2020 has been a whirlwind of unexpected challenges, disrupted future plans and the overwhelming presence of the unknown. Are you stuck at a crossroads, not sure which path to take? Is your first option not looking as appealing or exciting as it once did? We caught up with one of our program instructors, Liz Lucus, to discuss how to navigate this unique situation we find ourselves in. 

Liz, originally from Colorado, found herself in lock down here in Queenstown when the New Zealand & Australia semester program she was leading came to an abbreviated end. For her, quarantine was a time to reflect and she began “wondering how many people out there can say that they are overall satisfied where they are right now? ...Right now, in this moment where time seems to almost stand still are you where you want to be in life?”  

Program leaders Liz and Chris with NZA Group 1 - Spring 2020 

In a recent blog, Liz addressed many of the questions we’ve all been asking and offers a practical way to deal with uncertainty. 

“Uncertainty breeds self-doubt, worry, anxiety and fear. These emotions hold us back. We are so unsure about what the next few months will look like that we may feel paralyzed and not even sure where to start. To me that often feels scary and overwhelming. What can we do with this uncertainty?


1. Acknowledge it

Saying it out loud is more powerful that you might think. Sure, there is nothing we can do to fix it, but it brings those thoughts out from the depths of our minds. These thoughts lurk around and pester us; this is what gives them power. When we can acknowledge the uncertainty, call it out by name, and say, ‘I know you are there. I see you.’ then the power starts to deflate (this is something I struggle with quite a bit).


2. Focus on what you can control

Much of our anxiety and stress right now are rooted in things outside our control. Therefore, it is imperative to take a step back, assess exactly what you can control in this moment and focus on those things. 


3. Use past accomplishments to remind yourself of your capabilities

There is so much doubt about the future, but you have overcome adversity in the past. Think back to a time when you mastered or defeated something; you gained skills in doing so and proved that you have what it takes to succeed. The same is true here and now.  Yes, this is the first pandemic you have faced, yet you can use those experiences to know that you will get through this too.


4. Take action

Once you have calmed your mind, you must make an action plan for how to deal with the uncertainty. A good plan will focus upon the things that are within your control and beginning with action that will help you right now. It could be drinking a hot tea, it could be sitting in the sun, it could be reaching out to people for support, or it could be realizing you are doing all you can do, and truly being okay with that."

As a program instructor for Pacific Discovery, she’s been able to facilitate similar opportunities through our core program curriculum. During a program, students broaden their education, volunteer, learn how to travel ethically and sustainability, experience the outdoors and encounter personal and leadership development. Many of these can push students out of their comfort zone, especially in a group of new people in a foreign setting. But that’s all part of the process… “students learn to come together, to support each other or solve an issue. There is a huge difference from the beginning of the program to the end, as students become a team rather than a group of individuals.” 

Program leaders Liz and Chris with NZA Group 1 - Spring 2020 

A Pacific Discovery program is the perfect training ground for essential life skills. Not only can you form an understanding of how to navigate a situation but also learn how to implement an action plan to move forward. 

Prior to becoming a program instructor Liz had a distinguished softball career and was scouted to play professionally in Germany. During her career she recognised a huge lack in mental training to overcome failure, improve confidence and master your composure - applicable both on and off the field. She began one-on-one training and team consulting for athletes which eventually became Liz Lucus Coaching. 


Liz recently launched the Toughness Academy; a timely program that offers you the opportunity to improve your overall performance, whether you’re an athlete, student or young professional. With all of the uncertainty that is facing us today, it’s easy to get caught in a slump, not knowing who you are, where you want to go and everything you need to know to get there. A global pandemic is evidently beyond an individual's control - but what can you do? Throughout this program Liz highlights the importance of self-talk “...what are you telling yourself, what can you do to control the situation you’re in and what is your action plan to move forward?” 

So how will you steer your course for the remainder of 2020? 

Stay tuned for our next blog… Six reasons why NOW is the perfect time to take a gap year

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Author Pacific Discovery Outreach Posted