*Note. This blog was written at the beginning of the pandemic – before the “shutdown.” However, everything written below still applies, even as the world reopens.

In the last few weeks, our world has landed with a resounding thud in VUCA.
VUCA is a concept that originated
with students at the U.S. Army War College to describe the Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity of the world after the Cold War.

Basically, VUCA is a catchall term for “Yeesh – what a mess!”
When the going gets tough, the business world uses this acronym for strategic planning. Individuals would benefit from strategic well-being planning as well.

How do we VUCA-proof ourselves?

During the recession, I owned a nutrition and wellness center. It was a deeply VUCA time. Sales (and moods) went with the stock market or whatever fear the media was spreading. Anxiety, digestion issues, sleeplessness, and depression became the common ailments that impacted close to 100% of our customers (including me, the store owner).

With that being said, I learned a thing or two (often the hard way) about VUCA proofing from navigating personally and professionally through the recession, the 2009 N1H1 pandemic, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Ten years ago social media was not yet a part of daily life, but TV news was. I stopped watching the news (drama!) and honestly I haven’t watched it since. I now limit my social media time, choosing to engage only with what is useful, enjoyable, and fact-based. A surefire way to be engulfed in uncertainty is to buy into the propaganda, even when it’s posted by well-meaning friends.

This may seem counterintuitive as distraction distracts you from feeling what you don’t want to feel…or does it?
Distraction creates complexity (aka., overdoing), which leads to overwhelm, which leaves you volatile to stress, which feeds anxiety.
**The more you do, the harder it gets to feel in control of circumstances. Doing less and focusing on what matters most fosters a fulfilled feeling, instead of an over-full/anxious feeling.

#3: BE PROACTIVE – Stay present.
Concerned about your investments? What goes down, eventually goes up (stop looking). Practice gratitude for having investments (many aren’t in this position). Practice gratitude!
Concerned about your health? Stop eating sugar (sugar puts your white blood cells into a coma). Up your veggie intake. Wash hands and suds up for 30-seconds. Avoid touching your face (good advice for any time) and get the facts for making well-informed decisions that you feel comfortable with.

You can’t control what’s going on out there, but you can adjust what’s going on in here (inside you). Talk with a friend. Take a warm bath. Honor your emotions. 

Ambiguity happens when a situation has multiple interpretations making it hard to decide what to do. Do your own exploration and then make choices based on wise discernment – not fear.

Ask yourself questions: Why am I feeling agitated? Where is this feeling coming from? How can I see this differently? What can I do differently? 
And, remember it’s okay to feel confused – this is ALL new. We’re navigating a worldwide pandemic. Nobody knows for sure what to do.

A bit more…

  • Be a leader: Choose not to participate in fear-based conversations.
  • Avoid future tripping: Worrying about something that hasn’t happened.

  • Disengage from fear: The media feeds on fear and drama, and they’re having a heyday with your emotions right now (see #1). Search for facts. My go-to currently is John Hopkins University.

  • Connect: During times of VUCA, human connection is paramount. With physical distancing encouraged, how can you strengthen your heart connections? Phone calls, Zoom, facetime, text a friend, sign up for virtual classes – yoga, dance – roll with different!

  • Live intentionally: My intention for the day ahead is____________. My intention for the next hour is_____________. My intention for this conversation is____________and so on.

What ideas do you have for navigating volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous times? Please share here.

We’re better together!

*Note. If you’d like to learn how to utilize VUCA for strategic planning with your business click here.

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