A guide to dealing with uncertainty during a global health pandemic (6 mins)
Guest Blog By Ekua Cant
Fear. Anxiety. Resignation. Hope. There is no doubt that 2020 has turned out to be the year that no-one expected! COVID-19 a word that you’re probably tired of hearing and wondering when will it end? When will there be a more “normal state of affairs” in comparison to what we have now? I don’t know, but I wish I could tell you. It’s pretty unsettling and you’re probably wondering if it’s still worth making plans, setting goals, changing careers or opening a business. It’s only natural to be concerned with the current state of affairs. However, I would urge you to adopt forward motion, a “learning attitude” and not to put “your life onhold”.
I’d like to state what is seemingly obvious and that is “there is always something happening” that could stop each and everyone of you from doing what you want to do. What I mean by this is that – yes the CoronaVirus has changed our way of life and ruined certain industries. The “something happening” that prevents us from taking action, now is the CoronaVirus, but what about the fear and doubts we had that existed before this current state of affairs? What about last year – when you wanted to do x, why didn’t you take action? Was it your lack of desire to take action, was it your lack of belief in that course of action, was it your fear, doubt or – just something else? Do you see what I am trying to say? My point is that we can always find “something to hold us back” from doing what it is we want to do. I know that is Deeeep! And yes, this current situation certainly is unusual, but you guessed it, there is no perfect time! I am here as always to encourage you to Take Action! Without further ado, we need a motivational song to help us move forward. You may be inspired by the lyrics of Leissa Bonn’s song, “Fearless”.
“Wanna be ….fearless
like I was right at the start.
Wanna stay grateful,
be faithful n’keep an open heart.
Wanna be hopeful even when I have my doubts.
C’ause if I keep love as my answer, well I’m bound to work it out.”
Today’s blog is about encouraging you to move past your “emotional blockers” and to think about how your emotions are driving the action you are taking or not taking. So we’re going to explore “emotional blockers”. We’ll look at the following topics:
- What is an “emotional blockage?”
- How to work through an “emotional blockage”
- How to make plans when you feel uncertain
What is an “emotional blockage”?
You are what you think! So let’s make it good thoughts and thoughts that serve us. Thoughts that are motivating, solutions focussed and acknowledge the progress you’ve made towards your goal. So what is an “emotional blockage”? Let’s check out a quick definition.
“ An emotional blockage consists of barriers that keep us from thinking creatively in order to achieve our goals.”
With this in mind, you know that these are feelings and thoughts that stops you from pushing forward with your goals and dreams and vision. Consider the emotions of pride, fear, anger and doubt. All of these emotions could be stopping you from going for it! Let’s look at some examples so you can consider if this applies to you. The list below gives examples of situations where this could apply:
- You want to speak up about an issue that you are passionate about but you are afraid if you speak out it could affect your career, business or your standing in your community.
- You want to make a big life choice, but you keep procrastinating and putting it off and finding reasons for not getting started.
- You want to change your job, you don’t apply for any jobs because you feel that it is a bad economy and you believe you won’t be able to find a new job.
- You want to make a decision to change the direction of your business, but you won’t make a plan of action because you fear failure and you believe it is a bad economy.
Now you have an idea of some scenarios. Let’s do what I’m here for, let’s get to finding ways to move forward and work through it.
How to work through your “emotional blockage”
Thoughts, feelings and mindset are what helps you with your endeavours. You know if you think and feel positive thoughts you feel better! This is not to say that negative feelings do not have a place or that we should repress them. No, my friends! We can use negative feelings to motivate and drive us into positive action. My point is that the feeling that is blocking you from moving forward needs to be dealt with. You need to give yourself a timeout and ask why do you feel this way? What would you advise a friend to do if they were feeling this way? Let’s look at 4 ways you can work through an emotional blockage.
Timebox the time you spend on the negative feeling that you’re having
You may have been in denial about how you felt. Give yourself time to feel the negative emotion. So feel bad, anxious, worried but do it in the knowledge that this is a transition and you’re going to move into a state of acceptance. Listen to music, run, swim, cycle or watch a movie and do something positive to aid your transition to acceptance.
Accept how you feel!
Acceptance is the first step in changing any emotional state. So accept that you have felt worried, doubtful or fearful. Use those negative emotions to prompt your positive action plan. Next you need to ask yourself what is the root cause of this feeling? Identify that thing. Then move into the space where you can make a plan to do something about it.
Make a plan to tackle the root cause
When you identify the root cause, you can then make a plan to tackle it. Whatever the thing “that is really holding you back”, you can handle it! Tell a friend, a colleague or family member. Get as many ideas as you can to help you take the action that you desire. The plan may be as simple as to reduce the amount of news you consume, exit a whatsapp group, stop talking to a person that is causing you stress or anxiety. Or you may decide to take action to manage your stress better through exercise, meditation, yoga. You get the idea! The point is to get yourself into an emotional state where you can think positively, optimistically and creatively.
You should get help, whether that’s a friend, colleague, therapist or a coach. You need to decide who to reach out to and get the help that you need to move forward. I believe that you want to move forward. You just need a helping hand to remind you that you don’t need to do it alone. Asking for help will indeed make you stronger and enable you to move forward with your goal. Finally let’s look at making plans in uncertain times. Psst, no silver bullet coming!
How to make plans when you feel uncertain
You know what to do! You should speak to other supportive people that you know will encourage you to commit to your plan. You should believe in yourself and back yourself. We all need a team to help us on our journey. So speak up and be honest, and vulnerable, tell someone that you trust your goal, dream or plan and let them help you feel encouraged to commit to your plan and be held accountable. I’ll say it again, there is no silver bullet! There is only, you and me making our own way in this world together. I say together, because we do not live in isolation and as they say many hands make light work! In the sense of “the actual work” but also the “emotional burden”. Seek out your friend, colleague, mentor or family member that
is optimistic and let them help you to make plans in these uncertain times. This is an open call for you to step up, stop making excuses and seek out new opportunities and to find the people that will help you do it. I believe that you will.
Emotional blockage: What is it and how to overcome it?
Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, by Susan Jeffers
Permission to Feel, by Marc Brackett, Ph.D Learned Optimism by, Martin Seligman Be Your No. 1 Cheerleader, Ekua Cant www.beyournumberonecheerleader.com