Thriving in Uncertain Times
Thriving requires perspective.
If you’re reading this post, it’s probably because you are “bobbing and weaving” as you do your best to surf the waves of change that just keep coming. You’re not alone! We are ALL finding our way in a world that is significantly different than it used to be. Sit down, take a breath and let’s sort this out together.
First, here’s my take on what thriving looks and feels like. When people are thriving, they. . .
- have a positive outlook
- feel personally powerful and successful
- are resilient and open to being a lifelong learner
- find creative ways to make important things happen
- feel confident about their ability to be successful
- are flourishing and growing
- see themselves as “weebles” — they may wobble but they don’t fall down
Second, recognize and remember that it’s a rare person who finds they are able to feel and do each of these things every day. What’s more “normal” is to know that each of us has good days and not so good days. There are many reasons why people struggle to believe it’s consistently possible to feel like they can thrive.
Ongoing change impacts our ability to thrive
The world of work has shifted and is still in a process of transition. Just to name a few things, we’re finding our way with remote work, hybrid schedules, “The Great Resignation”, “The Great Regret”, ongoing changes in policies, direction, corporate goals and performance expectations and work that’s increasingly complex. No wonder we all feel anxious from time to time!
The world outside of work is also shifting. After two years of learning to cope and live with pandemic conditions, I hear from clients that at least on some days, they’re experiencing exhaustion and burnout. How about you? The path from exhaustion and burnout to thriving starts right where you are. It’s like living a “choose your own adventure” story! What story are you telling yourself about your ability to thrive?
To expand your perspective, “do your work”
Are you willing to put time and energy into helping yourself grow? If that’s a yes, then I have some reflective work for you to do. I promise you — what you learn about yourself as you “do your work” will help you feel more grounded and positive about your ability to move yourself more toward thriving. I suggest working on these ideas one at a time and in whatever order feels right for you.
Ideas to get you started
- Clarify your purpose in your role at work AND in your larger non-work life
- Reflect on and consider changing some of the ways in which you do your work
- Look at and consider changing how you are spending your time, energy and attention to ensure you get and stay focused on your “big rocks” and most important priorities
- Think deeply about your primary relationships and the people you struggle to work and live with. Like most of us, you probably have some relationships that sustain you and help you grow. Others may be awkward and difficult. You may need to work on setting relationship boundaries that support your ability to thrive. Remember, with boundaries we teach people how we want to be treated
- Get crystal clear about your “end in mind” goals and create a workable plan to make your goals a reality
- Learn to relax and trust your strengths, gifts and character to help you move through uncertain times with less stress, more hope and an openness to the possibilities that change and transition ALWAYS present
Reach out to your network for insight and support
Sharing your thoughts on this work with a trusted friend, colleague, boss or a coach or mentor would also be a great idea. I am continually surprised and humbled by how much “stuff” I miss seeing that others are able to help me make sense of and understand. Being “stuck” and NOT thriving in life is like wearing a VERY dark pair of sunglasses — all of the time. With our “shades” on, it’s easy to miss a lot of “stuff” that’s getting in our way. The good news is that we can develop our sense of agency to CHOOSE a more positive path forward at any time. All we need to do is be willing to start where we are and take things a step at a time.
Additional skills and qualities to help you thrive more and worry less
It helps if you can look at thriving in a whole-person or whole-hearted way. It’s hard to thrive in your life if you are not thriving at work, and it’s hard to thrive at work if you are struggling along at home! In ALL parts of your life, strengthening these skills and qualities will help you support yourself.
- Staying productive in spite of ambiguity
- Communication skills
- Conflict management skills
- Confidence and competence with having “difficult” conversations
- Demonstrating empathy and patience
- Setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries
- Practicing self-care (nutrition, exercise, sleep habits, time management)
- Emotional Intelligence skills
Know that choosing to thrive in uncertain times requires courage, patience and persistence.
Wherever you are in your journey to thriving in uncertain times, stay focused on the things that you can actually do something about. Then take small steps to DO them. As the Buddhist nun Pema Chodron teaches. . . “The future is made up of what we do right now.” When you find yourself struggling to find your balance in a world that just keeps on changing, take heart and keep facing forward.
Remember that change is a process, not an event. You can help yourself thrive if you. . .
- Focus on becoming more self-aware and knowledgeable about yourself. Develop a clear, compassionate, accurate perspective of your strengths, gifts and areas for development. Check out your perceptions with people who live and work with you. Others may see and experience you differently than you see yourself. Their insight and feedback can help you grow and develop.
- Be courageous enough to develop a plan to shore up your areas that need it.
- Surround yourself with people who will support AND be candid with you about what they see you doing well and not so well.
- Finally, work your plan. Break down big goals into small, doable steps that will move you forward.
Life is all about the journey and the choices that we make along the way. As a Coach, I work with people wanting to be their best self, do their best work and live their best life. If you could use help with moving yourself forward, let me know how I can support you.