2020 is and will be one of the years where crap hit the fan! Wouldn’t you say? Each one of us has had to deal with uncertainty, unpredictability, confusion and especially those ‘end of the world’ GIF’s circulating around in social media. It’s as if the planet came to a screeching halt while orbiting around the sun. Yet, it kept on moving. Life moves on. We have to continue living our life and making plans, albeit with some modification.
At one time or another (prior to 2020), you may have been faced with uncertainty. In my personal experience, I had faced uncertainty when I separated from active duty military to become a civilian. All sorts of questions plagued my mind. “What am I going to do?” “Where am I going to live?” “Do I even have a plan and what if it goes to s*%!” (pardon my language, I really did think that!) There were internal skillsets and beliefs I had adopted to help me through that transition and that have continued to aid me during times of uncertainty, unpredictability, and chaos. I will share three strategies that have helped me despite being engulfed in craziness.
First, ask yourself, “What is in my immediate control right now, despite the circumstances I see in front of me?”
We too often give up our control to the circumstances that surround us. It’s easy for us to point the finger and blame what happened as opposed to assuming personal control of the situation. Recently, I was in a situation where my international flight to America was cancelled. I was stranded at the airport with my 7 year old daughter, our 3 suitcases, and no home to return to because we had already moved out of our place. I had no idea it was cancelled and now my thoughts immediately turned to panic and worry. Being on the phone, trying to contact the airline, I was panicking internally. “What if I can’t rebook another flight?” “What if I can’t find another flight?” and so on. As the minutes flew by, I was getting no where with the airline and settled on the next plan of action. “What is in my control right now?” “What do I need to do to ensure we’re safe so that I can have space to think about what to do?” My next plan of action was booking a hotel room for the night. And I did. I realized that regardless of what I saw in front of me (flight being cancelled, no home to return to, pacifying my whining 7 year old and trying to get through to the airline customer service with minimal success), I refused to play victim and instead took control. A drastic example but hopefully you understand the point. What is in your immediate control that you can take action on and move forward, regardless of the circumstances you see?
Second ask yourself, Who could you ask/seek for help or assistance?
The majority of us hesitate asking for help. Society views it as a sign of weakness when in fact, it’s a sign of strength. We can’t do it all on our own and we are not meant to. We are designed to help each other and support one another. Who could you reach out to and ask for guidance in what you’re struggling with? When I was transitioning out of the military, I was hesitant to seek housing help from family. I am a stubborn person and have always thought I can do it on my own. Boy, sometimes I need a piece of my own humble pie. I realized I needed a safe place to stay during my transition until I got myself secured with a job so that I could afford a place on my own. I swallowed my stubborn pride and reached out to my brother to ask if I could stay with him temporarily. When we decide to put our tail in between our legs and ask for help, you will be surprised how many people will come to your aid when asked.
Lastly, in situations of uncertainty, fall back on your innate skills developed throughout your life experiences and perhaps the military (if you served).
When we go through certain challenges that require us to grow and reach new levels, we learn from experiences. It’s also through repeated repetition that we develop these skills to rely on when everything goes awry. In a way, it’s like muscle memory but in your brain. It’s these established brain pathways that have been repeated time and time again. It provides a ‘safety net’ for us to fall on.
For example, when I was in the military, I couldn’t tell you how many times we would have the day’s agenda planned out in morning muster and half way through the day, the scheduled changed and we had to be flexible with the changes. It happened…often. That taught me the skill of being flexible and adapting to the situation. Now as a civilian, when uncertainty arises in my life, I know I can rely on my ability to be flexible and adapt to the situation because I learned it initially in the military. In what situations have you learned essential skills that are helpful during times of uncertainty and unpredictability?
Although there are several dozen methodologies on how to handle situational uncertainty, I feel implementing these three strategies will provide useful results and give you a sense of control. And if we can feel a sense of control, we know that, at least briefly, everything will be alright.
Judy Skilling is a High Performance Coach and U.S. Navy Veteran. She is the author of “5 Hidden Military Skills to be a Successful Entrepreneur” which you can get here. She has a passion to help military and veteran entrepreneurs achieve next level results in mindset, productivity, and wellness. You can find her at www.judyskilling.com.