I wonder as I sit here how many other people are starting to feel that they are in an Alice in Wonderland world of falling down the hole? A world that is speeding up and slowing down unexpectedly and we feel not in total control. A world where things are upside down and falling, sometimes out of place.
Responding to Ambiguity
There are some people who love the uncertainty, who are able to deal with the current ambiguous environment of change and are able to shift gears comfortably, decide and act without having the total picture, and handle the risk and uncertainty. Those with a strong ability to deal with ambiguity are often described as adaptable, flexible, and comfortable with change. They have an ability to stay calm in the face of challenges. These types of people are able to manage anxiety and trust the process even when there are no clear answers and the future is uncertain. My view is that even if we thought we were this group of people – our ability to respond positively to ambiguity has been tested to it’s limits over the last few weeks.
What should I do – What could I do
Our ability to respond positively to ambiguity lies in our ability to make choices and make appropriate decisions for the situation. Most of us, myself included, respond better to some structure, order and routine. With some structure we have fewer decisions to make as we have a number of constants. Many of us find difficulty living with ambiguity. It is hard for us to effectively deal with unforeseen consequences of the unpredicted and discontinuous change.
We find it difficult to maintain our personal effectiveness when situations are unclear and ambiguous. We feel more in control when we can reflect on major trends that have gone before as we use external environments and factors in order to position and understand change contexts. When what is happening has never occurred before, we have no point of reference to make our decisions from – the choices become to great and we have no constant framework use.
So we have too many – What could I do? – questions in our heads. What is happening is not in our control but we can control how we respond to it. We need to find the constants we do still have. What routine can we keep in this new world? If previous routine had been to start the day with a gym session then make exercise your first activity. I know you can’t go to the gym but do not sulk and stamp your feet just because you can’t – put your gym shoes on and go out running or walking on your own. Control what you can and take action.
A few simple thoughts may help:
· Need to keep focused on the positives in your life
· Make a list of what you can control
· Take small steps each day
· Accept that things will be different
· Try new things out – just small ones
· It is ok to say “I feel unsettled”: sharing our emotions is healthy
A final thought – check in with yourself everyday. By that I mean just spend a few moments reflecting on how you are doing, what is going well and you feel good about and what you would like to improve on going forward.