How do I deal with the uncertainty I see in front of me...
Stepping out of Uni life in the face of uncertainty
Facing uncertainty is more of a reality than we would all like to believe. The current Pandemic has brought about many very real challenges, but it has also exposed that things are not so certain at any time, even though we live as though they are. Uncertainty is actually, pretty certain. The bubble is well and truly burst; that false and fragile sense of security is no more. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, next month or even by the end of today and the reality is, that has always been the case.
So what do we do in the face of this exposed uncertainty, when we are trying to plan our futures? How do we hold on to our dreams, whilst our current options look nothing like them. How do we take the next step on a journey that is not what we expected?
Uncertainty does not mean our certain doom
Facing uncertainty, doesn’t need to be dread-filled. It will be uncomfortable and it will change how we approach things, but just because we don’t know what's going to happen, doesn’t mean it will all be bad!
We are not designed to be able to know or control every part of life, people and our future. Tough as it is to face what we can’t control, living in a world of control would end very badly for all of us! We do have some knowledge, but we are limited. Instead of being all-knowing, humans are designed to adapt, grow and innovate. That much to say, we are actually made for facing this kind of challenge, though we wouldn’t choose it. So first off, take comfort in knowing that you can get through the challenges you are facing right now.
Uncertainty can open up new possibilities
Making plans is a positive and helpful tool, and they provide us a sense of motivation and achievement. You might already have a plan, for the next month or even 5 years, but what do we do when we don't have what we need to make a plan? What if the outcome of the plan is too uncertain to even attempt trying? Perhaps that perfectly planned job just fell through, a relaxing summer seems like a nervous waiting time, that holiday just got cancelled.
The reality is there will be a change to plans, and the path won't be straight forward. Making prescriptive plans can only work in limited scenarios, so we have to consider changing strategy. Though it’s natural to want to control all the outcomes, it’s not always possible. Opening our plans up to a number of scenarios actually increases our options and the opportunity for more outcomes to be possible. When we are tight fisted with our plans, we can find ourselves stuck, inflexible to change, which inevitably means we will need to make a change ourselves. What’s that dream job, or that plan for success? Hold on to it… with open hands. Keep the dream alive, while you look for ways to grow yourself in the waiting time. Look at the key parts of that outcome that make it so appealing to you, tease out these aims and see if they might fit into a different role that is a realistic option for you right now.
Even if you end up in a job you never expected, it is not where you have to be forever. You are still the decision maker. But no job or experience is ever wasted, you can choose to harness the strengths and skills you have now and continue your self development. Your tenacity and spirit to keep your creative practice going and making the best of your options now will prove impressive to any future employer.
Enduring uncertainty will shape you for the future
This uncertainty seems unsettling now, but you have time to fill your future, you aren’t going to miss the boat. We really mean it! Simply enduring this difficult time, taking small steps when you can, will shape you with tools and skills that will see you through future challenges.
And as you try and find a balance between planning and being present, dreaming and enduring, be kind to yourself in the process. Like the art lovers of the process that you are, learn to find hope in the middle of your process.
You are only human, but you can get through this.
You may even find you end up somewhere, loving a job, finding a new passion that brings you more than you ever expected or would have originally planned for.