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Machen MacDonald: Welcome the new weird

Machen MacDonald
Columnist
Machen MacDonald

If you feel like you have been living under a rock, it’s the third one from the sun in case you were wondering. I only have one word to sum up my experience so far with all the uncertainty going on in the world right now. That word is weird.

I am finding, to be able to get through all of this, I am having to be a bit weird. Here are five things I am striving to do my best at to successfully traverse all the uncertainty.

Wondering what all of this means

With so much uncertainty around the economy, the markets, health and safety, and when things might return to some sense of normalcy and rhythm, I find myself wondering a lot. What is the best use of my time? How can I help others? What’s really important? Who or what really needs my ongoing focus? What do I need to let go of mentally, emotionally and physically? How can I leverage this time in history so it best serves me, my family and my community? What are the memories I want to have as a result? What do I need to be paying attention to that is relevant? What is the best way to stay connected with others in a meaningful way? What’s the progress I want to be able to point to so I can feel good about looking back on this time? Having empowering questions to ponder keeps our focus in the direction that will serve us best.

Envisioning better times ahead

While still confronting what needs to be done at this time, it’s good to envision better times to come. Commitments still need to be kept. Work still needs to be done. Food and shelter still need to be provided. People in less fortunate circumstances still need to be cared for. The future still needs to be planned. Though COVID-19 has most people rubber-necking in one direction, there is still an abundance of opportunity and good fortune surrounding us, ahead of us and within us. Admiral James Stockdale, a POW survivor and author of “Courage Under Fire,” attributes his survival to what has become known as the Stockdale paradox which states, “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Another POW survivor and author Dr. Denis Waitley states it a bit more succinctly, “Do within, while doing without.”

We are not experiencing the horror of being a captive prisoner of war. However, we can borrow the mental and emotional strength to get through this uncertainty.

Helpful questions to consider while strengthening your vision are: Who will you see when this is over? Where do you want to travel? What do you want to do that you can’t do while quarantined? What do you want to contribute to your family, community and the world when this is over? Look forward to what you want.

Inspiring yourself and others to do best

Many limitations have been imposed on us all. We have had to adapt rapidly. Every morning I ask myself how am I going to show up today and who do I need to be for myself and others? What do I need to learn? What do I want to learn? What am I most grateful for? How can I reestablish healthy boundaries with those I am in close proximity with to best serve myself and them? How can I create more energy? What habits do I want to focus on and develop? How can I be better as a result of all that is going on? What is the lesson I need to learn as a result of this situation?

Recreating and rejuvenating while also working

It’s widely understood that stress can lead to a lowered immune system. To best manage the stress of uncertainty that we find ourselves dancing with, it is critical to get proper amounts of sleep, exercise as well as eat healthy. How can I experience more fun and joy? How can I reduce stress? What do I want to feel and how can I bring that about? How can I create what I need to recreate, recharge and feel rejuvenated?

Deciding to be disciplined during this episode

Within daily routines lies the sanity we seek. There seems to be three primary camps of people currently. Those that are part of an essential service and are actively working out and about. Those that still get to work … and from their home. And those that have been furloughed or unemployed. Depending on which camp you find yourself will dictate the healthy routine that will best serve you. Be mindful that while we are all experiencing a great deal of uncertainty, we can start, live, and end our day with the certainty of routines and rituals. The good news is we get to design them, so they work for us rather than against us. Be creative and make them fun and empowering.

The quality of our life is in direct proportion to our ability to handle uncertainty. Two perspectives dictate our ability in this regard. We can choose to either see all of this as happening for us and to our benefit or as happening to us and to our detriment. Choose the most healthy perspective that will empower you to best handle the uncertainty.

Join me in being weird during this pandemic of uncertainty.

Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!

#1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley, CA. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at coach@probrilliance.com and 530-273-8000


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