This Too Will Pass. But How Will You Experience It?

This too will pass.

You might know this phrase. It’s useful to help us get some perspective. To help us stand back from the moment that we’re in and remind ourselves that nothing is permanent. I’ve relied on it for many years as a way to help me breathe out. To see things more clearly. To relax into the moment. 

Last week, I used it to start a workshop with a room full of senior leaders. They’re facing a challenging year ahead. In fact, for many, it will likely be one of the toughest tests of their working lives. I’d been told by the organisers that there were a lot of people feeling very worried about what might happen in the weeks and months ahead. And as I stood up to speak, the worry was palpable, with faces tightened and brows furrowed across the room.

In sharing ‘this too will pass’ in my opening lines, my intent was to give them encouragement that they will get through this. As I said it, I could see many of them visibly relax and smile. ‘Yes’, I thought to myself, ‘I’ve hit the mark’.

At drinks afterwards, I was talking with the CEO. ‘This too will pass’ came up in conversation. He said “I prefer to add another line to that phrase. ‘And I’m up for it.’

He explained that ‘this too will pass’ as a standalone statement misses an important point. It misses the choice we can make about how we experience whatever ‘this’ is.

That hit me between the eyes.

And I’m up for it.

When we’re facing a moment, whether it be a challenging one or a joyful one, we’ve got at least two choices:

  1. We can choose to ride it out. We let things happen to us.
  2. We can choose to lean into it. We shape things to happen for us.

The first choice is missing personal agency. The second choice has personal agency at the centre.

Adding ‘And I’m up for it’ to ‘This too will pass’ reflects the second choice. It underlines that you see yourself as part of the experience, not simply a spectator of the experience.

And even if we said ‘And I’m not up for it’, we’re still exercising personal agency. There’s a choice being right there in that sentence.

When we exercise choice, we take our power back. Do you know those times? The ones when you make a decision. And as scary as it is, you know that it’s because you made the decision that you feel more powerful. Still scared, maybe, but something’s shifted.

Make the choice.

What scary moments are you facing right now? 

What scary things are you imagining might happen in the future?

What are you holding back from leaning into?

Name those things. Write them down now.

“I’ve got to have a conversation about redundancies.”

“I’ve got to call out that bad behaviour.”

“I’ve got to make a call as to whether I stay or go.”

Now add “And I’m up for it.”

And see what happens.

Cool. You’ve read this far. You’re here at the end of the post. This moment too will pass. You get to choose what happens next. Maybe write down your scary things. Maybe share this post. Maybe just get on with your day.

Over to you 🙂

For more like this, check out:

We Are All Fixed Term

The Moment of Choice

Leadership is Walking Through the Fog

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