All of us have the coping mechanisms to deal with small challenges in life. However, sometimes there are circumstances that are so overwhelming that we don’t have the ability to cope. That’s where Dianne Maroney’s Imagine Project helps people get through their greatest challenges.
Dianne is a lady who knows a thing or two about going through difficulties in life: As a teenage girl, she found her mother after suicide. Because of her alcoholic father, she had to learn how to take care of herself and live on her own from an early age.
Later, as a mother, she nursed her premature baby, born weighing just over 1 pound, into a strong, healthy woman. Dianne’s experiences had such a profound impact on her that she devoted 17 years of her life to caring for neonatal infants.
After seeing all the trauma that children were experiencing around her, Dianne decided it was time to do something else to make a difference. She developed a seven-step journaling process to give children the skills to cope with stress and trauma. But, her advice isn’t just for children. Here are a few tools that I picked up during my interview with her for the Unbeatable podcast.
Don’t get stuck navel-gazing
Dianne’s Imagine Project is built around teaching people how to put their own story on paper. She teaches them the power of journaling. If you’re not in the habit of writing down your thoughts regularly, I’m right there with you. However, there were points in my military career where I kept a journal during combat deployments. Putting words on paper helped me process the things I experienced on the battlefield.
I strongly recommend picking up the habit of journaling in 2022. However, I should warn you… journaling can be helpful or hurtful.
Some people already have this natural tendency to reflect inward and become so preoccupied that they can’t function well in society. This incessant navel- gazing can be debilitating. Journaling offers the power to put your thoughts onto paper; this is one of the very helpful aspects of journaling. At the same time, journaling also can become dangerous if you become so preoccupied and self-focused that you’re unable to relate to others well. Don’t get so focused looking inside that you can’t see what’s happening around you.
Be realistic AND optimistic
I love the fact that Dianne doesn’t use journaling as a retreat from the real world. She challenges people to face reality on paper in the Imagine Project. If you’re the type of person who likes to run from the truth, honest journaling will force you to admit what is really happening around you.
Unbeatable people are willing to confront the truth, but they don’t get overwhelmed by it. If you’re the kind of person that becomes overwhelmed by reality and your circumstances, Dianne’s approach to journaling can help you have an optimistic look at the future.
IMAGINE a better year
Dianne challenges people to start each journal entry with the word imagine. She describes why this word helps people have an image for a better future than what they’re currently going through. This isn’t a Pollyanna approach to your obstacles. Rather, it’s tackling your problems head on, while not allowing them to become so big that you can’t see a positive outcome in the future.
Most people who can’t see a better future don’t ever make the choice to face their greatest challenges. Don’t let the fear of tomorrow dictate how you live today. At the same time, don’t let today’s challenges make you lose hope that tomorrow will be better. Three times every day write down what you imagine your future to be over the next 30 days. This simple but powerful exercise will help you be unbeatable when the big challenges come this year.