(Hang in there; this one is long, but worth it!)
Last week I gathered with a small group of entrepreneurs in my home. Many shared they have been feeling a sense of sadness—almost a mourning—that the world as we know it is gone. It feels as if we’re headed into a brave, new frontier and are literally creating the tools for navigating this new unknown landscape moment to moment.
We’re facing unprecedented levels of change, uncertainty and chaos. In this post 9/11 era where economic volatility has become a mainstay, we’re juggling parenting our parents, managing dual-income households, navigating globalization and living farther away from our families, fighting off digital overwhelm and in many cases, dealing with fallout from natural disasters.
In addition to all these outward changes, we’re also being called to transform internally. Humanity is undergoing huge consciousness shifts and many of us are feeling the call to evolve and embrace a New Way of Being.
Across the board, the majority of my friends, colleagues, clients —and even my own family—are all navigating uncertainty and experiencing some type of transition right now:
- Erin, the executive director of the nonprofit board I just joined, is waiting to hear on a large grant that could change the course of his organization—and education for at-risk teens—forever.
- Ann and Jeff just received the shocking news that their unborn child has Down Syndrome and will need heart surgery within the first month after her birth.
- Nicole is interviewing for her first job out of school, is scared, feeling insecure and is unsure about what her future will hold.
- Doug and his family are waiting to hear if his last round of chemotherapy will wipe out the latest cancerous cells they found in his small intestine.
- Mary and Greg are waiting to hear from a federal agency on whether they’ll receive the support they desperately need to assist their special needs child and his development.
- After retiring, Ellen and Steve lost all their savings when Steve got sick and their health insurance didn’t cover his hospital stays; now, they’re looking at how to re-enter the workforce.
- Husband-wife team Sonya and Joe are wondering when they’ll receive payment from their consulting clients and if a check will arrive in time to cover their mortgage and utilities this month.
- My brother Rob is in job search mode after being suddenly laid off and is curious where he’ll land next (and how he’ll support his family in the interim).
How do we keep our sanity—not to mention sense of inner peace—in the face of so much change?
For many of us, living in the unknown can often feel worse than receiving actual “bad news” (i.e. news that is contrary to what we want!). It can conjure up the old “waiting for the other shoe to fall” feeling. It can feel unsettling, elicit a loss of control and challenge the illusion we all hold dear that we’re in charge!
After putting our son to bed last night, my husband and I explored this theme. Yes, we agreed, a layoff can bring up a lot of fear when you don’t know what your life will look like months from now or if you have enough in your bank account to cover your bills.
But, if you’re willing to keep breathing and stay with this feeling, there is also a place within the unknown that is exhilarating, fresh and filled with potential and re-birth. If you can move out of “paralysis by analysis,” living in the unknown can be an incredible opportunity for spiritual, personal and professional growth. Sometimes I think we need the reminder that it’s ok to outgrow your old clothes and try on something you never thought was your style. Who knew there were gifts that could come from times of uncertainty?!
Living in the unknown can provide you with the opportunity to:
- Examine your values (what’s most important to you?) and be willing to explore life from the inside out
- Practice gratitude: giving thanks for all you do have; a daily gratitude practice shifts your mood faster than anything else!
- Define what happiness really means to you (your answer may surprise you!)
- Identify your anchors and what you need to truly rejuvenate and deeply nourish yourself
- Live more in the present moment (right here, right now is the only true stress-free zone)
- Tap your introspective side: step back and take time to explore your fears and barriers to success
- Pause and examine how you see things (do you play the “what if” up game or the “what if” down game; are you an optimist or a pessimist?)
- Build a support network: get comfortable asking for and receiving help
- Imagine the possibilities: are you open to expanding into an even better life/job/relationship/business than you ever imagined?
- Serve others, volunteer: nothing pulls us out outside of ourselves faster that working in a soup kitchen
- Embrace your body: breath work, yoga, conscious movement are essential tools to staying grounded in uncertain times
I am working on finalizing my next book.
And while I have a publisher and sense for how this work might unfold, I’m also clear that I’m heading into a whole new wide-open space of possibility. And I am relishing the deliciousness of this voyage into the unknown!
How about you? Are you willing to explore the gifts that come from being in a state of limbo?
April Homework Challenge:
Consider reflecting on the following three questions as you sit with uncertainty:
- Is there a time in my life where something that appeared to be “bad” turned into the best thing that ever happened to me?
- When in my past have I felt most alive? What were the circumstances?
- Looking at the bulleted list above, which practice best supports me in breathing through uncertainty and finding my center?
As you journey forward, be gentle with yourself, take baby steps and keep asking for and receiving help.
We’re all in the same soup pot. Don’t be afraid to mix the carrots with the peas—it’s inherent to our nature to be interdependent. And it sure does make the journey a lot more savory to huddle around the campfire in good company. I’ll save you a spot.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on how you navigate uncertainty. Dialogue with us via my blog The Journey or on my Live Inside Out Facebook community page.
Take good care and we hope to see you at an upcoming spring event—Renee and the Renee Trudeau & Associates Team firstname.lastname@example.org 512-459-6700
P.S. Interested in the work we’re doing and want to find out what resources we offer for support? Check out our new overview of services, learn about one-on-one support and view past Life Balance Newsletters.
Upcoming Events and Training:
- April 13 Friday 9:00-1:00 p.m. Empowered Entrepreneur: Business Visioning Retreat with Renee Trudeau. Casa de Artistas, Austin, TX. Take some time for reflection and to pause, pull back and plan before you leap! Gain clarity and focus on how/where to direct your energy, explore how to leverage your brilliance and diversify revenue streams. Enjoy guided support and leave inspired, focused and ready to move into your business, confident and clear. Led by small business coach, entrepreneur and author Renee Trudeau at a small, quiet, private retreat center in Austin. Details/register. This fills so quickly, so register today!
- April 27-29 Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance: A Women's Self-Renewal Retreat, Esalen, Big Sur, CA Nurture and nourish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Tap the Transformative Power of Self-Care. Led by nationally-recognized career/life balanceexpert, coach and author Renee Trudeau at beautiful Esalen. Ideal for women in career/life transition. Details here. Complete packages start at $555.
- April 1-30 Personal Renewal Group Online Facilitator Membership Are you a therapist, coach, parent or birth educator, leadership consultant or women's empowerment advocate who loves supporting women and helping them nurture their emotional well-being? Join an international community and facilitate self-renewal groups/retreats for women based on the award-winning The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal. Learn more. Or, click here to find a Personal Renewal Group in your area. Spring special! Enter 50 OFF in the coupon code field to receive
$50 in savings through 4/30/12.
- New Way of Being™: Let Go, Embrace Flow and Love Your Life A national telecourse for men and women led by Renee Trudeau. Are you done with overwork, overwhelm and ready to discard your old habitual ways of working and being? Would you like to de-clutter, simplify, learn to leverage the power of self-care and step into a more spacious, free work/life flow? Join Renee as she supports, guides and coaches you into a new way of being and helps you access greater peace and harmony in your everyday life. REGISTER HERE (Class downloads/materials will be sent to you via email).