“When am I going to get through this?” wailed Sally in our intuitive reading session. “I’ve been praying, saying affirmations, and visualizing like crazy and I still don’t have a job!” It’s something I hear on a regular basis. When you desperately want something to happen, it never seems to come fast enough.

Is there a secret to achieving huge results quickly? Can I speed up my success? Is there a lesson to be learned before a goal is accomplished? Why does it seem like manifesting and Law of Attraction is working for everyone else except me? Sound like you?

In my ideal world you would receive a small box at the beginning of a crisis, neatly tied with a bow. Inside, it would have three pieces of information:

1) Here is the lesson you are meant to learn by going through this particular life challenge.

2) Here’s what you could do to make this time in your life easier.

3) Here is the end date to your current crisis.

Details would follow each of the above. For example, after #3 it might read: “On May 15 of next year, you will…have a wonderful job…meet your soul mate…experience a miracle healing…win the lottery…successfully end your court case… fill in the blank!”

When You’re Doing Everything Right

Oh, if only life were so easy! How do you wait? What do you do when your life is on hold… seemingly forever? Like Sally, you may feel like you’ve been set adrift on a vast ocean, praying for rescue and yet still not seeing signs of land or help. Every one of us has gone through times when progress appears to stall, stop or even go backwards. Yes, even the people who have achieved great success. It doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. It’s also not a “sign from above” that you are destined for failure or that you’re on the wrong track.

The honest truth is that setbacks, disappointments and outright failure are often part of the bumpy path called life. These crises challenge our way of thinking. They get us to try new things, to look at life in a whole new way and to gain strength in our weak areas. Life disasters test everything about us but can ultimately build courage, inner wisdom, faith and integrity, as well as clarity about our dreams and intentions.

Notice Your Persistent Thoughts

If you’re like most of us, it’s difficult to wrest your thoughts away from your current misfortune. It may be your rapidly dwindling bank account, a job loss, a spouse’s infidelity, a health challenge with your child, or any combination of situations that threaten your hard-won peace of mind. You simply find yourself scared, aggravated and anxious. Your mind is filled with negative thoughts like, “I’ll never be good enough,” “Things don’t work out for me,” “I must be doing something wrong,” or “I’ll never get out of debt.”

You may recognize the fact that thoughts like the above simply breed more counter-productive thoughts and feelings. You’re putting your focus on what isn’t working. The Law of Attraction states that we attract life circumstance based on what we’re predominately feeling and thinking. Let’s take the statement “Things don’t work out for me.” When that persistent thought runs through your head all you can see is evidence that supports it. “I got overlooked for a promotion at work. I didn’t get a raise. My son is getting a ‘C’ in math at school. My husband is coming home late. My car needs repairs...” Stop! It’s clearly time to shift your thinking!

A Magnet for Success…or Failure?

When you think negative thoughts you attract more negative thoughts, negative people, negative experiences, negative results and yet more negative thoughts. Who needs that? Certainly not you or anyone else who wants to turn their life around and create success, peace, joy, abundance, love or any other wonderful situation!

So what can you do when you find the external circumstances of your life seemingly not going in the right direction? Start to put the focus on what is working. Even in the midst of crisis there are moments of joy. Here’s the big secret to turning life around; begin to notice the good, wonderful, surprising and precious things that are currently happening in your life.

Shift Your Thinking

How do you do that? Let’s take our friend Sally, who is concerned that her prayers for a job are not being answered quickly enough. Her work experience had been in public relations. When I listened to her talk about her day, it was a litany of complaints. “The traffic was awful on the way to that job interview and I know I wasn’t even considered for the job because I was late.” And, “I went on four interviews at the same company last month and they didn’t even have the courtesy to tell me they gave the job to someone else.” She added, “The economy is so awful. Everyone with my skill set is getting laid off so I probably won’t even find work in my field.”

Nothing was going Sally’s way. I listened to her complain and rant for about ten minutes. Simultaneously, I was checking in with my own intuition about how I could be of assistance to her. I knew that she was blocking her own inner wisdom that was seeking to show her some new avenues for abundance and success. I suspected her negativity was overriding all the positive inner wisdom her intuition was trying to provide.

Finally, I held up my hand and said, “Sally, what good things are happening in your life right now?” She stopped suddenly and stared at me as her eyes welled up with tears. She spoke slowly, “I’m a single parent. I have a son who is nine and I just adore him. He’s the love of my life. This period of unemployment has allowed me to spend more time with him. He’s doing better in school. The teachers have noticed a huge improvement. He’s making friends and seems to feel more at ease with himself. I wish I could get a job with a flexible schedule so I could be there for him even more.”

“Pushing Against” Versus “Allowing”

Sally continued talking about what she was grateful for and what she really wanted in a job. It became apparent to both of us that finding another high-pressure public relations job was not an ideal situation at this time in her life. As she softened while talking about her son, she spoke about having a desire to be self-employed, to make her own hours and work from home.

I could see and feel the energy shift as she talked about this idea. Feelings of enthusiasm, relief, excitement and interest are ways that intuition communicates. Sally was exhibiting all of these. “What’s stopping you from doing this?” I asked. She started to sputter about the bad economy, layoffs, you-name-it, and then caught herself. She said, “There isn’t anything in my way. In fact, a small company I interviewed with last month asked me if I’d be willing to work on a freelance basis instead of full-time. I guess I just wasn’t open to the idea. I could start there and take some strategic action to add a few more clients. This could work!”

I heard from Sally a few monthslater. She reported that she was handling the public relations for two small companies on a freelance basis and was about to add a third one. I loved what she said, “I look back at those months of unemployment as a gift. It was horrible and painful to go through, but I’ve come out the other side with enough joy and stability to make it all worth it. I realized I had been taking a lot of action towards something I really didn’t want – the high-pressure job. The pain of that experience really forced me to go beyond my comfort zone. It gave me permission to do something I’ve always wanted to do. If I hadn’t been forced to the wall, I may not have taken the risk. I’m not making as much money as I was, but I know things will get better. For both me and my son I’m glad that it all worked out. Life is a pleasure now.”

You may feel like a trapeze artist in these “in-between” times. You’ve let go of one bar and find yourself hurtling through space hoping to catch the next bar where you can hopefully rest safely for a while. The space between is often filled with fear, anxiety and desperation. Will you get to reach that next bar safely? What can you do when your own life is in this natural, yet uneasy place?

Take Daily Positive Action

Creating a big change in your life can be downright overwhelming. Where do you begin? This is the biggest hurdle for most of us. Don’t give up on your dream because the path from here (where you are) to there (where you want to be) seems too daunting. Commit to taking at least one action each day that will lead you in the direction you want to go. Ask your intuition, “What could I do today that will help me __________?” Fill in the blank with your current goal. Pay attention to any thoughts or ideas that feel interesting, fun or have some energy to them. Then take those steps!

What would you be saying to yourself a year from now if you’re thriving, successful and flourishing? Some people like to record these statements. Others find it effective to imagine friends, relatives and colleagues congratulating them on their success. You can also write notes to yourself acknowledging your victories. Play with this. It’s meant to be fun and not tedious. It can be a wonderful way to acknowledge your greatness while you’re on the often-uneven path to success.