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Look For The Light

The situation in Haiti is appalling.

It is virtually impossible to break away from the news, it is on the television, the front page of the newspapers, on the radio, in the Twitter stream I follow. The images, the sounds, the stories…it is overwhelming.

But before the earthquake in Haiti struck, what occupied our collective attention? Was it the swindle or terror attempt du jour? The war, or scandal, or the crotch-bomber or whatever the crisis of the moment, imagined or real? I don’t remember, there were so many. It is important to know what’s happening, but what is the potential effect of that constant bombardment of bad news?

And most importantly, in what way does this bad news help me to live better, right here right now?  

It doesn’t.

As a solopreneur, my emotional energy must be managed differently than other people.  I need to protect it in order to invest it as fully as possible in my projects. It’s like they say in the airline safety briefings: first put the oxygen mask on yourself, then help your neighbor if required. I need to ensure that my emotional energy level is healthy, then I can give some to others.

Mixed in all this media attention is a not-so-subtle pressure to donate money and possibly time to relief organizations. If you have energy or resources to spare, please do so. On the other hand, if your business is taking all your energy, such that you have little to give to the relief efforts, that’s okay. Don’t feel guilty. You are still contributing to making the world a better place.

You can also find ways to integrate your business with giving, creating a win-win situation. But again, if you don’t want to, or you’re not in a position to do so, don’t let others make you feel guilty.

We have a responsibility to ourselves first, to make sure we have that emotional oxygen mask on, that we’re breathing correctly, that we’re emotionally healthy. Our clients, our families, our community – they are counting on us to stay focused and strong. By helping to make my corner of the world a little better, it enables others to do the same…and I believe that the ripples will reach out and help everyone in need, whether here or in Haiti.

For a couple of years now I have been programming my own media mix, using podcasts, GoogleReader, iTunes, Twitter, Facebook and some online video and news sources. I’m still hyperaware of what’s happening, but I feel I have more control to block out ads and negative news. I choose my media sources and my social media friends carefully, to keep me plugged-in to positive, inspiring information, which fills up my emotional energy tank to be there to help my clients and to invest in their success.

Resist giving into despair and guilt. Look for the positive, be inspired by the good. Look for the light.

I’m not saying to ignore the bad in the world. To see the light one must also recognize the shadow.

Just beware not to become obsessed with it.

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Photo credit: Janex & Alba at http://www.flickr.com/photos/janex/. Permission: Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Johanne Gagnon February 18, 2010, 09:57

    Very true Davender We have a responsibility to ourselves first, to make sure we have that emotional oxygen mask on, that we’re breathing correctly, that we’re emotionally healthy…..great post

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