Dealing with Change and Uncertainty

One thing that we know is certain about the world, in fact the only thing that we know is certain about the world is that it is constantly changing and that we don’t know what is coming next.

Some change is gradual, some can happen in a nano second.

Some change is slight, some  turns your world upside down.

Some change just affect you, some affect the whole world.

There has been a lot of change in my life over the past few months. Some of it I chose, some of it I didn’t.

At the same time each and every one of us, especially in the UK have been left in complete uncertainty. We know big change is coming thanks to Brexit and that it is just around the corner but we honestly don’t know what it’s going to be or what its going to look like.

Don’t worry this blog is absolutely not about Brexit, there are enough people throwing their voices into that debate. This is about what we can do to look after ourselves at times like this.

Even with Brexit put to one side for a moment a lot has changed for me in the near past.

  • In the background for the past year or so I have been watching as my parents have separated and started to work towards a divorce
  • My family home has been put up for sale
  • I have sold the car I have owned for nearly a decade
  • I have started a new job
  • I have changed up my power lifting training style
  • My social anxiety has become a very real presence in my life again

I don’t list these to shout about how much I have going on. This list is in reality a pretty standard list of the kinds of things that we all have going on, its a snap shot of what a lot of us are dealing with day in and day out. We may go through lulls and quiet periods, where it seems you have found a long term rhythm to your life, but there is always some kind of change around the corner. At school the form we were in and classes we took changed every year. Now we are adults, things are often less predictable, there could be a new boss around the corner or your favourite coffee shop could be about to shut down.

Don’t forget we change as people too. The person I was yesterday is not the person I am today and it won’t be the person I am tomorrow. With every experience we have, everything we do, everything we learn we all change a little bit. Sometimes these changes will be for the better, sometimes they’ll be for the worse. I once read that we all overestimate how much we have changed  in the past but also hugely underestimate how much we are likely to change in the same time span in the future. Maybe that’s because the past seems so ethereal compared to where we are and how we feel in the present or maybe it’s because on some level we trust that we are getting closer and closer to working out who we really are and who we want to be every day.

Alas we don’t always change for the better and that’s ok, sometimes we go through rough patches when we aren’t quite the person we want to be.

As I mentioned I am finding that my social anxiety is worse at the moment. I’m still doing ok with people one to one but once I’m facing a group its a different story. Even with individuals the list of people I feel comfortable with is getting smaller.

I’m finding that I want to be on my own more and do my own thing in my own way.

I think that is for a few reasons. Number 1 I know myself, always know what I am thinking and what I am going to do next. Other people are unpredictable and there is always a back ground uncertainty about what they are going to do and what they aren’t thinking, particularly about me, I’m always terrified of what negative things people may be thinking about me. I think there is another layer to it as well. If I keep people at arms length then I can’t really ever loose them. I do feel like I have lost a lot in the last year, a lot of people, a lot of friends, even valued work colleagues. 

For now reverting to being more of a lone wolf is what I’m going to have to do.

But that’s just for now. I’ll find my way back just as we can all find our way back to somewhere better when we aren’t our best selves. What your get back to will look different because the world isn’t going to stand still waiting for you but it isn’t going to be any less awesome for that.

So what do we do when the world is changing around us? When we don’t know what the world is going to look like a month from now. I’m afraid I don’t have a guaranteed magic bullet that will help us all glide along as everything around us moved and shifts, I don’t think anyone does, but I do have something that helps me to ground myself as things change around me. Its about finding that single thing that you can keep constant for yourself:

  1. Every month or so take time to reassess what your single biggest priority is  (maybe that’s updating your vision board, maybe its journalling or maybe you know without even thinking!)
  2. Use this as an anchoring point for your life through all of the change

It won’t always be easy and it won’t always go smoothly, but it will give you a centre of gravity to cling onto, something that can stay more constant while the world around you is changing.

For me right now, the biggest priority is my training. Every week I take stock on whether I am achieving what I want to with it and adjust if I need to. Its not been as much of a success as I would have liked. Keeping it on the straight and narrow is proving difficult at times because I now work longer hours, and I have more specialist kit in my training programme so certain days often have to be done in specific places. I’m finding ways around it. I know which gyms close when, I know what exercises I can do where. During the week I train where I can train latest at night so that I can get the most done. At weekends I’ll take the opportunity when there is more time to catch up with people at other gyms. If all the chips are down then I use the  less well equipped commercial gym at work to mop up any additional exercises. So there are ways round it, its a work in progress but I am getting there, its getting a little tighter each week and I intend for it to stay as my priority for some time.

What priority are you going to make sure keeps moving forward to give you something to ground yourself as we move through these uncertain times and find out what change is coming our way?

It’s likely to look completely different to mine.

Maybe you are going to make sure you get that novel written.

Maybe you are going to make sure you play with your kids for an hour every night.

Maybe you are going to save enough money to finally buy that house.

None of these are better or worse options than the other, we all have different priorities and hopes and dreams, and rightly so. The world would be very boring otherwise.

Get out there and find out what your thing is.

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