15 Jul

Embrace the Suck*

*Military slang: consciously accept or appreciate something that is extremely unpleasant but unavoidable for forward progress. (urbandictionary.com)

Yea, this pandemic disruption is starting to suck.

Two months I could hunker down and get through. Three months OK. Four months? Five? The rest of the year? Into the next? With each day breaking the record cases of the one before, this massive disruption is here to stay for a while.

I can rant about it. Curse the world. Hate what it is doing to me. How much harder it’s making my business.

I can withdraw. Deny it. Try to ignore it. Holding on to whatever ‘normalcy’ I can.

The first two months were pretty anxiety-filled, but now I have settled into a pattern and a routine. Not one I’d ever imagined, but a routine nonetheless. The fear and hopelessness held at arms’ length. Now, I am growing numb to the shocking numbers, the chaotic and conflicting guidance that seems to shift daily.

One reason we hate disruption is the feeling of losing control. What we planned, what we expected, is not what we got…and there is nothing we can do about it. Or is there?

On a Zoom meeting the other day, I heard another perspective—Embrace the Disruption!

Embrace the disruption because it shakes us out of those routines, patterns, and automatic responses that have become our comfort zone. Shaking things up opens us to new ideas that we would have previously ignored because they did not fit in with our pattern of being.

Embracing, rather than fighting against, the disruption gives us an opportunity to choose how to respond in new ways.

It is a subtle mindset shift from being the victim of disruption, having it done to me, to looking for possibilities to survive…and maybe even thrive.

*When I was in the Army, there were a lot of times that “embrace the suck” took on very real meaning. Whatever it was, it sucked, and it was there bigger than life and had to be dealt with. I had a choice—Hate the Suck or Embrace the Suck. I found it took a lot less energy and time seemed to go by faster if I chose Embrace the Suck, and sometimes I could even find creative ways to make the Suck less suckier 😊.

Which mindset are you moving towards —

Hate the Suck (Victim)…

or Embrace the Suck (Choice)?

Brain Note: I’m not trying to be Pollyanna here, “Life is Good,” unicorns and rainbows. The pandemic disruption has deeply impacted so many workers and businesses, and my intention here is in no way to minimize or gloss over that suffering, nor ignore the systemic issues of social and economic inequality in our country that put so many people in such a vulnerable position.

When we are in a highly disruptive situation like this pandemic that upends life as we know it, that impacts our safety, connection, and dignity, our brain naturally goes on super-sonic alert to anything and everything that can threaten our self-preservation. That is its job. That high alertness also has the effect of amplifying negativity and creates a sucking swirl of catastrophic, hopeless thoughts that leave us little energy to try to figure our way out of it. Suddenly what could be managed as a molehill turns into an insurmountable mountain in our mind.

The sheer overwhelm of survival can suck so much mental and spiritual energy that we have no room left for the persistence and creativity needed to bounce back. That’s when finding the courage to shift our mindset from victim to “choice” puts the reins of control back in our hands.

I have some ways to help with that if you find it feels overwhelming to “embrace the suck” alone.  

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

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