Mayday! Mayday! How to change course

by Molly Cantrell-Kraig on July 25, 2012

“When you’re stuck in a spiral, to change all aspects of the spin, you need only to change one thing.” ~ Christina Baldwin

This is good to know, especially if you are mid-spin in your life right now. Most of us fall into this category, because life is change, and change involves chaos of some sort. Chaos always accompanies change; it is only a matter of to which degree. Accepting that chaos will always be present actually makes it easier to bear.

Feel as though your life is spinning out of control?

When my daughters were little, I tried to parent by the KISS and NTK principles: Keep It Simple, Silly and Need To Know. By keeping things simple, I forced myself to boil the lesson at hand into its essentials:  what was the ‘takeaway’ I wanted my kids to get? When presented this way, it helped me to stick to micropoints and to address their behavioral issues systematically and precisely.

In terms of “need to know”? It wasn’t necessarily a secrecy-based theory; rather, it was more in line with giving my daughters information about any given topic in a way that they understood at the time. Overloading a lesson with stuff way beyond their pay grade muddied the issue and made it more difficult for them to learn.

From this, a couple of home-grown aphorisms came about:

  1. “If it doesn’t belong to you; leave it alone.” This simple statement covered anything from theft to breaking something they didn’t know how to operate in one fell swoop.
  2. “Bad things happen to people who panic.” This was my go-to, baseline framework I hoped to instill in them for when the Play-Doh hit the fan.

Trying to teach a kid how to meditate, assess and apply solutions is difficult. Teaching a kid to think first: ‘bad things happen to people who panic,’ before they act is easier.

So when your life is pinwheeling into oblivion, remember a couple of key points:

  1. Bad things happen to people who panic.
  2. In order to change your spin, pick just one thing to change. Physics will take it from there.

So many times when our lives are falling apart, we want to take a wrecking ball to the whole thing and build anew. Other times, we’ll prescribe a Geographical Cure and start afresh somewhere else.

Sometimes, these choices work. However, if they are not a viable option for you, today, right now, my advice to you is to quiet your mind and choose just one small thing over which you have control and change it.

In order to affect change, you must have focus. If this is a skill you haven’t honed, your first attempts at changing the direction of your spin will be messy. The good news is, like any other skill, the more you practice, the better you get.

1. Quiet your mind. Ask yourself, “What (or where) will the logical extension of this action (fill in the blank) in my life take me?

2. Is this my intent?

3. Is this acceptable? If ‘yes,’ then bully for you. Keep up the good work. If ‘no,’ proceed to question four.

4. Where do I want to go? Decide, and then WRITE IT DOWN.

5. What small thing can I change right now that will get me closer to where I want to be? (ie. omit something, change a habit, start a new one).

6. Implement that small change until it becomes a habit.

7. Lather, rinse, repeat.

8. Adjust course as necessary.

The more you practice this, the shorter the time lag between questions 1 and 7 become. You’ll be able to assess the need to change on the fly. Furthermore, you will become more in tune and aware of the need to change in the first place. Just knowing that something is off kilter is a skill in and of itself.

Remember, the Queen Mary is steered by a very teeny rudder in comparison to her overall size. Your life’s trajectory is similarly constructed. It is our own consistent actions, regardless of the size, that determine where we go.

Never underestimate the power of small things done consistently and well as a force for change in your life.


Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation) or “Like” us on facebook.


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