, especially when it seems like that just won't happen. This is a great book easy to read, accessible and clear. If Laura Day has one real gift( i think actually she has many!) it is that she is grounded in the real and practical, and not lost in some esoteric 'this could happen to you if you get zen enough' place. This is a book for everyone. Buy it now!
Laura Day manages to turn the idea of 'crisis' inside-out. She explains that crises 'revolutionize' us by waking us up and inviting us to make decisions about our lives. In fact, as she says, the word 'crisis' and 'decision' actually come from the same Greek root. It's an easy read. I loved the helpful exercises and answered her questions in a journal. Laura is the goddess of simplicity and practicality, yet, at the same time, her work has tremendous depth. For instance, check out her discussion of the relationship between the four response types: anger, anxiety, denial, and depression -- it's clear, profound, real, and very useful. Many people live in crisis without realizing it, and this is part of what makes *Welcome to Your Crisis* such an amazing book. I want to give a copy to at least a dozen people I know right now who would benefit from Laura's affirmative, wise, and wonderful advice. Oprah and the rest of the world, read this revolutionary book!
I am a long time fan of Laura Day and her books. I found The Circle to be an amazing work of wisdom. It is clear and useful, and proved to me the power of positive, forward thinking. If you follow the steps you cannot fail to accomplish your goals and claim your own power. This book is a perfect companion to The Circle! And in someways it surpasses it. I found Welcome To Your Crisis to be a very clear and thoughtful guide to turning your life around. Simply put, it is magnificent! I read it from beginning to end in just two sittings. That's how accessible it is. Now of course, I must go back and take the clearly drawn steps, one by one. Laura uses her own life as example making it part autobiography. This structure at once draws you into her personal account, making what she is teaching resonate powerfully. All of the examples shown throughout the book of people she has helped or known, are powerul examples of how we can all better our own situations and must never give up. Whether or not you are currently in crisis, you have been at some point or other, and you will most assuredly be again. This book will give you the tools for the future by explaining to you how you dealt with your former crisis, and will help guide you out of your current one if that is the case. Every one should read this book for helpful illumination, and while you're at it, buy one or two extras to keep on hand to give to friends. This is a friendly book, giving it to someone would be a loving act.