Feeling uncertain about the path you’re on usually isn’t an awesome feeling! But there’s a way to find peace of mind in times like these.
Last week dad was in town for a work trip. During our visit, he gave us a piece of life advice that offered peace in a time of uncertainty. I want to share it with you even if you just know you’re not alone or if it helps you like it did me and Mark, to keep moving forward and following your heart.
Feeling unsure, worried and uncertain about the path you’re on doesn’t mean you’re alien, it makes you human.
You can let out a big sigh of relief now. You’re not an alien!
“I think feeling uncertain is just as normal as being excited for your cup of coffee in the morning is!”
What’s certain is often what’s comfortable. Some may also argue it can be uncomfortable and I’d agree with you there too. But sometimes, we push out of our comfort zone and immediately feel a resistance to the discomfort because what could happen next is not known. It’s uncertain which leaves us wondering, questioning and trying to figure out how to get back to what we know.
The fact is, our mind will always want what’s comfortable. Our brain wants to burn as little calories as possible and that means it wants what it knows, what’s familiar and easy. It’s instinct. It’s survival. The question is: If it feels uncertain, how do you know if you’re on the right path?
When you feel uncertain, should keep going or do you throw the towel in?
Listen, a little support and advice can go a long way! A really long way. Have you ever noticed how many times, at the end of a sh*t-storm-kind-of-a-day, all we need is a hug from someone we trust and love? A simple embrace that helps us know it’s ok and that we’re not alone. Or a magical sign from the universe that signals us: keep going, you’re doing the right thing.
Its like it firmly blankets the coldness uncertainty loves to bring.
After my dad shared his advice with us on this, I’ve been asking myself how uncertainty can bring warmth, light and a new perspective I might otherwise not have had if I focused on the feeling of it.
(Me with my two Dads at our wedding)
When we moved from Indiana to Texas last year, Mark and I knew one thing for sure: we were following our hearts and in doing so, taking a leap of faith.
In following your heart, the path feels more uncomfortable because it’s usually one that you’re blazing on your own. You veer off the neatly laid out path in front of you to get to another destination you wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.
“Uncertainty is a mental period between reality and your imagination.”
When we moved, we left stability and comfort for instability and discomfort. And all for a valuable reason: we wanted more than stability and comfort would give us. We wanted to create our lives together and live life on our own terms. We were willing to surrender the ground we built so that we could fly beyond. The sacrifice has been discomfort and uncertainty.
Even if right now you’re not necessarily following your heart, but rather, doing something you have to do to get something you really want later, this advice I’m about to share applies. It applies to anyone who is unsure, uncertain or worried for the future.
In the Uhaul on the way down, we ventured forward into our future and man did it feel right. I mean, how could an open road to your future not feel right?!
But, at the same time, it was also so unclear. And here’s the thing. Not only did we have to leap, we had to grow wings on the way down. Tall order, right.
Filling dad in about life over mexican food and a frozen margarita, Mark asked dad a question that we’ve both been kind of secretly mulling over since we made the leap of faith, ‘How do you know if you’re on the right path and if you should stick it out or not?’
Truth be told, I was surprised he brought this up to dad. When Mark brings an issue or question up, it means it definitely has some gravity on him. When I bring something up, it’s just part of the fact that I bring most questions up. And I have alot of questions!
I stayed quiet and just listened and watched them as my dad paused to think, took a sip of his marg and answered calm and confidently:
“I give everything I do a solid year. That way, I gave it my all, I did my best and I know for sure if it’s the right thing to keep doing or not. Ride it out and you’ll figure it out”
After dad left, I asked Mark what he took from dad’s advice to which he said, “Have patience in the discomfort. As humans, it’s natural to seek comfort. When we are in areas of discomfort, we seek ways to find comfort again.”
I broke dad’s advice into 3 bite size pieces to help steer you through times of uncertainty.
3 Things To Remember When You Feel Uncertainty
1. Have patience.
Have patience in the discomfort. Know that’s it’s 100% human and normal to question your path, to feel worried about the future and to wonder if you made the right choice. It’s only in the questioning that we find our answers. Take time to observe how you’re feeling, why you may be feeling it and in doing so, surrender to it. In the surrendering, you can observe yourself in your life as if you were floating above yourself, watching down. Don’t take it all too seriously. Relax, breathe, observe and smile. Whatever concerns and worries you have, let them come in and go as they do and be a witness to them. They’re just feelings, they’re not who you are. Have patience in the discomfort and the tightness will loosen.
2. Adjust your perspective on uncertainty.
When you’re uncomfortable and uncertain, your initial reaction will be to want to go back to what’s comfortable. This doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. It’s just what feels right in the moment. Adjusting your perspective on uncertainty is a form of managing your feelings. And knowing that uncertainty is simply a feeling you’re experiencing. It’s not who you are or what you should follow, it’s just what it is. When you look at uncertainty for what it actually is, it no longer has to define how you feel about yourself, your life and what you’re doing. It can simply be an arrow just like all feelings are, expressing something deeper to you.
3. Keep going. Just keep moving forward.
As dad said, give it a solid year of your time, energy and love. This way, you gave it your all which secures yourself from regret you might have if you acted out of reaction to discomfort instead. Give it enough time, it might just be yourself not wanting to get out of your comfort zone. You have to get past that to be able to see if it’s truly right for you or not.
No matter what discomfort you’re feeling in your life right now, use your feelings as a bridge to find a stronger faith, belief and trust within yourself. And stay rooted in that!
Because if you don’t try, if you follow uncertainty to it’s wanted destination of comfort, you may never know what could have been. And that my friend is a much worse feeling than any momentary discomfort. Ride it out. Let the storm come in and through as you stand firm and deeply rooted in who you are, where you’re going and very importantly, where you are right at this very moment. You won’t be led astray.
As dad says,
Ride it out and you’ll figure it out.
I’d love to hear from you, have you been through a time of uncertainty and pulled the plug too soon? Which of these three will you remember as you move forward, fiercely in and through uncertainty? Leave your comment below, I reply to every one and appreciate you.
p.s. a special thanks to my parents for always being supportive while letting us find our own way.