To say we’re living in uncertain times might be an understatement for some, depending on whom you talk to. In the past 25 years, as a globe, we’ve experienced some of the world’s most devastating natural disasters from hurricanes and forest fires to economic recessions and political impacts that have made history.
We’ve survived them thankfully, we’re still here and today, many may be asking a familiar question:
How do you thrive in uncertain times?
While we may still be early in what remains to be unknown with COVID-19, the outpour of how to care for one’s self and each other is overwhelming in the best way. From small and large organizations to individuals spreading words of optimism, inspiration and hope you can be sure to find a message that will lift your spirits if nothing else.
Surviving any global economic, environmental or social impact like much of what the globe has already experienced and what we are all experiencing currently, takes more than just “getting by.” It takes resilience and a conscious effort to care for yourself in mind, body and spirit first and foremost in order to thrive.
Thriving in an uncertain time calls for a commitment to yourself, then to others around you to step up and show up, forging ahead with unwavering faith trusting that ‘this too shall pass.’ It’s also not only focused on the practical and sometimes complex choices we have to make to keep the lights on in our business, and rather a focus turned inwards to keep your mind and heart in check so you can lead with confidence, clarity and ease.
Let’s face it, if you aren’t caring for the wellbeing of all things that make up the human being that you are, you won’t be able to step up and lead your organization through these turbulent times. And at best, you’ll likely put forth a fraction of what you’re really capable of towards your business if you’re not caring for yourself in the way that you deserve to be.
As human beings, we’re programmed to plan and find comfort far more playing in certain than uncertain times. Yet with the unpredictability that life often brings (and has brought), it’s those uncertain times that can trigger fear and anxiety and call us to be prepared to operate in the most.
It’s no surprise that the biggest message we’ve heard since the start of this global pandemic has been “stay home” oh and… “wash your hands.” The ‘bigger picture’ to the self-isolation we’ve all been experiencing is a rude awakening to many who are being re-introduced to themselves. Yes – you’re meeting yourself in new ways and perhaps you’re also viewing your relationships in new ways as well, with your significant other and your children.
Not only has the world slowed down significantly, but we’re learning new ways of being, living, connecting and that’s just as individuals. Our businesses are also being stretched to finding new ways of operating, having to be far more resourceful, creative and innovative to say the least.
There’s a reason why you may have heard over the years from health practitioners alike, meditation teachers and countless practitioners in the personal development space, who have encouraged the importance of cultivating a practice for a healthy mindset and the importance of connecting with your heart and spirit. Remember, we have a body, mind, heart and spirit. They all require care and attention; ignoring one is like cutting off a limb saying, “I_ _d_o_n_’t_ _really use this limb that much, so I_’l_l_ _just cut it of_f_._” _
We are human beings and not machines. Fortunately, everything that makes us human is important and cannot be removed, although a disconnection is a sad outcome to ignoring any of those parts of us.
This isn’t some wishy-washy here’s how to stay positive encouragement. These very practices – emphasis on the word practice, are meant to help you be prepared for times just like the one we’re in now. Where you can tap into those tools, techniques or strategies that can help you thrive in uncertain times. And when you can do that for yourself, you’re equipped to then support those around you to do the same and better yet, lead your organization from a place of feeling secure and certain of your own wellbeing.
Our external reality leaves very little for us to control, yet we are always in control of how we choose to feel and care for ourselves.
Here are six ways to help you thrive in uncertain times.
- Honour what comes up and take witness – without ignoring real emotions around fear, anxiety, sadness, anger or frustration. Be a witness to what comes up for you and honour them for the very real emotions that they are. It’s OK to acknowledge your uneasiness with your loved ones and teams and relate to the very human aspect of what many of us are feeling. Once you can name what you’re feeling, give yourself permission to process it and make a choice in how you want to feel instead.
- Focus on your personal values, mission or ‘why’ – what get’s you out of bed in the morning? What’s your ‘guiding light,’ your mission or ‘why?’ If you don’t have one (not your company, your personal one), then that might be something to reflect on. When times are turbulent, bringing your attention to a core value or mission can keep you centred and focused on what’s in your control and continue moving forward.
- Fuel and nourish (on repeat) – the same way you feed your body nourishing and healthy food regularly or if you’re making specific changes to your eating habits, your mind and heart need to be nourished and fed as well. Feed and digest sources whether it’s what you’re listening to or reading that is nourishing and fuel your mind with supportive, helpful or empowering information.
- Create a daily ritual or routine for yourself – challenging times that are full of ambiguity and affect the way we live can be overwhelming, to say the least. Having a daily practice or routine we can come to can help restore a sense of calm and allows for a part of your day to be completely devoted to YOU. Whether it’s a daily meditation or journaling practice, pick a time of day that works best. Morning is ideal as it’s a great time of day to set the tone of your day and make that time just for you to cater to yourself. No distractions, no scrolling on your phone or surfing the web. Just time to sit with yourself.
- Learn to listen then lead – there’s a nugget of wisdom I always come back to. When I find I’m ‘pushing’ myself to do something that my body or heart is trying to tell me otherwise, I ask myself in any given moment “what do I need right now?” We all ‘want’ things but they’re not always what we need. The smallest change in words from want to need can make a huge difference in the way you respond to a decision or choice you may be faced with. Note, there’s nothing wrong with wanting anything, but this comes down to listening to what we’re so often ‘doing’ for the sake of ‘doing’ or because we think we have to. Listen to what you need and lead from that place.
- Adapt and Flex – resistance is one thing I’ve heard from those who are driven, results-oriented or ‘busy’ bodies. I’m guilty of this one too! It’s also a way we ignore the natural flow of what life is trying to teach you or in some cases – scream at you. The whole world is on pause and has slowed way down in the last few weeks. Embrace it, adapt and be flexible. Again, for yourself first, so you can then lead others on how to be flexible and adapt to changing times.
There may not be one clear way or one size fits all in learning how to thrive for a ‘long-term win’ especially in times of uncertainty. Yet, there’s a tremendous learning opportunity the world is offering right now that we can take in how we can begin to do things differently to help us thrive.
What can you commit to starting today that will help you thrive in the long-term?
Let me know in the comments below. You never know who may need to hear from you so don’t be shy!!
To thriving yesterday, today and tomorrow… for the long-term win.
Lisa De Nicola is a Corporate Consultant & Performance Coach dedicated to helping businesses humanize their workplace culture and guiding professionals who are lacking clarity, refocus, gain a sense of direction and tap into their inner wisdom. With a passion for people and connecting with others on a deep level, she’s also Usui Reiki II certified where she helps people restore balance. Lisa consults and partners with growth-minded organizations to help leverage their biggest resource – their people and works with professionals who are committed to their self-development. She loves to write for both business and pleasure and shares her insights on a variety of topics across business and personal development.
Image courtesy of Trent Szmolnik.