How To Navigate Life With Greater Ease & Clarity
On Sasha Plavsic's 30th birthday, she found herself standing outside in the midst of an uncharacteristic thunderstorm in Southern California. In an almost cinematic way, as the rain fell, she had an awakening that she wasn't on the right life path and didn't want to embark on her next decade feeling unfulfilled. So, she quit her promising job, ended her relationship, and moved back home to live with her parents in Vancouver where she got a job in a local shop.
Her decision to gain clarity in the small sea-side town she grew up in soon led to another awakening; This time, when her mom asked if she knew what was in her lip balm. Learning about the toxic ingredients in many skincare and make-up products led Sasha on a quest to create a safer line that aligned with her personal values. For the last eight years, her company ILIA has been a leader in the non-toxic make-up industry, which it's played a significant role shaping.
I was particularly grateful to spend time with Sasha as I think her perspective on life is an inspiring example of how to move through our own with greater ease, clarity, and intention. To her insight, "Our mind can either be our best friend or our worst enemy," she helps us develop habits to bolster the former. We chatted about how we can learn to overcome challenges with less attachment to outcomes and more to progress, the importance of changing your mind, and why we need to redefine success by focusing on personal happiness. I've been relying on her thoughtful approach to overcoming challenges, so I wanted to detail a few parts of it here with the hope that it may be equally helpful to others. You can hear the rest of Sasha's great advice in our podcast.
Learn to choose the best possible outcome
Seeded by her father and father-in-law Sasha operates with the belief that: There is a solution to every problem. "It may not be the one that is most desirable but nothing stays the same. So, if there's a problem, it will pass. How you choose to solve it is the action you're applying to get to the best possible outcome," she says.
I especially appreciate the way she distinguishes between 'your most desired outcome' and 'the best possible outcome' and the way she acknowleges the agency we have in every situation: 'There will always be times when things don’t happen the way we think they should. You can’t just repeat: This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. You have to choose how to respond. The way you choose to act in those moments will be remembered by you and the people around you.’She shared three tips to help make the best choice:
— First, when possible, move quickly and don't dwell on the situation. Every challenge has ripple effects that influence you and others. Strive to manage them before they cause real damage.
— Be open to considering different paths: The ability to change your mind is a skill to be cultivated and admired. As Sasha shared, "I don't care about changing my mind. Getting to the best possible result is the most important thing."
— Gain perspective: Circumstances always feel more significant when they're happening. This is a helpful way to zoom out in the moment: "When you're knee deep in a major situation, pause and ask yourself: How much is this going to affect me a year from now? Five years from now? Will I even remember it in 10?"
In most situations, we're often surprised when we end up answering 'no' to all three, or at least the last two, questions which makes this exercise a useful way to decrease unnecessary stress. For more significant situations, Sasha adds: "It may feel like the worst moment of your life, and while you may never forget it there are ways to process it and move forward. You have to, or you'll stay stagnant."
The third, and often forgotten, step of overcoming challenges
I particularly valued the third part of Sasha's approach to overcoming challenges: Assessing and accepting the situation, choosing the best possible outcome, and then personallyprocessing it.It's tempting to move on when things appear to be solved externally, but, as I learned from Sasha: A problem isn't solved until you've emotionally processed it on your own.
"It's easy to just keep going when something major happens and you're surviving moment by moment. You feel like getting in touch with your emotions is going to weaken you," she shares. "But where there's an adrenaline rush there has to be a recovery period. You have to honor that and allow yourself to feel. It holds you back in many ways if you don't."
As someone who rarely acknowledges this step, I particularly appreciated Sasha's take on it and hope her insights on overcoming challenges will be similarly valuable to all.