How to deal with uncertainty during a crisis? Three steps to comfort


You have probably heard that a lot of jobs have been affected by the covid crisis. I am certain that some of my readers have personally experienced the impact already. The situation might also feel overwhelming for fresh graduates on the look for their first full-time job, and those unemployed before the crisis somewhat feeling stuck in between.

So how do you handle the fact that you are unable to determine the present or predict the future in your life right now? What happens when all of a sudden you lose control? From experience I can tell that it is difficult to live through the unknown, but still possible and manageable. In this article I will share my 3 pieces of advice with you.

First, it is important to understand there are some things you have no control over – just let go and preserve your energy. Most of us fear losing control over our lives, and we make sure to plan ahead be it a vacation with family or a certain deadline on a project. I often explain how to deal with a sudden loss of control through swimming in a rip current. If you listen to how near-drowning survivors describe their experience, they most often speak of preserving energy instead of fighting the strong rip current. Letting go does not mean abandoning your right to choose and decide entirely, it means waiting out the storm and acting once the opportunity to act presents itself.

Second, if you think about uncertainty from a strategy perspective, adapting to your new environment is the best you can do. Establishing a new routine in the new normal. How? Transformation and change are the two concepts you can gather inspiration from. Many people by now have transformed the way they work – remotely from home with their children climbing over their head during a conference call. It is the new normal to be talking about sprint features for the next release and then announcing to your team that you have to go play trains with your 2-year-old who does not understand why all of a sudden her parents are available at home and refuse to play. This is the time to create the new normal, the new ways of working, studying, looking for a job and much more.

Third, for the time being switch from long-term planning to short-term. Making a one-day plan is how you comfort yourself during this stressful time. I personally make a list of tasks for the day, making sure there are at least one or two things easily achievable within a 24-hour timeframe. Once I have completed the task, I cross it out and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. Celebrating small achievements is what gives me energy and boldness to tackle more complicated projects. Try it out!

At the end, you are never alone in any situation. Someone has either been through this or is currently going through similar experience. Reach out to your peers or colleagues, share techniques that are working for you, ask for suggestions if you feel stuck. Learn to let go, adapt to the new normal, and make just one step at a time, and you will get through this. Everything that has a beginning has an end.

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