10 Ways to Grind-It-Out When Uncertainty Puts You Under the Pressure
To get through the day we assume we know what will happen next. To get through life, we must learn to deal with the fact that we don't.
Life and success are inconsistent. Things you have worked hard for can change on a dime without your consent or permission. Uncertainty is a reality, in and throughout, all aspects of the grind for success. When circumstances change in unpredictable ways, it allows for the development of the tough mindedness you need to help you through times of pain and inconsistency. You never learn what grinding-it-out means until you have to put your nose down, accept adversity and keep striving forward, regardless. To follow are some great ways to stay in-it-to-win-it when things are uncertain.
To make uncertain outcomes productive, choose to start your day with gratitude. When you focus on the abundance you already have, it triggers the reward system in your brain, inspiring hope and motivation. When you feel surges of anxiety throughout your day rising from your gut, due to your uncertain circumstances, take a brief 30 seconds to focus on what you have that you’re thankful for. This keeps you grounded into the stable things you can depend upon, and not overly focused on what you’ve lost, what you need, and what you don’t yet have. Aristotle states that, “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Let gratitude be a statement of your excellence.
Writing for a few minutes each morning and evening has proven to be stabilizing and organizing to the psyche. They psyche is never more distressed then when under the pressures of uncertainty. The tennis great Martina Navratilova believes “keeping a journal of what is going on in your life is a good way to help you distill what’s important and what’s not.” A journal acts like the grey matter in the brain. It helps rid your mind of the thoughts that aren’t useful, and keeps you focused on the information that is helpful. When you’re under the pressures of uncertainty, having a focus will soothe your racing thoughts. Journaling is one of the best ways to focus your thoughts on solutions you may not have been able to discover in any other way.
3. Forecast questioning.
When unclear about how to move into the next place in your day, your mood, your mindset or your uncertain situation, a great practice to utilize is to ask forecasting questions such as, “what would make today great?” These types of forecasting questions have the power to immediately shift your attitude and bring you a sense of hope. If you could have anything you wanted on this day to make it great what would that be? Write it down. The phenomenal Oprah Winfrey believes, “In order to receive, you have to believe.”
4. Positive distractions.
If clarity is not going to come immediately, take advantage of this wait-time to be productive on the little things you push off on a daily basis. Clearing clutter keeps you focused on what you can control, rather than worrying about what is not yet in your control. Suze Orman states, “like your home closets, your business clutter needs an overhaul now and again, and the payoff will go far beyond the psychic satisfaction of neatening up.” Whenever you cleanse, you are cleaning up your foundation. It’s like adding clean oil to your engine. There are many little things to do that you push off, yet, once they are complete you feel 100% better. You feel lighter, more hopeful and as if you have created space for new and better things to show up.
5. Affirmative statements.
Creating statements about what you want puts your brain into the action of building your belief in your ability to create the outcomes you desire. It may not happen on this very day, but having something to look forward to has proven to increase a sense of happiness because it gives you hope that better is still up ahead. This type of hope motivates you to stay in the grind. Put your affirmative statements in writing. In doing this, you create all the change you want to see from within. The great champion, Mohammed Ali says “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief, and once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
6. Project board.
Creating a project board helps keep you productive while in the grind. Entrepreneur and developer of the Lean Startup movement Steve Blank believes project boards help “keep your eyes on the prize, not the obstacles.” It gives you a visual of the benchmarks in need of your time and attention. Having more than one project gives you options. The brain loves options, as it keeps you creative, busy and in motion. Put the project that is creating delays, uncertainty or frustration for you on hold, and put your energy into other facets of that same project, or you can work on something else in need of your attention. Staying focused on forward motion sooths your psyche by giving you a purpose when other things feel out of your control.
7. Be healthy.
There is nothing that can change a bad day to good more quickly than being actively healthy. The healthier you are, the more prepared for the grind you are able to be. When you push yourself physically you come to respect how strong you are emotionally. Alex Toussaint, a spin coach for Pelaton repeatedly says “Don’t stop, make it to the top.” Hold the mindset that giving up is not an option when under the pressures of uncertainty.
8. Talk only in the positive.
Uncertain times cannot get better if all you talk about is what isn’t happening, what isn’t working, what you’re not getting and how it isn’t fair. The more you focus on the positive, the more positive your language becomes, the more you add to the positivity of the day and the easier it is to keep grinding it out. If it’s a bad time, look for the blessings in your bummer. Joe Osteen says “Don’t talk about your problems, talk to your problems.” When your self-talk is action oriented, rather than hopeless complaining, you have the power to see the opportunity in your uncertain circumstances.
Just because something isn’t happening right now, it doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen. Things take time to fall into place, they take time to manifest, and things take time to become clear. When things are unclear, let go. Use the word “allow” to live by. When you allow things to happen, you open up space in your circumstances for things to land as they will. When you feel yourself wanting to clutch and control, learn to let go and allow. The great spiritualist Ekhart Tolle teaches “it takes a far great power to let go, then it does to hang on.” The best things often happen, when unforced.
10. Tough it out.
Life is difficult. Things are not always going to go your way. Positive thinking cannot solve everything, but it can keep you moving forward. Success is as much about rejection and failure as it is about achieving and succeeding. Failure and uncertainty give you an opposing force to work against to help you become stronger and more resilient. Sometimes success is about moving on and not waiting for a rejection to turn around. If it’s a rejection, accept it and create a new path around the rejection to get to your goal. Know the difference between having a bad day, a bad turn of events and having a bad life. Your story isn’t over yet.
Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.