Life is filled with new chapters that mark closures and new beginnings. Some, you can navigate with little or no difficulty. However, some will occur when you least expect them, catching you off guard and unprepared. What you know to be your world has suddenly changed, and in its place is confusion, self-doubt, and perhaps an overwhelming sense of fear of the unknown.
How can you navigate through and embrace the unexpected? It begins with accepting that life will always have new chapters—it’s how you learn and grow. Below are six ways to help you navigate through whatever life brings up.
1. Have an Open Mind
Your life is filled with experiences, each one bringing with it a range of emotions and lessons learned.
Some may have had you feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Others may have been a lot easier to deal with. Whatever you felt at that time, the key thing to remember is you made it through.
However, your mind monkey won’t allow you to remember the successes or how you found the strength and courage to weather the storm and survived. It will bring up every experience where you made mistakes or where you failed, and it will fill you with self-doubt and fear.
Remind yourself that this is a new chapter in your life, and with it will bring new experiences, new mistakes, and new lessons as you navigate your way through.
2. Exercise Courage
Fear can and will keep you from achieving what you want out of life. In The Quantum Oracle, Sandra Anne Taylor writes that fear of making the wrong decision causes you to make no decision at all.
Instead of seeing the possibilities and new opportunities that this new chapter will bring, you worry about what others will say and become self-critical, finding reasons why it is better staying where you are.
A little fear is natural—you are stepping out of your comfort zone and there is no tangible evidence that all will be ok. However, that comfort zone can soon become a rut, and ruts are sticky places.
Allow yourself to accept that this new chapter is the beginning of a new journey, and every journey starts with a single step. As you continue to take those steps, you will start to build evidence that you can, and you will discover that all is ok.
3. You Are Stronger Than You Think
Your mind monkey will always give you reasons why you shouldn’t. If left unchecked those reasons turn into a narrative of self-criticism and self-doubt. Any courage starts to evaporate and in its place is fear and “what-ifs.”
If you are in that place, take a step back, breathe, and remind yourself that you are going to be ok, even if it doesn’t work out. If everything worked out perfectly all the time, you wouldn’t learn or grow.
Tap into your inner strength, take that step, and if it doesn’t work out, learn the lesson, and keep going. It only becomes a failure when you choose to not try again.
4. Take One Step at a Time
Every journey begins with a single step and then small consistent steps as you navigate through the new chapter in your life. Doing so allows you to break it down into small doable parts and takes away feelings of overwhelm and builds evidence that you have the strength and courage to deal with this new chapter.
Think of it as a new book. As a whole, it looks huge and will take forever to read, but when broken down into its chapters, it becomes more doable. The same goes with looking at a new chapter in your life. As a whole, it looks scary and undoable. But when you realize you can break it down into little tasks, then it becomes something that can be done, and you can experience and reflect on each part.
5. Be Guided by Past Experiences
Every experience in your life has shaped who you are. Some have been a success others, not so much.
It’s not about dwelling on the past, which inevitably keeps you stuck, but looking back and reminding yourself you have the strength and courage to tackle challenging situations.
It’s also about taking with you what you learned from those experiences: What did you do that made that one a success? What did you learn from the one that didn’t work out as expected? These are your tools—use them as much as possible to help guide you through the unknown.
6. Be Honest with Yourself
Faking it until you make can be an avoidance tactic. Rather than admit to yourself or others that you are feeling scared and unsure about this new chapter, you bury it under a fake smile and keep yourself busy with whatever is coming up.
It’s ok to feel that way, as it is something new, something you don’t yet have evidence that you can make it through and that everything will be okay. Allow yourself to accept that it might be a bumpy ride and be prepared for anything unexpected that may happen. Use your tools from past experiences to guide you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or say no.