In these tumultuous times, it’s vital that we develop strategies for navigating the inherent uncertainty of life. We sat down with Laura Scott, an executive and leadership coach, to discuss practical techniques that can help us manage our emotional responses and build resilience in the face of chaos.
Laura’s expertise lies in the realm of self-leadership, focusing on aspects such as resilience, emotional self-regulation, and equanimity. Her work empowers clients to maintain calm, strategic, and creative even amidst chaos and uncertainty. Given the ever-evolving landscape of the COVID-19 crisis, these skills are more valuable than ever.
Laura notes that our brains are wired to crave certainty and predictability. When faced with the unknown, our instinctive reaction is to invent a narrative to fill in the gaps. This tendency harks back to our earliest human ancestors who had to quickly distinguish between real and perceived threats to survive. Even though our brains have evolved since then, we still resort to our primitive fear responses in times of stress.
To cope with uncertainty, Laura suggests exercises aimed at re-focusing our attention on what we have instead of what we’re missing. Drawing from her personal experience after a divorce, she began practicing an exercise called “Focus on the Riches,” inspired by Susan Jeffers’ book, “Embracing Uncertainty.” This practice involves taking inventory of our existing resources – be it tangible assets like clothing or food, or intangible ones like resilience and the ability to take care of ourselves.
Laura explains that by recognizing our self-sufficiency and cultivating an awareness of our abundance, we can reinforce the idea that we are in control of our environment and well-being. Engaging in simple, pleasurable activities within our means – such as taking a hot bath or a walk – can go a long way towards soothing our anxieties.
Our perception of self-reliance is also crucial in managing uncertainty. As Laura points out, proving to ourselves that we can take care of our basic needs helps to dispel fears that stem from uncertainty. Over time, this awareness builds confidence and enables us to refute our brain’s tendency to default to worst-case scenarios.
In our current context, with many of us isolated from our usual support systems, it’s critical to prioritize self-care. Treating ourselves with the same care we would a dear friend can significantly improve our emotional wellbeing. Listening to our needs and addressing them can be as simple as taking a nap or reading a good book.
Embracing uncertainty as a normal part of life offers several benefits. Most significantly, it allows us to move forward, making decisions from a place of empowerment instead of fear. By accepting the unknown, we can approach life with curiosity and a sense of adventure.
Ultimately, the key is to focus on what we can control and let go of the rest. Uncertainty, Laura suggests, makes life more interesting. By reframing our narrative around uncertainty, we can start to see it not as a roadblock, but as a catalyst for change and personal growth.
As we navigate the evolving landscape, it’s comforting to know that with the right tools and mindset, we can make the most out of uncertainty. So let’s embrace the unknown and focus on what we can control – our responses, our actions, and most importantly, our attitude towards uncertainty.