If you had asked me if I was any good at dealing with uncertainty a few years ago I would have said yes sure! After going through the last year, I can now say I was kidding myself 😊!
This last year has been a real year of learning: As my comfort zone most definitely sits more in the ‘highly planned area’. Than the ‘let’s figure it out as we go’ type of approach.
I have discovered and utilized various methods – from ignoring those thoughts and just trying to live every day… Which lasts a few days max! To analyzing and writing down every thought, feeling, option and idea, hoping that will help – Which provides temporary relief, but ends up with my brain just going around & around in circles…
The other novel approach is trying to stay busy and tired in order to avoid thinking – also not very effective overall. This actually works for up to a month, as I have practiced and trained this technique for years! But inevitably ends with a big crash – It does feel great and effective (getting so much done!) short term, but is definitely just digging a far bigger hole.
The only real option is to try and accept the uncertainty, to be ok with not knowing. To let go of that planned way of doing things that I love so much. Which is definitely easier said than done. It means shelving worries and doubts, as often they are ones that I cannot answer with the information I currently have.
For example, this last month all the worrying and thinking about am I going to do an Olympic campaign again, or do I really want a VOR gig, or do I want something completely different like a ‘real job’. All options on the table, and not simple questions I answer. But also not ones I could answer until I had all the information in front of me.
I am not great at putting things like this off, I tend to resort to thinking in circles as my go-to approach. But eventually, by venting my feelings to PJ or one (or often a few!) of my friends and family – usually with a few tears on my part. I feel I have a clear mind again, and am ready to keep moving forward, even if forward is just waiting for the time being.
Looking back to how I used to operate 4 years ago, I would try and solve every problem I had in my head. I thought to ask for help with anything was a sign of weakness. I should be able to sort out my own issues by myself, right?
During the 8 years I spent with Polly and our brilliant psyche Jane, we slowly worked away at changing that mindset. Learning how to just share, to tell the other what was digging away at us – Not for the other to solve (this aspect is important) but simply to share it, to voice it.
To voice it you must be able to articulate it, and that requires looking at that feeling or emotion hard enough to see what it is. Then to share it always seems to lessen its effect. So that’s what helped me through this last year, being able to spit out those worries and fears I have had along the way to people around me that I know, I trust and respect.
For me at least, the uncertainty is coming to an end, I am making plans for the next months and further into the future… Will tell you more about those plans soon!