We are in the midst of uncertain times. I’m sure you have noticed. Rapid changes in technology have us scrambling to understand how to do things we never imagined a few years ago. There may not be more disasters and crime, but we certainly hear about them more quickly than ever. There is a new level of economic uncertainty all over the world. In the United States, there is the uncertainty of who will lead the country and in what direction over the next few years.In my own life, there seems to be an unprecedented occurrence of disease and dying around me. In my circle, two people have had children die; three people are now battling serious cancer. All the change, disruption and uncertainty is causing me to pause and do some serious reflection.
Years ago, I had my own battle with cancer. It was the most uncertain time of my life as there was always someone else or something else calling the shots on what was happening to me. All with no certainty of the outcome. What I discovered in that time was how much it helped to focus in on what I could control. Typically, what I could control was only what I was thinking about. One of my favorite “mind games” was to pretend the hospital rooms were rooms at an elegant spa. I think others thought I was crazy, but it really worked!
The reason I tell you about this is to encourage you to look into yourself for some answers if times are uncertain for you. Tap into your own potential for self control. Watch what you eat or make sure you get exercise. Set limits on your working hours. Express your love more clearly. Whether you decide to focus on controlling how you think about something, on your behaviors or on the patterns you have established in your life, I encourage you to step up your level of self control.
Self control is like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it is. Try starting some regular workouts of your own self control muscle and you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish. You’ll also discover that the uncertainties around you start to fade into the background. It’s actually a process of creating your own circle of certainty amidst the world’s chaos.
I hope you enjoy this month’s feature article on Uncertainty. Please let me know if you plan to join me in upping your self control this month!
Nothing is as constant as change.
That’s for certain. We all know change is a natural way of the world. Leaves turn color, the temperature drops, snow falls, people age: all things change.
These are changes that you can expect. There are also changes causing uncertainty and doubt that you can’t predict. These surprises can make you feel like the plastic blow-up clown of our childhood days that had a rounded bottom: whenever you hit it, it wobbled back and forth. That’s how you can feel with all the uncertainty of today.
Studies have shown that happiness and control over one’s life are directly proportional to each other. In other words, the more control you have over your life, the happier you will be.
So in times of uncertainty, how can you remain happy, centered, and peaceful?
One way to approach uncertainty is to become more certain of yourself. Seriously consider who you are: your gifts, your values, what you hold dear. This is the time for honesty, not modesty. Are you able to truly express who you are? If so, in what areas of your life? If not, how can you become truer to yourself? If you have a hard time honestly assessing these questions, perhaps talking with a trusted relative, friend, or professional can help you take a fresh look at yourself.
Dr. Seuss said it beautifully: “Be who you are and do what you want because those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind.” If you are not being yourself, who is?
This focusing on who you truly are will enable you to respond to life with more certainty. When you are centered in yourself, your foundation is stronger. You won’t rebound like the clown, but instead will be better able to adjust to changes that roll your way.
Another way to approach uncertainty is to set goals for yourself, which can support you in growing more certain of yourself. What dreams do you have? How can you work towards them, and thus create more certainty for yourself? Create a timeline; chart a life map; collage a vision board; write a letter to yourself dated one, two or five years from now telling what you have accomplished. Then put it some place where you can see it regularly so that these dreams and goals will remain at the forefront of your mind, not buried under all the minutia of the day.
The world is changing rapidly, and some of our basic paradigms are changing with it. Are there old perceptions, ideas, and beliefs that you can release? For example, old postures of duality and division (us versus them, right versus wrong, etc.) are rooted in fear. The purpose of such postures is to keep people angry and on the defensive. Fear breeds more fear; it always works!
Our global village can’t sustain this black-or-white, conflicted way of thinking. Focusing on what connects us to each other rather than what separates us is what will serve all of us in our world community. This type of perspective leads to greater understanding of yourself and others, which in turn leads to greater compassion, unity, and peace. All of which lead to less uncertainty.
Another paradigm that many hold is the need to be in control. Truth is, you are only in control of yourself (and sometimes that is only on a good day!). Realizing that there are situations and people that you cannot control can be a great relief. This recognition doesn’t necessarily make change easier, but it can reduce your worrying about it. As the saying goes, “Worry doesn’t strengthen tomorrow, it weakens today.” When you let go of controlling things and people you cannot control and focus on your control of yourself, you gain certainty.
Certainty has an important place in these times of change and uncertainty. But you can’t look to others to create that for you. You must look inside to find the steps you need to create your own confidence and certainty.
What do you know about yourself for certain?
How can you use your own goals and plans to increase the certainty in your life?
What old ways of thinking are holding you back?
How can you exercise your self control in some new way this month?
The Discomfort of Newness~From The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo
Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom. – Kierkegaard
Perhaps the first time we experience such a disorientation is when we learn how to walk, when we move away from the wall or chair, away from the guiding arms of Mommy or Daddy. Certainly, the ability to walk is worth that discomfort in transition.
It happens again when we first fall in love, when we first move our care beyond the walls we are so accustomed to. Likewise, the ability to love beyond our walls is well worth the dizziness of taking new steps.
The truth is that every fresh experience has this dizziness of freedom that we must move through. Every time we reach beyond what is familiar, there is this necessary acclimation to what is new. It is the doorway to all learning. We needn’t be afraid of it or give it too much power. We simply have to keep leaning into what we are learning.
When you can, watch small birds fly. Note how sudden winds cause them to dip and swerve and how they adjust and keep flying.
Breathe deeply, and know that your heart is such a bird, and that its dips and swerves create a discomfort of newness that you have no choice but to experience, if you are to keep flying.
INDIVIDUAL COACHING BY PHONE
Want to stop that feeling that life is passing you by?
Would you like to able to experience your life as an exciting series of adventures?
Would you like to feel more joy and achieve more success?
That is what I help my clients develop in their own lives. Working with a coach helps you overcome the challenges that can keep you from a successful life. Coaching gives you a companion on the journey; someone with whom to discuss events as they unfold and to help you move toward joy in the adventure. Developing clear goals, focusing intently and staying committed become possible.
If you aren’t sure and would like to explore whether coaching is right for you, please send an email to Janet@lifeadventurecoaching.com or call me at 828-691-4655 for a complimentary consultation.