I played hooky on my workout yesterday. It was glorious. My friend and I were having our regular Saturday morning coffee date and talking about how much motivation it was taking us to go work out. I was going swimming, which I normally love. I had skipped a workout earlier in the week because I was exhausted, which I am most of the time, so I wanted to make it up. It started innocently with dreaming about playing hooky and the next thing I knew, it was on and crackin’. It felt indulgent and wonderful at the time.
Predictably though, I felt guilty.
In reality, there’s nothing to feel guilty about. I realized it had more to do with the uncertainty. If I didn’t go swimming, would I lose strength? Would I gain weight? More underlying…I had to admit…was the question of whose expectations was I not meeting? Who was I failing by not doing what I said I was going to do?
Mine. Only mine.
Sometime I get caught up in what I think other people’s expectations are. Uncertainty about those expectations keeps me tightly wound. But the truth is THOSE EXPECTATIONS DON’T EXIST. I say that loudly because it’s the truth I need to listen to.
I’ve realized avoiding uncertainty has a lot to do with control. Is that a news flash only to me? If I am in control of situations, the outcomes are far less uncertain. Crap. I’ve been working on letting go of control and it still comes back up.
Here’s another way it comes up, or better said, here’s how it gets in the way. Sometimes there are situations at work where I could be involved in a project, for example. Maybe even be the lead. If it’s something I feel certain about, I know my stuff, I’ll do it. But if it’s a situation where there are uncertain factors, people, tasks, I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach, the uneasiness. And if I push myself on it, it comes to fear. Fear because of the uncertainty of whether I’ll be successful or not. Will I fail?
But what if I do? Would that be terrible? Probably not.
When I really sit down and think about it, avoiding uncertainty, maintaining control, it all comes back to fear. And fear creates limiting thinking. It holds me back. It probably holds you back. When fear calls the shots, we live small.
Realizing that fear underlies my avoidance of uncertainty, my desire to maintain control, is an eye-opener. So now what? If you relate to any of this, do you want to stay here, stuck? I know I don’t. What I know is that making a plan to push through the fear can easily become a formula to control it. So scrap that. Instead, let’s look at where we are using limited thinking. Where are we using assumptions about what’s happened in the past as the truth of what will be in the future? Challenge those. Question those.
I’m still on my quest to embrace uncertainty, and I’m uncertain about it. I think that’s the point. But I’ll stay in it, I’ll play hooky, I’ll take a step I might otherwise avoid, I’ll take risk. I’m a brave girl. Be brave with me my friends, it’s a journey we can take together.