We are experiencing a long period of exaggerated uncertainty. When will work / college go back to normal? When can I go out and once again meet my friends and family? When will I be able to travel and explore and love again?
I wish there were answers. I wish that someone could tell us when this would be over and things would go back to normal.
You are probably working or studying from home. I hope you are with family or loved ones. I hope you are safe.
I want to tell you this -- you are amazing. You are handling this madness like a champion.
No matter how difficult you are finding it, and how many times you break down every week (I do), you are doing much better than you think you are doing.
Let me explain. Have you found yourself doing any of these things during these crazy, uncertain times:
Did you call someone and who needed your time and attention and help them feel a little less alone?
Did you support your family with additional daily chores?
Did you try learning something new?
Did you put your creative energies to use by making art, music, writing, cooking or anything else?
Did you take the time to cleanup some parts of the house?
Did you volunteer to help help someone in need?
Did you close your eyes and genuinely pray for someone in need?
Did you feel really low and reach out for help?
Did you exercise your mind and body to stay fit?
Did you do what best you can to counter negative thoughts and emotions through prayers, chanting, meditation, mindfulness, etc
Did you read or watch content that makes you feel positive and strong?
I bet you said YES to at least a few of these. In fact I'm 100% sure you did. And thats I why I'm telling you now -- you are amazing. In these times, you have not given up or let go. You have not allowed yourself to go into a downward spiral. You have fought back. You have lifted yourself.
Even if you went into a downward spiral, the fact that you are
Take a few moments now. Close your eyes and think of the little things you have done in your own way to cope with this crisis. Do it now.
Now pat yourself on the back. Don't just read this and imagine it, physically pat yourself on the back.
You are strong. You are loving. You are a capable.
I have been working closely with people for a long time, and let me tell you I know this for sure - you are unique and you are amazing. Everyone is.
It's very very very important to recognise your own goodness, your own strength, and your own capacity to love. This is the foundation for everything good in life - career, relationships, and meaning.
I know what you are thinking now.
But, I gave up when....
But, I broke down when...
But, I cribbed and cried when...
But, I was mean and selfish when...
But, I became negative and worked up when...
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you did. So did It and so does everyone else. I'm not going to say the cliched thing that 'It's ok'. It's not ok. But it happened. So now what are you going to do -- keep punishing yourself? Give up on yourself? Curse and humiliate yourself? Seek sympathy and hope that someone will come to save you?
No one is coming to save you.
You have create yourself. And you are already doing it. Shift your focus to what you ARE doing, and lessen your focus on the things you aren't being able to do. Try and do a little better next time. Figure out how to cope better. Learn how to get stronger. Practise more, work better, grow deeper and higher, open your heart and mind. Do all that. You will still fumble and fall, and then you will get up again.
The human brain is designed to survive and not really to thrive. This means that for our predecessors 50,000 years ago - it was much more important for them to remember the colour of the poisonous snake that bit their tribe member, then to notice and be inspired by the beautiful patterns on the wings of a butterfly.
This has changed now. It's much more important for you and me to learn to thrive, rather than just to survive. Our environment is not filled by threats like it used to be. Our environment is filled with opportunities, possibilities and global communities of people who are willing to help each other!
Stop focusing on what you are doing wrong, and start reminding yourself of what you are doing well.
Here are seven strategies I wish to share with you to help you cope with uncertain times with strength:
1 - Make a worry journal.
Acknowledge your distress. Write down how you are feeling. Tell someone about them if you feel comfortable. Make a list of ALL your negative thoughts and update the list daily!
Writing reduces the power of negative thoughts and increases the power of positive ones!
2 - Make a journal of inspiration
Thoughts, ideas, drawings, stories of people, things and and thoughts that inspire and energy you. Keep adding to it as you discover new things and most importantly - look at it often!
3 - Open your mind to possibilities
Everything is changing - business, education, social life -- everything is changing. I can't emphasise this enough. Open your mind and look around to see the sparks and patterns.
Times of great distress are also times of great opportunity.
4 - Connect with 'transformers'
Whether they are friends, family or mentors -- some people always fill you up with energy and possibility. They ask you good questions, they don't judge your responses, and they always think of possibilities. They are dreamers but they are also doers. Find such people and hold on to them.
These people are transformers of human energy. You too, are that for someone.
5 - Do 'blue-sky' thinking
Whether it is your career, your business or a social project, uncertain times are the time to do 'blue-sky' thinking - 'anything is possible' kind of thinking. Don't allow your mind to get overly limited by practicalities. Consider even the most unimaginable outcomes. Give them your time and energy. Look for alternate forms of education and learning, new possibilities of work, whacky ideas to connect and relate with people. Explore.
In certain times focus on growth, in uncertain times focus on discovery.
6 - Start building capabilities for your future self
In normal times it's ok to identify your job, your career, your goal, and then work towards building the necessary skills and capabilities. In uncertainly it is the reverse. Start building whatever capabilities you can, you are inspired to, and you feel like. Start. As things evolve you will discover where and how you can use them!
So, whether you like coding, or art, or dance, or hosting events, or analysing data, or writing poems, start building your capabilities. Go deeper with them.
7 - Look for coaching and mentoring opportunities
It doesn't have to be formal or paid. Good people are always out there looking for someone to share their knowledge, wisdom and expertise with. You just have to put yourself out there and find them. You have to make yourself available. Find opportunities to volunteer, to work, to help - you will find this world opening up for yourself. Keep your eyes open - you probably already have some good mentors around you. Open yourself more to them.
You are doing amazing. Trust the strength you have and build on it.
You are beautiful. Don't allow anything to make you feel otherwise. Keep smiling. Sometimes we have to force ourselves into the physical act of smiling. Do it now🙂
Thank you for sharing your energy with me by reading this letter.
Looking forward to hearing from you whenever you feel like it.
Lots of Love