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The Hardest Part of Moving Forward is Not looking Back

Updated: Apr 3, 2020

It's a weird time.

No-one knows what the future will look like, and we are all feeling out of our comfort zone.

There IS a future; we WILL get through this; life and love has MORE meaning than ever before.

If you're a teenager or young adult, you are dealing with a lot right now.

But that doesn't mean doing nothing is the only solution. Sure, it's important to grieve what we can't have right now; just don't spend too much valuable time looking back and using language like "I'm stuck..." and "I can't..."

Instead, focus on your future, even a mid-term future as to what things could look like for you at the end of this year.

Keep taking actions that move you forward, even if it is slowly.

Control what YOU can control.

Here's some tips for handling the whole "my world is in turmoil" phase:

1. Avoid catastrophizing - this is negative thinking and encourages poor decision making.

2. Embrace uncertainty - we can't remove the uncertainty that this pandemic is creating, but we can accept that it exists and adapt. It doesn't define you, it's just something that we are all dealing with.

3. Avoid the all-or-nothing thinking - it's not all doom or all positive, it's a grey in-between thing right now, and we can deal with that.

4. Stick with the facts - find reputable sources of information, not your flatmate's cousin. Knowledge is power and then you can make informed choices, based on that knowledge.

5. Take care of yourself - this goes without saying. The lockdown is not a stay-cation, month-long playstation session, or a chance to 'blob'. Embrace good eating, exercise and sleeping habits. Keep connected with people who uplift you and inspire you.

6. Looks for ways to help - at home, online or in your community (while practicing social distancing). Small gestures during this time can mean a lot, and make you feel good.

7. Watch your language - a few swear words are justified, but check the level of negativity in your language. Rather than saying, "I'm stuck at home" or "I've got nothing to do", try this approach:"I'm grateful to be in a clean, safe house with people I love" and "I get the chance to learn new things and try new things." When you change your thinking, you change your behaviours and your outlook.

8. Look for the positives - when there is uncertainty, there are also opportunities. What opportunities are there for you?

9. Keep learning - whatever happens, set yourself up to be better equipped and better resourced than you are now, for when the job market opens up and companies need good people. Learning ALWAYS increases your value, and there are lots of avenues for learning during the lockdown. Think outside the box to find one that works for you.

10. Use me to help you move forward! My business started following the uncertainty and fear of the Christchurch earthquakes - I know the impact this had on young adults and my tools and services have helped many people across New Zealand, since that time. I keep young adults focused on the positives, on the fabulous attributes they have to offer and how they can find opportunities that bring them joy and purpose.

I'm Tracey Beard, the CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer) at Career Matters.

I am changing the way students, young adults and their parents explore career options.

I always love to chat about careers, personality and human behaviour.

You can find me at and on Facebook @careermattersnz, phone me on 021-843537 and email

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