3 Keys for Coping in Uncertain Times

With all the closures, cancellations, and the social distancing — it’s a strange new reality. How are you dealing with it? To help, here are my three keys for coping with uncertainty.

Three keys for coping in uncertain times

These crazy times call for us to bring our best selves forward.

It’s not always clear how to do this.

The go-to activities that help keep me stay grounded all involve gathering and connecting with others.

And everything’s been cancelled—life is on hold. From concerts to the church services I attend, and the yoga, qigong, and improv classes I take—everything’s in limbo.

When life as we know it is upended, and the news is full of panic, where do you turn?

This weekend I was in Scotts Valley, California, for a “Tools” seminar that was, miraculously, NOT cancelled. I got a chance to deepen my coaching skills as well as reflect on my use of the Tools in my life and work. And I had a chance to get outside my immediate circumstances.

The seminar was held at 1440 Multiversity. Nestled in the redwoods, near Santa Cruz, and surrounded by redwoods, the facility was opened 3 years ago. It looks like a cross between a high-end conference center and a ski lodge.

The food is amazing, all locally sourced, and the “dorm rooms” are boutique hotel material. Even better, there’s no television to distract you from the pursuit of personal and professional development.

It was both unsettling and wonderful to be in such an idyllic spot when the world has collectively pushed the panic button. So I got to spend the weekend in a bubble—removed from the craziness of the news and the shortage of toilet paper.

I had the feeling that everyone there was trying to fortify their resilience in advance of returning home to “real life.”

The seminar was terrific and what created even more impact was the surroundings and the company of fellow learners. There were short hikes, a guided nature walk, and a yoga and meditation class. And the feeling of connection with my colleagues in the seminar. And all this was made even more special because of what we’d left behind at home—the fear, panic, and uncertainty.

So now, as I return to the new reality, here are my three keys for coping with uncertainty. Whether it’s about your gigs, your teaching, or your future. The best ways to move forward I’ve found are to . . .

1. Keep Making Art.

The best antidote to fear and worry is doing good work. Dig into a worthy creative challenge and get your flow state on. Lean into that project you’ve been avoiding. You have the time—use it.

Learn the scary new piece on your list. Or write that scary new piece yourself. Carpe quarantine.

And because we are social animals and we need connection . . .

2. Reach out and check in on neighbors, friends, and family.

Be of service to others. We are social creatures. While it’s advisable for flattening the curve, social distancing is also a threat to mental health.

My mom is 91 and resides in an independent living community, where residents — instead of dining together with friends — are now being advised to eat alone in their apartments — as all group activities have been curtailed. It’s a necessary safety precaution, but the isolation is not good.

So connect with others. By phone, Zoom, email. Virtual hugs are better than none.

It’s good for them, it’s great for you. Bring your open hearted energy to others.

3. Accept what’s in front of you and move forward.

It’s times like these, when nothing seems normal, that we can succumb to feeling helpless and hopeless. We may feel like victims of the economy, and of the situation.

And we may be telling ourselves what we do doesn’t matter.

BUT IT DOES.

The every day small interactions with people we know and those we don’t—all of these compound to make up the quality of our day, our week, our lives. The way we treat ourselves and each other determines how we feel and see the world.

In each of our spheres of influence we have opportunities to bring our best to the moment. So instead of complaining and railing against what’s happened, let’s take a page from the Serenity prayer:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”

So focus on what you CAN change and what you CAN do—to make a difference and to bring our best work forward.

By using these three keys you can bring more goodness to the world—that’s certain.

During these trying times . . .

May we be kind to ourselves and to others.

May we perceive the beauty around us each day.

May we be free from suffering.

May we help create and share a sense of belonging.

May we appreciate the gifts we have and the gifts we bring forth in others.

I’m so grateful to work with such inspiring musicians. I love my clients—THANK YOU.

And thank you ALL for the music you bring to the world—our world needs it.

If you’re not yet a member of the MusiciansMakingIt FB Group, no worries. Just click HERE to request to join and we’ll get you going!

And if you’ve got a question about working with me to help you create an action plan in these uncertain times, check here.

Here’s to your forward motion,

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well

Angela Myles Beeching

Author of the acclaimed “Beyond Talent: Creating a Successful Career in Music,” Angela Myles Beeching directs the Center for Music Entrepreneurship at Manhattan School of Music and maintains a thriving private practice focused on results-oriented coaching and consulting. Previously, Ms. Beeching directed the New England Conservatory Career Services Center and was a consultant to the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Check out her weekly Monday Bytes blog for a regular boost of inspiration and career tips.