Dealing with Uncertainty
Many athletes I have been chatting with are all saying the same things. We don’t know what our season will look like, or if we will even have a season. They say it in a deflated state because everything is just so uncertain. Uncertainty breeds self-doubt, worry, anxiety and fear. These emotions hold us back when it comes time to perform. We are so unsure about what the next few months will look like that we may feel paralyzed and not even sure where to start. To me that often feels scary and overwhelming.
What can we do with this uncertainty?
1. Acknowledge it
Saying it out loud is more powerful that you might think. Sure, there is nothing we can do to fix it, but it brings those thoughts out from the depths of our minds. These thoughts lurk around and pester us; this is what gives them power. When we can acknowledge the uncertainty, call it out by name, and say, ‘I know you are there. I see you.’ then the power starts to deflate (this is something I struggle with quite a bit).
2. Focus on what you can control
Much of our anxiety and stress right now are rooted in things outside our control. Therefore, it is imperative to take a step back, assess exactly what you can control in this moment and focus on those things. True, you don’t know what will happen with your season but you can control the workouts you do at home in place of training. You can control the attitude you bring to team meetings. You can share a laugh with teammates to lighten the mood.
3. Use past accomplishments to remind yourself of your capabilities
There is so much doubt about the future, but you have overcome adversity in the past. Think back to a time when you mastered or defeated something; you gained skills in doing so and proved that you have what it takes to succeed. The same is true here and now. Yes, this is the first pandemic you have faced, yet you can use those experiences to know that you will get through this too.
4. Take action
Once you have calmed your mind, you must make an action plan for how to deal with the uncertainty. A good plan will focus upon the things that are within your control and beginning with action that will help you right now. It could be drinking a hot tea, it could be sitting in the sun, it could be reaching out to people for support, or it could be realizing you are doing all you can do, and truly being okay with that.
Currently, I find myself uncertain about my financial security (like MANY people) living in a foreign country. I hold a part time job that could cut hours at any time, my vehicle is in the shop, rent is due, and I am overwhelmed. This is how I process using the steps from above:
1. I am feeling financially overwhelmed, wondering how much longer I can pay my bills.
2. I can only control a few things: I can be conscious of how much I am spending, I can enjoy the sun when it is out. I can apply for jobs in the area. I can enjoy my friends.
3. I have overcome financial stresses in the past, so I know I have the ability to make things work. I have done it before; I will figure out how to do it again because I am resilient.
4. My action plan is to work hard when I am at work, ask for more hours if possible, smile with my co-workers and enjoy the beautiful place I am in. I will apply for other jobs and use the extra time to develop Liz Lucas Coaching.
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Here are some photos from my last couple escapes into the woods
I wish you courage and strength as we move through these uncertain times