How To Play Through All This Uncertainty

Do you remember back in 2019 when we told ourselves and our friends:

2020 is going to be my year!

How is that working out?

Leslie Dwight asked a great question in a poem earlier this year.

“What if 2020 isn’t cancelled?

What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?” — Leslie Dwight

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How do we make this a year where we are not simply reacting to the chaos, but learning to flow through it.

Here are my suggestions on navigating your way through the chaotic year that is 2020:

Follow Your Curiosity

With so much noise, daily bad news, so much disconnection, despair, and death, it’s no wonder we just want to crawl into bed and binge watch Netflix.

Sometimes, you just have to do that. When you have had enough though and it doesn’t provide you peace anymore, it’s time to explore your curiosity.

Play Experiment:

How do you follow your curiosity? Get quiet, get bored, and listen to that really faint voice of curiosity. Listen to what it is telling you and follow its lead.

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It might ask you to write, go for a walk, create something, make a video, reach out to an old friend you haven’t connected with in awhile, watch a sunrise… Follow that random thought and see where it takes you. I believe that is where you start building the muscle to recognize your own voice amongst all the chaos and begin to learn who you are during this time.

See this as your opportunity to play in this new normal playground and creating something that is uniquely you.

Recognize Your Own Bullshit

I love this quote from Elizabeth Gilbert, “I have never seen someone experience their own personal transformation without first having to get tired of their own bullshit.

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What bullshit have you been telling yourself that has prevented you from doing what you really want to do? My bullshit was telling myself I didn’t have time to make videos and write. Then COVID happened and it was like, well you have time now! No more excuses. What are your own limiting beliefs that are preventing you from creating something awesome that can have a huge impact on this world?

Play Experiment:

Think of one experience you’ve always wanted to do that both excites you and makes you nervous. It may even make your heart flutter a bit as if you’re a teenager again. Take at least one step each day to make that happen over the next month.

For example, I’m coaching someone who wants to become a public speaker, but believed she had no place to speak right now. So, we came up with this plan:

  • 1st Week: Write what you’d like to talk about in a brief talk.
  • Second Week: Reach out to a friend to ask if you can do the talk for them and do it
  • 3rd Week: Ask a group of friends if you can do the talk for all of them
  • 4th Week/Last Week of The Month: Invite people via social media to hear your talk

Regardless of what happens next, the simple act of taking action to pursue what you want, even if it is scary, will expand your soul more and from there who knows where your curiosity will lead. Remember this…

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Identify Your Value

Many people are currently struggling with the idea that their worth is directly correlated to their productivity. That is the capitalistic lie that if you are not producing, you are not valued. Well, I challenge that notion and encourage you to explore what value you bring to the world that your friends and family see.

Play Experiment:

Reach out to your closest friends and family and ask them these two questions:

What value do I bring to your life?

  • When you say, you value my friendship, what does that mean?

When have you seen me come alive?

  • When have you seen me most present, most joyful, most me?

When you ask these questions, simply listen and write it all down. Actually feel the love, admiration, and connection that is happening at that very moment. Internalize all of the awesomeness that is you.

After you have done that a few times, see if there are any patterns to what your friends and family are saying about you. Based on what they have to say, what would you like to do with all these superpowers that they identified about you.

From there, follow where your curiosity takes you next as now you know what is real about you and what is BS.

Let Go Of Normal Expectations & Find Your Flow

Right now, there are so many people trying to give you advice in the world of what you need to do and frankly, no one is a pandemic perfectionist expert:

No one knows what to do right now, so you are as much of an expert as anyone else. More importantly, you are the expert of yourself, so you are the one that has a majority of the answers. The world loves to give advice about what is the right and wrong way. What you should do and what you shouldn’t do.

In this new normal, that binary thinking doesn’t make sense in this new normal. In fact, it is a liability because the world is much more complicated than this. So I encourage you to let go of normal expectations, let go of what “could have been” and focus on being present now and embracing the process. Fall in love with actually creating and let go of needing specific outcomes to bring you happiness.

Expectations are the thief of joy, so don’t let fixed outcomes rob you of your happiness.

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You have a choice to focus on the future which may bring you anxiety, think about regrets from the past, or choose to be present in this moment and fully feel what is happening right now.

Are you unemployed and looking for a job? Don’t apply the regular way. Do it in a playful way. Are you applying to Pixar? Make a short video showing how Pixar movies help you make moral decisions. Do you want a job at Apple? Write a letter to their HR, pitching what invention they need to create next. Be brave and reach out to someone you admire on LinkedIn and ask if you can have a zoom lunch with them to find out how they got their start.

I know someone who started making TikTok Videos just for fun. Now she has a large enough and loyal following to have them help her find a job. Use play as a tool to solve your problems.

Play Experiment:

Explore challenges that are both difficult and meet your skill level, and create the environment to get you into a state of flow. Experience what that feels like.

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https://positivepsychology.com/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi-father-of-flow/

The more you find yourself in flow, the more you will be able to see all the opportunities in front of you.

Run The Numbers To See How Long You Can Play

So you may be thinking, yes, this is all fine and dandy, but is this woo woo stuff going to pay my rent, my mortgage, or my monthly expenses? I don’t want to discount this reality, so let’s actually explore what the reality is with your finances.

If you would like to follow your curiosity to figure out what is next, why not run the numbers to see how long you can do this exploration for? Based off your savings, your unemployment, your current financial situation, could you explore this play for the next 1–2 months? Find out what you need to do to live frugally, so you can pursue a passion or take on a new endeavor, while not putting yourself in a financial predicament.

I have a friend who ran the numbers and realized she can pursue finding a job that she really loves for the next 4 months, if she lives below her means. This gave her peace of mind so she could actually now play in the uncertainty playground without carrying an immense amount of anxiety about the future.

Play Experiment:

Look at your finances and see what wiggle room you have to explore your curiosity fully. Outline how much time you have and what you would like to accomplish during this time. If you have a spouse or someone that you share your finances with, talk to them about how they can help, so you can pursue your curiosities.

It may feel indulgent, but this adventure might change the trajectory of your life so it is important enough to explore.

Enjoy The Ride

As I’ve said in my advice video, ignore this advice if it doesn’t resonate with you.

Frankly, I could be wrong on all of this, but I do know that even if I’m wrong on most of this, if you follow this, you’ll have a better understanding of who you are, you will feel better about yourself, you’ll be able to hear your own voice amongst all the noise and chaos.

In the end, you’ll have a much more enjoyable ride and frankly, isn’t that point?

Written by

Positive Psychology Play Speaker & Coach / Find Ways To Rediscover Your Play at RediscoverYourPlay.com

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