How to Navigate the Unknown Effectively
I don’t know about you, but I have been feeling the need to change up my routine, the people I hang out with, and the activities I do. Throughout this year, I have been incubating and integrating new changes in myself, my work, and how I am choosing to use my energy.
This has had me forging into unknown paths and doing things that are new and different; it feels so refreshing! Now, I am not one that tends to do the same thing repeatedly. I thrive on change, and yet the changes I am talking about have more to do with foundational changes in how I am choosing to live my life and use my energy.
For example: I have always meditated, but I am stepping it up a notch and meditating with various groups. I am meeting new people and developing new friendships. I am no longer attached to being busy; instead, I am relishing my alone time and time to linger, read and enjoy silence.
All of this requires me trusting the unknown, and what shows up in my life. I know we are all being tasked with listening more closely to our feelings and instincts, and making changes that deepen our lives. This supports us in being more mindful of the choices and decisions we make.
Deepening in ourselves requires us to trust our own process and no longer compare it to someone else’s process. We need to honor our own rhythm and accept that it doesn’t have to look like anyone else. Here are some ways in how to build trust in letting the unknown guide you.
I know the unknown can be a scary place and not feel secure, whether you are in-between jobs, leaving a relationship, or dealing with internal conflict about your life or work. None of us know what the future holds, so how can we embrace the unknown instead of being scared of it and thinking we have to control it?
Real security starts from the inside out. A few questions to ask:
- How do I strengthen my internal space?
- How do I work with my thoughts to calm them and focus on the anticipation of what is coming verses the impatience that it is not on my time?
- How do I accept that is it okay to not know?
These are all very reasonable questions, and it starts on the inside. There have been so many times in my life (and I am sure in your life) when I had no clue how to create a solution to a problem, and when I finally let go of trying to figure it out, the solution appeared.
I can tell you for me it is consistently every day sitting in silence and quieting my mind that builds my inner trust in myself. That may be for 3 or 30 minutes throughout my day. The silence provides the time and space to listen to the voice inside me, and what it is trying to communicate to me.
I had a client, David, that was very stressed in his job, and he wanted tools to manage his stress, anxiety and emotional wellbeing. I asked David what de-stresses him when he gets home from work. He said he typically plays with his 2-year-old son, and a squishy toy of his son’s they frequently played with makes him feel calmer squishing that particular toy.
David decided to take the toy to work and put it on his desk. Every time he felt anxiety and stress at work, he would grab the toy, turn away form his computer, look out his window, turn the timer on his phone for 1-3 minutes, close his eyes, breathe and squish the toy. He said it never took more than 3 minutes before he would be able to turn back around to his computer and he felt it changed everything. He felt calmer, clearer headed and more in control of how he was responding.
He even commented that his staff started coming in and playing with the toy when they would talk about solutions for the stress his team was having.
David’s touchstone became the squishy toy; when he felt anxiety, he looked at the toy on his desk, and that was his clue to take a brain break. This action would change the trajectory of his day.
What is one touchstone that you have in your life that calms you down? A photo, a word, a piece of jewelry?
Allow the touchstone you pick to be your support in reminding you to pause, breathe and take a brain break when life becomes overwhelming, when the unknown feels too scary, or when the negative thinking is taking over. Give yourself over to your touchstone, and notice what you experience.
You’ll start feeling more stable in the midst of discomfort of the unknown.