The Sanctuary, Shaping And Success Approach

People who experience a setback often need time to heal. They may need to lick their wounds and begin to make sense of the experience. They sometimes take these steps by spending time in a sanctuary, shaping their future and getting success.


Some people use sanctuaries to rest and regain strength. They give themselves permission to sleep or do other things to revitalise their body and soul.

Some aim to find comfort after a loss or other event. They may cry, mourn or experience other emotions. Some return to their spiritual faith or inner compass.

Different people spend time in different kinds of sanctuaries. They may stay at home, listen to music or spend time in their garden. They may walk, exercise or do other things that help them to heal.

Some people try to make sense of their experience. Sometimes this is possible. Sometimes it can simply be to accept what has happened and begin to learn how to manage their emotions.

Some may also begin to focus on doing things they find stimulating. They may spend time with encouraging people or do things they give them positive energy.

Some then begin to follow a certain structure that enables them to feel more in control in their lives. They may follow a daily routine, for example, and get into the habit of getting some quick successes.

Imagine that a person has spent time resting, healing and regaining their strength. They may then move on to the next stage.


Sanctuaries are great for a while. But then it can be important to move on because otherwise the muscles atrophy. There comes a time to begin shaping one’s future.

Different people do this in different ways. A person recovering from an accident will begin exercising to build up the muscles. A jogger recovering from a mugging will start running in a safe place or with a friend.

A person who aims to shape their future may start by focusing on controlling the controllables. They will build on what they can control rather than what they can’t control.

Many individuals who re-take charge of their lives start by doing something physical. They start exercising, move house or do other things that will bring them a quick win. They follow one of the oldest rules regarding change:

Change the physical things to change the psychological things.

Whichever route they take, it is important for the person to start shaping their future by setting things up to succeed. This leads to the next stage.


A person will begin by setting short-term goals. They may take their first steps after an accident. They may do a piece of project work for a friend after being made redundant. They will do something simple to follow their version of getting back on the horse.

A person will plan things carefully, rehearse what they are going to do and then click into action. They will aim to be fully present, do their best and work to achieve their picture of success.

Going out into the world again can take a lot of effort, so a person may then wish to return to their sanctuary for a while. This is perfectly natural and will give them time to recover.

Feeling more confident, however, they will then take the next step in their life or work. They will aim to shape their future, set another specific goal and work to achieve success.

Let’s return to your own life and work. Looking ahead, can you think of a possible situation where you may want to follow elements of this approach? This could be in your personal or professional life.

What may be the specific situation? How could you spend time in your chosen sanctuary? How could you begin to shape your future? How could you then do your best to get a success?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to complete the following sentences.

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