• Jackie Capers-Brown

3 Skills You Need to Navigate the Unknown

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

In the face of the unknown, there are three skills that have been proven to help us develop the resiliency necessary to ground ourselves in our power to navigate our way forward.

I wrote this article in my den which serves as my home office while preparing to launch my first online course, “Braveheart Woman”.

As I think about my journey of becoming a course creator, I have recalled many of the reasons (i.e. excuses) I told myself as to why I wasn’t ready to take advantage of this next level of opportunity, even after having email subscribers ask me to provide them with more than my blog articles and books.

The decision to become a course creator didn’t just happen. It started to percolate in my consciousness as I wrote my latest book Find Your Brave: Embrace Fear to Show Up, Shine and Succeed.

It was during this writing process that I began to challenge myself to live my brave out loud. So, I began to organize small training and networking events for women of color leaders in my hometown of Columbia, SC. I decided to take on one-on-one coaching clients. I was a guest on a few podcast and loved the experience. Having met the perfect graphic designer for me, I began to look at ways that she and I could work together to create products based on my signature success system for corporate environments.

In the mix of this flood of inspiration, I had a gnawing feeling that I was overlooking something that was just as important as all of the ideas I was having about growing my start-up business.

At the core of my BEing, I know that training people fills me up in ways that nothing else has ever been able to do. As much as leadership lights me up, I am at my best as a leader when I’m training and developing leaders, and managing a business profit and loss outcomes. I was born to train and help people harness their leadership potential, and build, manage and lead successful business enterprises. It is clear to me that when I channel my energy, attention and resources in these two directions, my talents and strengths have the greatest impact and success rate, and I experience the flow state most often.

With the help of a new business coach, it became clear to me why becoming a course creator is important to the growth of my online business, and my ability to scale its success while experiencing a sense of fulfillment and purpose from my work.

In this article, I am sharing three skills that have continuously helped me when navigating the unknown to trust that I have within me what it takes to figure things out and be successful.  

I am sure that you are probably contemplating next moves that will enhance your life. You have an idea of what you want to experience and you probably have a plan as to how to make it happen. Have you developed a stress hardy mindset? Are you prepared to navigate the inevitable challenges that are sure to arise on your journey? Will you remain committed to your desired outcomes regardless of the challenges you face? Or, will your passion and determination fizzle in the face of the challenges you face? Take a deep breath. The following three skills will help you develop a stress hardy mindset that will enable you to cultivate the resilience necessary to achieve your desired outcomes.

Three Skills You Need to Navigate the Unknown

You can’t always influence what others say or do to you but you can influence how you react and respond to it.”

Each of the following skills will help you develop a stress hardy personality. According to the research conducted by Dr. Suzanne Kobasa, there are three elements that make up a stress hardy personality. They include,

  • Commitment

  • Challenge

  • Personal Control

1. Commitment

We are more vulnerable to stress when we live our lives without a sense of purpose or we fail to follow a path that we feel is honest and true to ourselves. Dr. Kabosa writes, ““When commitment is present, we possess a sense of purpose that tells us why we are doing what we are doing. We are guided by a vision that provides passions and merry to our lives, lessening the impact of stress. In essence, we have a reason for waking up each morning and meeting life’s challenges.”

Consider three things that give your life meaning and purpose. Why are you energized to remain committed to them in the face of any challenge? How do they give your life meaning and satisfaction? By keeping in the forefront of our mind the beliefs, values and activities which fuel our sense of meaning and purpose, our level of commitment to them reduces our stress and increases our resilience.

2. Challenge

We’ve all heard at some point, “It’s not what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you that matters.” In their book, The Power of Resilience, Robert Brooks, PH.D and Sam Goldstein, PH.D acknowledges the research of psychologist, Dr. Suzanne Kobasa. Brooks and Goldstein writes, “Not surprisingly, stress hardy individuals are those who perceive difficult situations as challenges from which to learn rather than opportunities to feel defeated.” They assert, “It is not always an easy task when faced with adversity to search for the opportunities that may lie ahead as hidden nuggets in this terrain. But not to undertake this search is to continue to experience pessimism and stress.”

When faced with a problem the words that you speak about it and your ability to overcome it plays a crucial role as to whether you adopt an agile mindset towards it, or not. Just the idea of defining the problem as a challenge increases your ability to confront rather than retreat from the situation. You will be more flexible and creative towards the circumstance, and more likely to learn from the situation instead of feeling hopeless and defeated.

3. Personal Control

Often we feel a heightened sense of stress during periods in our life when we feel less personal control. Prolonged stress increases our chance of experiencing mental and emotional health problems. In Dr. Kobasa’s research on stress hardy personality, it was found that people are less stressed when they devote time and energy to managing that which they have control or influence. In other words, spending our time and energy focused on things beyond our control adds to our stress and reduces our clarity to recognize how to best adapt and respond to situations.

The first step to achieving a sense of personal control is identifying what is, and is not within your control or influence. When you are blinded by outdated assumptions that have never been challenged, it is imperative that you are willing to consider fresh insights and perspectives about the situation. Otherwise, you will remain shackled to patterns of thinking that continue to fuel emotions and behaviors that sabotage your progress. Instead of focusing on what is beyond your control and influence, It is much more productive to concentrate on what you can do differently in order to meet challenges with a sense of purpose, passion and perseverance.

Once you accept that you cannot control the response of others to you and what you do, you will begin to accept the reality of relationships and life. You will start to make decisions from an empowered perspective. Resilient people do not sit passively by, hoping that factors beyond their control or influence will change. Instead, they recognize that their ability to affect positive change dwells with their willingness to take responsibility for initiating purpose driven action.

In Conclusion

Make the time to reflect on the components of a stress hardy mindset: commitment, challenge and personal control. Challenge yourself to consider how you might practice these fundamental skills in your daily life to nurture a stress hardy mindset. Remind yourself of your past victories and the positive impact your life has had on the lives of others. If you want others to value your contributions, you must value them first.

Minimize your stress by focusing on what you can control and influence. Adopting effective coping strategies that enables you to better manage stress will improve your well-being and help you develop emotional resilience.

It is my history of demonstrating resilience in the face of numerous difficulties that reminds me of the staying power within me as I step out into the unknown as a course creator. I trust that I will figure things out because I believe in myself and the truth of my enoughness.

You have a history of doing the same. It’s time that you look at how your commitment, outlook on challenges and willingness to focus on what you can control enabled you to play the hand you had to the best of your ability in previous situations in your life.

If you are a female who thinks and feels that you need to elevate your beliefs about your ability to step out into the unknown with greater clarity, courage and confidence, I recommend that you check out my training course, mentoring membership community and leadership coaching program at my online training platform Level Up Success Academy.

What I know to be true for myself is that sometimes, we need someone with a different perspective to pour into us so that we can begin the process of reconnecting to the truth of who we are. Because when we truly do so, we begin to tell a different story about ourselves and what we believe is possible in our life.

Your willingness to take action aligned with your best self while believing that somehow you will figure things out along the way will encourage you to stop hiding your gifts and talents out of concern for what others might think or say.

Focus on what you can control. Focus on doing your best with what you’ve been given, and believe that because your heart intention is one of contribution and creating a positive impact, somehow, someway, you will figure out what you need to accomplish to reach your desired end.

xoxo Jackie B

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