Finding Certainty in Uncertain Times
I'm lucky. I am old enough to have lived through other chaotic business times like 9/11 in 2001 and the recession of 2008, but young enough to still be adaptive and good at using digital channels even though I am not a digital native. One thing I know for certain — the only certainty we have right now is that things will keep changing. Creatis has been a great business for over 20 years and is built on a strong financial foundation that will help us survive during this time. All of us are on this shared journey together, and I believe we will get through this if we each take care of ourselves as we care for others and continue to support the clients that we serve.
Another thing I believe in is that there is a higher power. Now I know that not everyone does and I respect that, but I hope you'll indulge me just this once. Because if there ever was a time for a little divine intervention that time is now. In God's grand plan for my life, I have been given the opportunity to 'practice' living in total uncertainty since my husband's advanced cancer diagnosis nearly 5 years ago. Dealing with our 'new normal' allowed me to develop some good skills that are coming in handy today.
In speaking with many of you, I am hearing that it isn't the fear of getting sick (most of us are young and healthy enough to get through this) but rather the uncertainty that is driving our anxiety and fear. Each of us is responding to this situation in our own unique way, and however you are feeling or reacting is 'right' for you. I know personally that times like this are hard, and scary and that they can put you on an emotional roller-coaster. And while we can't make the chaos go away, we can try to make it better a little bit each day for ourselves and those around us. Here are some of the coping mechanisms that I have found useful:
- Name the emotion you are feeling. Put a name to your feelings, be it sadness or fear or anger. Whatever you are feeling is real and true for you; and naming it can help you finds ways to work through it.
- 'Own' that it is OK to feel that way. It took me a long time to realize that I was just plain sad that my husband and I could no longer do things that we used to do together. I realized that being sad was normal and human and even healthy. What wasn't helpful was suppressing it or feeling guilty about it — once I owned the feeling I was able to move forward and begin to deal with it.
- Say it out loud. The best way to deal with things is to share the load, so talk to someone about how you are feeling. Stay connected with others, who can just listen if that is all you need or who can share ideas if you want them. Don't be afraid to ask for help, as many people want to help you but you have to let them know the best way how.
- Focus on what you CAN control. It is natural to worry about things yet to come, but it really isn't helpful. What I have found to be most useful is to just focus on what I can control in my environment that day. To identify and act on those behaviors in my control that would make things even a bit better — because even a small step can bring order to the chaos and move you forward.
- Turn over the other stuff. Beyond that, I just had to let go and turn the uncontrollables over to the 'higher power' which I choose to define as God. We can only control how we react and behave during these times of challenge, and after that we just have to 'walk by faith' (with each of us defining this walk a bit differently).
The Serenity Prayer is also a helpful coping tool in my life; I learned of it in my mid-teens when my dad was actively battling his alcohol addiction (I am pleased to say he won that battle but did have to fight it his whole life). It follows a similar principle about focusing on what you can control but says it a bit differently. It is that serenity comes with accepting what we can't change, courage to change what we can and being wise enough to know the difference. The only thing we can do is take each day as it comes, to embrace that each day is a new blessing and that what matters most is how we choose to live our life in each moment.
I am so grateful that Creatis has such an amazing team of employees that I know will keep caring for each other as we care for our clients. Because it is truly our employees that are the 'heart' of Creatis - the missing piece of our clients' work puzzle which has made Creatis great for so long and that will sustain us during these challenging times. Our future will be different than our past, but I know in my heart we will get through this. Together.