We’re all having to navigate uncertainty and change in the face of COVID-19. There’s a new “normal” that might feel anything but. You may be feeling as though you have less control over your career now. You might be concerned about the livelihood of yourself, friends, or family members and the economy in general.
It may feel like you have no control over the direction things are taking. I understand. Yes, when it comes to COVID-19 things are changing rapidly and that can bring about feelings of uncertainty.
I believe what’s coming up for so many is having to confront a fact that has always stood the test of time—whether we have chosen to accept it or not—we cannot predict the direction life will take us. This is actually the only thing that is ever certain.
We may have felt like we had control over our health + safety a month ago and that control has all but disappeared today. The truth is we didn’t have it then, we don’t have it now, and we won’t have it 5 years from now. There is and will always be uncertainty.
So, we continue to practice risk management and solve for obstacles as best we can. Haven’t we always? You bet I am wholeheartedly putting into practice recommended precautions related to social distancing, handwashing etc. You bet things are different. You bet things are uncertain. Why shouldn’t they be? When were we ever told that life would be certain or predictable?
So, what do you need to be thinking now in order to show up to your life in a way that’s helpful to it? You want control? Start here. This is the only thing you CAN control. Start with something small. Pick one thought that brings you comfort, clarity, or something you feel you need now. Think this thought.
If you’re feeling completely paralyzed with anxiety, or indecision, or fear, ask yourself why. If you’re thinking only fearful and anxious thoughts you’re going to feel scared and anxious. Pay attention to what you’re feeding these emotions and perhaps feed them something different for a while. Fear needs to be fed to survive. You can choose to feed it less. This might mean being more intentional with how you’re spending your time right now. Would you feel better limiting your time consuming the news? Social Media? Panicked people? Ask yourself what you’re feeding by doing these things. Are you feeding hope? Are you feeding stress? Pay attention. Then choose what’s helpful.
Are you juggling working from home for the first time? Maybe you have kids, a spouse, or other family also at home and things feel like a circus. Focus on what you need to be thinking in order to show up in a way that's helpful. This you can control.
Perhaps you're still heading off to work each morning buts it's far from business as usual. What can you practice thinking to help you focus better, serve others, and do your job well while taking care of your needs and the needs of those you care about?
Here’s what I have to offer you now. Here are my suggestions for 3 Small Ways to Deal with Career Uncertainty During a Global Pandemic:
1. Pay attention to what you’re feeding your brain. Fear feeds fear. Hope feeds hope. Once you identify what you’re feeding your brain, consider the reasons why. Do you like your reasons? For example, if you’re feeding your brain extensive media coverage of COVID-19, ask yourself why. If it’s to stay up to date, get honest with yourself about how much you really need to consume to do that. If it’s because you’re thinking you might miss something important, consider whether you are feeding into unhelpful hysteria that’s making you spin out.
2. Pay attention to what you’re thinking. Fearful thoughts feed fear. Hopeful thoughts feed hope.
3. Decide how you want to feel right now. Feelings don’t just happen (I know it seems like they do!) Your feelings are caused by #1 and #2. Always.
I’m over here doing the same, paying attention to what I’m feeding my brain, to what I’m thinking. I’m taking my own suggestions but if what I’m offering seems like too tough of an ask, start with just being gentle with yourself. Keep eating, keep sleeping, get some fresh air and show yourself compassion in a situation that is new to us all. It’s not the time to worry incessantly about how productive you’re being. It’s okay to do it wrong because there’s actually no “right” way to do it. You’ll know when you’re ready for something more. Cut yourself some slack.
In the meantime, I’ll be over here working on trying to fall a little bit in love with something about this new way of being. Even the smallest thing each day. That’s all it takes, even if some days I don’t find anything. On those days I will rest and know that hope never hides for long.
Sending love to all.
p.s. My coaching is always done over the phone or via video only so it’s business as usual over here! So, if you’re feeling uncertain about your career or it’s time for a change, let’s get to work. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman or what you do for a living. Coaching is just the thing if you’re feeling like you need to do something about your work but feel stuck, scared, or uncertain about what to do next. If you think you might be ready to go all in, schedule a free consultation HERE.