Two terms I have used a lot over the last 2 months. Yet both self fulfilling prophecies. The more “stuck” and “in limbo” I describe myself, the more stuck and in limbo I became.
I won’t lie. I am in a period of massive unknowns.
First home owner. First pet owner. Building a business. Not knowing when or if I will have children. Not knowing when I’m working week to week as a freelance fitness instructor. Navigating the unknowns of business banking to open a physical premises. (I don’t do things in halves, all at once please!)
It can be so easy to let the black hole before us, paralyse us. To say, “I don’t know the ending therefore I shall not begin”. But let me tell you, even though the unease, the discomfort and the tears hurt, running away from possibility and back to predictability invokes just as unfulfilling a paralysis.
We have to have the courage to commit. We have to stop thinking we know it all and take a fucking step toward fear sometimes. Give yourself the adrenalin rush, the goosebumps, and the butterflies of not having it all figured out but going for it anyway. That is where we grow. And who wants to settle for “moderately OK”? Not me. I am a change agent, a rebel, a wanderer, and eventually, “moderately OK” bores me.
So here are 6-ways to learn to love the unknown, each of which I have done in the last 24 hours to turn around a fit of ugly, “I can’t do this” induced tears!
Return to the known
If it the unknown that scares us, let’s find solace in the known. I am loved. I am safe. I have a home. I have a bed to sleep in tonight. I have some savings in the bank. I have a new season of Masterchef coming. I always have somewhere I can turn to for help (even if I don’t choose to use it!). Bring yourself back down to earth by returning to the constants. You’ll soon realise your life will not go down the toilet today because you don’t know what is coming next.
Be the crazy bitch, then shake her off.
Sometimes the banshee just has to be let out. My advice? Move yourself away from your computer, your phone, your paperwork, the other people in your space, anything that influences or compounds your feeling of “I don’t know” and then let her loose. Cry, get snotty, scream, put your head in your hands. Give yourself 1 minute, 2 tops, then physically SHAKE HER OFF (optional Taylor Swift soundtrack for the process). Give the diva her time, acknowledge her and then pull the plug before she can dig her 6-inch stiletto heels into you.
Watch your language
Words are so powerful in their impact on the human psyche and motivation for action. Check yourself, are you constantly answering “How are you?” with “Good, but work is so hard I just can’t get ahead.” or “Slow, nothing seems to taking off.” or “OK, more red tape and hurdles to jump through at the doctor/bank/workplace/insert black hole”. Be honest, how do you feel after leaving these conversations. Pretty shit right. I am not saying to lie, to pretend it is all unicorns and roses when it is not but can you change your language to be more empowered whilst still honest?
“I’m finding health/money/work/relationships hard but I’m learning heaps in the process.”
“I’m so excited for [insert black hole] but I’ve got a bit ahead of me to get there.”
Even use it as a chance to ask for help (gasp! No, you don’t have to do it all yourself)
“I’m great but the [insert knowledge gap] is overwhelming me, you’ve been through that before right, what did you do?”
You’ve done it before, you can do it again
Now we’re grounded, the diva has been exorcised, and the negative-Nancy identified, it’s time to become your own inner cheerleader. And all good performances start with a pep talk. We have all faced the unknown before and come through the other side. Starting school. The first day of ANY job you have ever had. Travelling. First dates. Whatever you are facing now may seen insurmountable in comparison but give yourself credit. I am an agent of change, I thrive on it, so when the unknown tries to beat me down I stop and remind myself of how many times I have kicked-ass through change.
Remember the reason you’re doing this
Rather than focus on the unknown and what you don’t yet have or understand, remind yourself of the reason you were brave enough to step up in the first place. What things have you left behind that weren’t serving you to create space for something more? What conditions were you no longer OK with and intent on changing for your own happiness and wellbeing? What wasn’t working? Use this as another chance to get really clear on what it is you want. Every time I feel anxious about the unknown of starting, building and flourishing in my businesses I think about what I would be doing had I stayed in my corporate career. As I enjoy the perks of my own schedule, I am thankful not to be waking up with the trappings of routine, and riding the office monotony. If I feel defeated by my fertility tests not giving an answer, I give my furr baby an extra cuddle and consciously practice being more present with my husband as after all, this is all about creating something divine together so for now I’ll focus on us being divine together.
Make it fun
As Danielle LaPorte says “you can be in pain, and still experience joyfulness” and I deadset agree. Ask yourself what would this be like if it were fun? You are an adventurer after all. The discomfort may still be there, but can you find wonder and curiosity to make the continued exploration of unknown territory joyful? I also find it helpful to distinguish between fear and anticipation, they can feel quite similar but operate at very different frequencies.
For me finding joy is often putting aside the thing I thought I “should be” doing and taking on what is calling my curiosity. It might be releasing the push to solve the problem yourself, and entertain the idea of learning in a different way. It might be finding someone you really admire and asking them to help you through advice or collaboration. I know this can be really difficult, trust me, making the Sherlock Holmes search for the answer of infertility is not immediately fun but it is possible to inject some joy. A renewed closeness with my husband, exploring fertility meditation, meeting wonderful women in support networks - there is joy there if you only choose to lift the veil of hardship. You only need one step, not the whole choreography so make it a sassy one.
Are you ready to dance? Let me be your partner and guide the way through 1:1 coaching.