09 May Handling Excitement, Anxiety, and Fear of the Future
Whenever you have a notable or meaningful event happen in your life, there are usually three core emotions that we feel; excitement, anxiousness and fear.
Whether you are on the brink of a promotion, you are about to travel the world, you are starting your first business, getting married, having your first child, or even if it is something smaller like a first date or a midterm, it is natural to feel certain ways towards situations that will impact you.
But when looking from the outside perspective, I often see people letting stress and fear dominate the situation, rather them taking the reins. Recognizing and learning how to adapt to your fears, anxieties and excitement is important in making the most of each situation.
Since it is May…you know that time of year called graduation, this post is dedicated to all you graduates out there! What an exciting time in your life. You have been in a classroom since you were a toddler, and now for the first time, you are exiting that lifestyle and beginning a new one. You have learned, grown and experienced new things that have helped mold you in who you are today. Your educational experience was likely filled with many highs and some lows. My hope is that you have grown to become a better version of yourself.
For many graduates though, it is not just a time of excitement, but a time of fear…and even sadness. We often get so connected to our college, friends, community, social groups, sports, etc., that it is not easy to let go. It is difficult to comprehend that society just expects us to move on like it’s no big deal. And you say to yourself, “How the heck and I supposed to move on with my life in a matter of a day when this has been one of the best times of my life?”
It is not an easy question to answer. But let me tell you this…if you have thought this or asked yourself this, you are in good hands. Because you are thinking and caring about what you have done and where you are heading next.
Let’s be real, most of us are excited, but scared too. Just know that is perfectly okay, and you are certainly not alone. I want to share a few points of advice to my fellow graduates, from someone who was in your shoes one year ago:
- Live in the present with a focus on the future. Some people have absolutely no idea where their life is going after graduation. Others obsess so much about the future that they miss what is going on now. Just like the phrase goes, “Life is what happens when you’re making plans.” For all you graduates, enjoy this time! Celebrate your great accomplishment and cherish the memories with those you care about most. But it is important to have a plan for what’s to come so life doesn’t hit you harder then you need. Write down your larger goals and make a plan on how to reach them with day to day tactics and strategies. Remember patience and hard work are key, but nothing great happens overnight. Focus on the baby steps, not the big wins.
- Don’t just look forward. Do some reflecting. Of course, the future is far more important than the past. It’s not even close. Planning for the future will assure you that you will be well on your way for the path you visualize. But to best prepare yourself for the future, you must understand what needs improvement and what is going well. A great way to do this is to look back on who you were as a freshman in college and identify how you have grown and what you have achieved. My hope is that you are not the same person as you were four years ago. Give yourself credit for the great things you have done, while also critiquing what you did wrong. If you can’t identify what you did well, and poorly, then you’ve got something out of line. And this doesn’t just go for academics. How did you grow socially? Did you build a trusting network of friends? Have your mental and emotional capacities matured? Have you kept your body and mind fit and sharp? You get the point. Make sure you aren’t too easy on yourself either. Honesty is key. Tell yourself what you did well and what you did wrong by reflecting. Now, use these understandings and put them into action for your future growth!
- Do not compare yourself to others.This may be the most difficult thing to do, especially in that age where social media is dominant. I can’t stress it enough how important it is to learn to compare yourself to who you used to be and where you want to be, rather than to what others are doing. Why? Because you are not them! No matter how much you want to or don’t want to be like someone else, you won’t be able to, because you simply aren’t them. Stick to who you are and that means compare yourself to your past self and who you see yourself becoming. There will always be people better and worse off then you. Whether they have a “better” job, spouse, physical attraction, unique capabilities, notable achievements, etc., comparing yourself to others will only set you back by causing you more stress and self-doubt. Plus, who says that what they have is “better” anyways? Look at you…cherish all you have and what you have done!
Remember to enjoy this time and celebrate one of the biggest accomplishments of your life thus far! Only onward and upward from here, graduates!
Let me know of any questions or comments you guys have.