When it comes to the “hard seasons” of life—the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job—transformation seems impossible when grief and uncertainty dominate your days. Especially when, as Didn’t See that Coming reveals, no one asks to have their future completely rearranged for them. But, as Rachel writes, it is up to you how you come through your pain—you can come through changed for the better, having learned and grown, or stuck in place where your identity becomes rooted in what hurt you.

Identify the New You

Speak your truth, every day

Have the courage to admit who you’re, even if it’s only to yourself first. When you claim a new identity of yourself, you’ll always wear something daily as a reminder of your truth. For example, Rachel wore this little cheap bracelet on her wrist stamped with the word count of her manuscript when she so desperately wanted to be a published author. Nobody else knew what that meant but every day she looked down and saw the bracelet, it was a reminder of who she believed herself to be.

Create boundaries for yourself

Every time someone in your life does something to upset you, it’s because you’re being selfish to admit it’s hurting you. This is when you need a boundary because there’s no greater negative attribute than being selfish. Remember you are who you want to be. You’re n charge. This means you’re free to say ‘no’ to things that you do not feel. Be willing to draw those lines for your own good.

Acknowledge that identities evolve

People can and do change. Sometimes we do because we’ve outgrown the identity we started with. Sometimes we do because something life-changing happens. Evolution is uncomfortable but that’s normal. Frame ‘change’ as a positive attribute to move forward with your life.

 

Stop Questioning Your Suffering

Set your intentions for your journey

The older you become the more you understand that you get to choose how you do anything. Identify how you want to show up to yourself, your friends, family, coworkers. Go so far to explicitly list how you want to care for yourself, where you need to hold firm to boundaries and who you want to become for people you care the most.

Get yourself a judgement-free zone

Accountability? Yes. Judgement? Never. Although we’re all on an individually journey, it’s important to have someone to process with: judgement free. The more you try to bottle thigs up, the more pressure grows until it burst, causing way more damage than you’d just the courage to admit it in the first place.

Go first

Start opening up to the people around you to see if there’s any there there. This doesn’t mean you have to reveal every thought and feeling – after all, not everyone is at the place in their journey to welcome authenticity. But you can test the water to see if some people in your life are just as willing to be as real as you are.

 

Let Go of Guilt

Pretend you’re counselling someone else

Printed the thing you feel guilty most about is actually done by someone else, and imagine that friend of yours has come to you to share what they did exactly what you did. They’re sick with shame and trying to get over with it. What would you tell them? Chances are you’d be way more gracious and likely more constructive when giving others advice than you are with yourself.

Remember good people can have bad thoughts

Just because you’re having petty, small-minded, greedy thoughts doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Love focusing on the kinds of thoughts you want to have but you must not be ashamed of the very real, human thoughts that are in there too. Emphasis on being ‘human’.

Remember good people can do something bad

It’s wrong to think that a human being, having made a bad decision, is now locked into that decision and unchanging for the rest of their lives. We are ever-evolving being and you will continue to change over time. You are whoever you chose to be and only you’re ultimately responsible for what that looks like and how it will turn out.

 

Try on Another Perspective

Ask yourself if this is real

Our minds are incredible and if you’re not careful, just thinking about the possibility of something bad happening can make us feel as if something bad has happened. Asking the question might not make the feeling evaporate but it gives you a ground to stand in the present and start processing clarity.

Step outside of your perspective

Once you know the reality, it’s time to separate yourself from your emotions. Everyone who has suffered from panic or anxiety knows how easy it is to be controlled by the emotions you’re having. So, this detachment is key to sperate your identity from your emotions. Even a momentary pause can give you space to make the shift you need.

See if you can make the opposite true

See if you can find a way for the opposite of what you’re thinking to be true. Once you have the newfound perspective, you’ll start challenging the beliefs you’re clinging onto and forces you to see the obstacle differently.

Aim yourself with examples of the perspective you want

You are an average of the people you surround yourself with. If you want to be great, surround yourself with people who think and act the same way. Look for people who fill your awareness with positivity and light. You need the influence of others to remind you that life can suck sometimes but it’s also pretty damn awesome.

 

Change Your Mind About Getting Better

Research specific problems

Instead of googling ‘best books for personal development’, focus on the areas you’re struggling with the most. There’re countless approaches to learn about things you’re going through and that abundance of choice can feel overwhelming at times. So, dig in to the topic you need, not just the category.

Learn in the way that works best for you

If you try to absorb in a way that works for others but feels hard for you, it’s a waste of time. You may love to read but others may get easily bored. Maybe you want to research podcasts on a topic but others may prefer watching a YouTube video. It doesn’t matter how you take in as long as you do.

Try a different approach

One of the telltale signs of a fixed mindset is thinking that things won’t work out after you try one time. After you make a change to get past a hard issue and it still doesn’t work out, don’t’ assume something is wrong with you. Aim for the same thing but try to do it differently. Keep trying different approaches until you stumble one that helps.

 

Hack Your Courage

Know that you can figure it out

If you do something wrong (which you inevitably will), learn a way to do it right. You’ll become less afraid overtime. Always remember that you can try again in a different way until you figure it out.

Study the courageous

Until you can do it yourself, read about others who have done it before you. Learn to be a better parent. Learn to be a better entrepreneur. Learn to be a better person. There are so many examples of leaders and warriors who fought valiantly for the things they believed in.

Face your fear already!

The longer you hesitate the bigger the fear becomes. Fill in the blank: “the thing I’m afraid of most right now is…” Follow up with this: “If that happens, I’ll…”. After that answer: “And once that happens, I’ll…”. Keep asking yourself and try to come up with answers. So much of your fear is unknown because you haven’t given yourself a road map for your hypothetical scenario.

 

Show Up

Get the kind of help that you need

You have to figure out what works best for you and what help you need most, even if it doesn’t make sense to others. Every single one of us respond to stress in different ways based on a ton of different factors.

Never let them see you run

A lot of people might disagree with Rachel, but if you’re having a hard day, she wants you to go into your room and have a good cry or a glass of wine or scream into a pillow. But she doesn’t want your kids see that you’re struggling. It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to accept your feelings but you’re a leader in your family, business, community and it’s your job to create stability for the people you’re responsible.

Be fanatical about managing your stress

Take care of yourself first to show up well to your family, business, community. You can’t pour from an empty cup, especially in the times of crisis. The kind of self-care you need every day is staying hydrated, eating healthy foods, taking your supplements, staying away from social media and most importantly, getting enough sleep.

 

Get Real About Your Finances

Finances can be learned

No doctor in the history of the world has declared a baby “It’s an actuary!”. Nobody, including Warren Buffet and Janet Yellen, ever came into this world with financial wisdom. They have learned thousands of things over the course of their lives and you know what means. You can do that too.

Understand your financial perspective

By understanding the way, you behave with your money, you’ll be able to catch yourself whoever you’re inclined to avoid your financial reality. If you have bad feelings about money, is it about the past that has made you feel this way? Were you raised to hold a particular belief about money? Answering this is powerful to shape your perspective about money.

Get guidance

If you weren’t raised to have a healthy relationship with money, then it’ll likely be helpful for you to have some guidance. There are countless advisors and so many ways to go with. But Rachel has always thought Dave Ramsey and his team are an incredible resource especially if you’re a newbie.


If you like this summary, I highly recommend you to grab the hardcover here.


Kyaw Wai Yan Tun

Hi, I'm Wai Yan. I love designing visuals and writing insightful articles online. I see it as my way of making the world a more beautiful and insightful place.