Are you moving through a career, relationship or health crisis or challenge? Are you in transition and asking “What’s next?” Do things seem particularly intense for you right now? For many of us it feels as if we’re headed into a brave, new frontier without a map, and we’re being asked to evolve and create new tools for navigating this new unknown landscape as we go.
If you take a bird’s eye view, there’s not doubt that collectively we’re facing unprecedented levels of change, uncertainty and chaos. In this time when economic and political volatility has become a mainstay, we’re juggling parenting our parents, navigating career changes, dealing with the realities of globalization and living farther away from our families, fighting off digital overwhelm, facing fallout from natural disasters and the list goes on.
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 navigating uncertainty and experiencing some type of transition right now. So how do we keep our sanity—not to mention sense of inner peace—in the face of so much change? (Read Is Crazy the New Normal?)
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 overwhelm and challenge the illusion that we’re in charge!
After putting our son to bed last night, my husband and I talked about this theme. Yes, we agreed, change can bring up all types of fears. 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 swirling 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
- Practice mindfulness and live more in the present moment; right here, right now is the only true stress-free zone
- Explore your contemplative side: step back and take time to reflect and examine 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 (read more)
- 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
- Feel so you can heal: breath work, yoga, conscious movement are essential tools for navigating uncertain times
Are you willing to explore the gifts that come from being in a state of limbo? Life is continually shifing: chaos, order, chaos and so on. This week I’m playing with the concept of being just as comfortable with the wild unknown as I am with those forces in my life that ground me. I’d love to hear how you navigate chaos. Please share in the comments section below.
TAKE ACTION: Having support while navigating a transition makes all the difference in how you experience the journey. Tap into our Personal Renewal Groups, individual career coaching or our easy, convenient/24-7 self-renewal telecourses and books.
P.S. I’m working on a beautiful one-day, nature-infused Central Texas women’s self-renewal retreat for the end of April and a second new Austin Embracing the Wild Unknown Group for the month of April. If you’d like an early-invite to either email info at reneetrudeau dot com and let us know!
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance teacher and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining Personal Renewal Groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 12 year-old son. More on her background here.