Life is about transformation and growth. Who you were ten years ago is not who you are today and who you won't be in ten years. Change is inevitable but growth is a choice. Regardless, you will be different than who you are today.
When I look at the world today, uncertainty is the thing that stands out the most. It is not the division amongst us or the direction of what is to come because to be honest, that is one of the things that is most uncertain.
Here in Australia, different states have different mandates on the vaccines and lockdowns. Unfortunately, it is the world we live in today.
Globally, there is uncertainty about the economy, both domestically and internationally. COVID has wreaked havoc on the world and changed the landscape immensely. All of these obstacles that we face around uncertainty have only caused stress and decline around mental health and capacity.
So what do we do now? How are we going to move forward?
To understand that, we must truly understand what it feels like to be stuck. I mean really stuck. For those struggling to find employment, the overwhelming feeling of fear, despair and uncertainty can cripple us. You wonder how you will pay rent next month or how you will feed yourself by the end of the week. Luckily in Australia there is government assistance to get us through, but what happens when that is over and businesses are not quite ready to hire new employees?
Then there are those who are working in their careers, trying to navigate the landscape of the new global trends moving forward. Work is being pushed online and everything is done through the screen. Automation is the definitive path forward, but when will that overtake our methods now?
The dream chasers, I am especially talking to you. In a world that is constantly evolving, how are you supposed to make your dreams a reality? Chances are, you are facing the problems of the previous two scenarios that I have laid out and you have no end that is logically in sight. Not just yet, that is.
Let me tell you the first thing you need to know about uncertainty- you better start learning to love it. You better find comfort in the unknown because it is always going to be there. Regardless of how hard you fight it and regardless of how much you try to micromanage and control the situation you are in, it will always be there.
Why would we ever want to not be in charge of what happens to us, though? Nothing good ever happens when we are in control. The only thing we see in uncertainty is adversity. As the saying goes, 'smooth seas never made a skilled sailor.'
The problem with connecting uncertainty and adversity is we forget that what we are searching for life on the other side of them- triumph. Triumph and achievement of our goals.
It takes a lot of work to be comfortable being uncomfortable, understanding the difference between being calm in the thick of the storm and in survival mode at all times. This is something that I have learned immensely over the past six months. I am learning to surrender.
Let's think of a time that you felt so overwhelmed by the change and chaos in your life there seemed to be no way out. Let me tell you right now, without even knowing the details of that scenario, that was your best work.
The final outcome does not matter, instead it is the growth that you endured and the fact that you made it through the storm that does matter. When it felt there was no way out, you created an opportunity. When it felt you could not win, you did. When it seemed like the world was crashing down on you, you held the weight of the world and pushed back.
You can't achieve any of those things in predictability.
Lightbulb moment for you- it was not fun at the time but you know I am right, it was indeed your best work. You acquired and activated the skills necessary to overcome your challenges and now moving forward you have the tools needed to make that situation much easier. Don't get complacent, go deeper into uncertainty now.
As an athlete, the mind is trained as much if not more than the body. Can you finish that last sprint? Can you beat the weights from last training session? Are you going to allow yourself to give into fatigue before your opponent?
Being an athlete has taught me to break down obstacles, identify how to attack them and have the mental fortitude to do so. In my opinion, that is the most valuable gift being an athlete has ever given me.
In the beginning of my college career I played very few minutes in my first two seasons. That has proven to be more difficult than being the player your team counts on to get them over the line.
Why? The uncertainty. Was I even going to go into the game? When would that be? What is the flow of the game like, are we winning or losing? How long would I be on the floor when I get out there? Would I have to guard the other teams best player or would coach put me on when the other team made a substitution as well? What if the guy ahead of me gets in foul trouble, do I play more or does he go another direction?
All of these questions and a million more were running through my mind. I did not have much success early on because I was uncomfortable being uncomfortable. All I wanted to do was control everything and when I couldn't, I was outside of my comfort zone.
The answer to overcoming uncertainty is simple. It is a three step plan-
Surrender to the moment and accept that you have no control.
Trust that you have put the necessary work in when no one is watching.
The first step refers to when you have to think on your feet and your instincts kick in, bringing the absolute best version of you out. This is the environment you want when you need to be the best.
The second step is important. You have to know that you have done the necessary work and preparation that have provided you the tools to overcome the adversity. As the saying goes, "stay ready so you don't have to get ready." You never know when your chance will come to rise to the occasion. Assume it is today, everyday.
The final step is you have to accept trust. You must accept that you have the abilities to get the job done. Self doubt is normal, but can always be triumphed by accepting you have the tools to get the job done. You must accept that the work you have put in has prepared you for this moment and your mental toughness and ability is what will get you over the line. Someone may be more talented than you but they should never be able to outwork you. If something matters enough to you, you will always find a way.
It is time to trust yourself. YOU know what is best for YOU. Trust yourself because there is never going to be anyone who can do the work or get the job done for you.
YOU are out there, whether in sports, the office or starting your own company and as a result, only YOU can accomplish what you have set out to do.
It is time to achieve your goals. The only place that can happen, is in uncertainty.