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  • Writer's pictureEmile Neethling

Get a grip

The uncertainty of life got me thinking about the importance of constants in our lives.

Have you ever felt that somehow everyone had received the handbook for life, except you? Do you keep waiting for the moment when you will finally arrive and feel like you have made it?

Yes, I have been there too. When I turned 35, I realized I had not arrived at this stage as I have imagined. I did not have it all figured out. Far from it. I felt disappointed in myself for being uncertain about my future.

At that stage I was a full-time rugby coach with an underlying passion to add value and inspire boys to be great men. The numbers on the scoreboard did not really matter. For me anyway. It was all about the learning opportunity whether we have been victorious or not. Change is not easy, and it takes time and persistence. Guiding the players into great men took time which I did not have a lot off when considering the numbers on the scoreboard. Yes, we have not been winning a lot lately and supporters demanded me being sacked as coach.

Hearing some rumours that my contract would not be renewed, brought the feeling of uncertainty. Being the sole provider of my family added some additional pressure and taking any risks was to be well thought through.

I took a closer look to find the answer why I am feeling so much disappointment toward myself and what I could do to slingshot these feelings to my advantage. I needed to do this, because how can I guide the kids to be great men and not be able to overcome my own obstacles. I needed to do this first and foremost for the people I serve.

I decided to start writing in my journal again and asked myself these simple questions:

Why am I feeling this uncertainty?

Because I am human and that is my natural way of responding to fear.

Where did it come from?

The contract ending soon...nope! I thought so, but after sitting on this question a bit longer, I realized that it came from the boys that were disappointed in themselves. They felt they were failing in life even after trying so hard. These setbacks from my players made me feel as if I am failing.

What is this feeling doing to me?

It made me feel stressed, anxious, and powerless over the direction of my life. It drained me emotionally and trapped me in a downward spiral of endless “what-ifs”.

How could I embrace this feeling of uncertainty?

When life brings the feeling of uncertainty to the surface, we tend to react to it rather than to respond to it. I reacted to these emotions which brought the feeling of disappointment. Reacting to emotions is natural when you are in danger. Our bodies go into fight or flight mode preparing to protect us. Reacting to emotions is almost always a bad thing. We need to embrace the emotions uncertainty brings and respond to the situation mindfully.

By deliberately avoiding my usual instincts to avoid fear and suffering and instead, determining to turn towards them, to lean into them, to really understand them.

Then this question came to mind.

Should I really be doing this now?

I knew that if there was one thing I would regret not doing in my life, the answer was being a man staying true to his purpose. I am a life coach and I believe God gave me that assignment for a reason. Who am I to question that anyway? The biggest constant is that I am part of a bigger plan and I need to play my role to the best of my ability, even if the scoreboard is not in my favour and I feel uncertain about my future.

The future is now, and God will reveal His plan for me in due time.

We are all wired to want to control our environment. Once we let go of control, we can understand that change is a constant part of life.

One thing I learned to do is to keep a self-appreciation Journal. This type of practice strengthens our trust in ourselves, so we do not always need to look for others for the answer.

We need to let go of the stories we tell ourselves about where we are supposed to be. We are all becoming who we are every day. There is no arrival point.

Are you ready to embrace uncertainty and build the life you want?

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