Finding Your Way in Uncertain Times

“We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty.”

Douglas Adams

I woke up on a Saturday morning about six weeks ago feeling spaced out and a bit odd. I recognised the feeling as signs of anxiety. I have been lucky in my life and haven’t really suffered from anxiety and so when it does turn up it’s not a feeling that I’m used to. I’ve heard a lot of people describe their experience of the Covid-19 crisis as, “like a wave”. One minute you’re having a good day and then, without warning, you wake up the next day feeling a bit odd. I spent most of that weekend wandering around; not doing much, thinking and drawing a blank. I couldn’t work out the cause. After a whole weekend of thinking, I realised that the cause of my worry was uncertainty!

Uncertainty is a strange thing. When we have plans and things are moving forward we have a feeling of stability. In reality, this is only an illusion that we create to manage our lives. Whether we know it or not, we all have tactics which put controls in place to stop bad things from happening. Before the Covid-19 crisis, bad things happened in small ways that pushed me off course. These small things felt easy to deal with by adjusting life and business activities. Currently there seem to be so many big things that are out of our control that life can feel overwhelming. And that’s why I thought I would talk about uncertainty today.

Look at: Psychological Tools Free Guide To Living With Worry And Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty

Reading the excellent Psychological Tools article above, it’s clear that the feelings I have are normal. I work as a freelancer in the cultural sector and lost most of my work because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In late March I was sitting at my desk with nothing to do and with no money coming in. I had no control over anything and there didn’t seem to be any end in sight. Would we ever be able to get back to ‘normal’? How would the UK arts and cultural sector look in the new World?

After spending some time thinking, my default setting is to make sense of things and do something. Here are a few of the things that helped me. If you’re feeling the impact of these strange and uncertain times, pick a couple of things and give them a go.

  • Take one day at a time.
  • Ask yourself: What is worrying me? Decide if you can do anything about it. If you can, then put the action on your To Do List or in your diary and do it! If you can’t, find a way to let go.
  • Daily exercise. Get outside and walk, cycle, run whatever is your thing.
  • Give yourself some space to think and let your subconscious do its thing.
  • Finish each week with a review. Develop a set of questions; how have things gone, what has gone well and what want you want to achieve next week.
  • Find a personal or professional development coach to support and hold you accountable. Yes, I know as I’m a Coach I would say that, but it’s true. A coach provides a new perspective to help you to find the best route through uncertainty for you. At the moment, I’m working with Marianne Cantwell, author of one of my favourite business books of all time, “Be a Free Range Human”. She has been a great support through this difficult time. Look her up here:

I hope you find something practical and helpful which works for you amongst the tips above. Drop me an email and let me know how you get on.


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Posted in Art and creative thinking, Creative Practice, Focus and tagged , , .

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