In today’s ever-evolving environment, it’s not just difficult to make plans—oftentimes, it’s not even possible. Yet, there are tools that can help you effectively manage change and uncertainty. The key: tapping into your potential to trust yourself to discover new pathways.
Yes, it’s frustrating. And no, I can’t give you hard-and-fast solutions for coping with what’s at best, unpredictable and, at worst, chaotic.
“The questions are endless, and the answers are always changing,” organizational psychologist Nick Tasler recently told the New York Times. The key to mental agility, and not falling into an anxiety spiral, is to remind yourself it’s OK to switch gears.
As an Executive Coach, an integral part of my role is guiding people through transition. Here are some of the strategies I’ve found helpful.
Visualize the future. Tasler calls it “temporal distancing”—in other words, transcend the here-and-now. Fast forward 10 years and think about how you will want to remember telling the story. The first step to dealing with current stress and anxiety is to block out the noise and overcome mental barriers.
Embrace your resiliency. Think about all the other times you’ve had to pivot—personally and professionally. There has, and always will be, things totally out of our control. Put what you can change in one bucket; what you can’t, in another. Keep your focus on issues and situations where what you do can make a difference.
“The first step to dealing with current stress and anxiety is to block out the noise and overcome mental barriers.”
Be flexible. Identifying, evaluating and taking all of your options into account is mentally liberating. It can also open up new opportunities. I like to think of it as “the road less traveled.” You never know where it leads.
Do something—even when your world turns upside down. It can be small. Even a baby step. But taking action of any kind represents a willingness to adapt and move forward—not to mention, reinforces the idea that what you do matters. Making one decision at a time makes change inherently more manageable.
Self-care is not selfish. It’s mandatory. Be kind to yourself, whether that means picking up some herbs or simply taking a deep breath. Exercise body and mind—from meditation to marathons (or both).
Think of every challenge as an opportunity to excel. In my practice, I call it purposeful transformation—a process of exploration, self-discovery and achievement. At the end of the day, you want to not only accept change, but trust that it’s an invitation to grow and prosper.