Do you remember those days when you could simply make plans, look forward to them and then they would (usually) happen?!
Ahhh, the memories!
Things feel a lot less certain these days, as we seem to be hurtling from one global crisis to the next. And as you become more aware of the uncertainty surrounding you, you may become more hesitant in how you approach situations in work, in life, in general. You might need to overcome uncertainty to progress.
Recently it has been glaringly obvious but it was always there! You might not have noticed it as consciously as you notice the uncertainty around your planned holidays or business plans now. Yet it was always there, in much smaller ways.
You are wired to keep safe…
In any situation, your brain is programmed to determine if you will be safe or not. Your brain will draw on previous experience and various other factors to make that determination, and it will somehow determine the level of risk and whether that is acceptable for your safety (see Archy de Berker’s research at the UCL institute of Neurology).
The degree to which your brain decides you’re not entirely safe, feeds the level of uncertainty you may experience, whether you’re aware of it or not.
Based on this, there is a degree of uncertainty likely in everything you do. So what matters is how you handle that uncertainty, how you overcome uncertainty, how it impacts what you do and your awareness of it. Because sometimes, uncertainty in one area can overflow into other areas and wreak havoc!
And that can cause procrastination, or worse
You can come up with a brilliant idea for something new, and not take action because this (small) sense of uncertainty makes it feel too risky. Or when you have to have a difficult conversation, you might avoid it because you don’t know how it will go.
In one way or another, uncertainty is part of what is going on in any situation where you find yourself either procrastinating, or avoiding, or not taking action even if you know better. So what can you do to overcome uncertainty?
Uncertainty can lead to harsh self-judgement
Here’s what I know about uncertainty, as I’ve been feeling it a lot lately! I’m making some big changes in my personal life and the uncertainty has at times threatened to paralyse me completely. It has felt really uncomfortable. It has made me judge myself harshly when I haven’t been able to do the things I had thought I would do. In this way, it can really create a negative cycle when what I needed most is the exact opposite.
It’s times like this when I’ve had to dig deep and connect with myself, and my strength and courage within to keep on going. I can’t do that from a place of harsh self-judgement. I’ve had to do the work to overcome the uncertainty that was crippling me.
If I’m busy judging myself, it can become too difficult to see a positive way forward…
Do you ever get like that?
Recognise your Strength to connect with your Courage
Instead, at times like this, what I need the most is to recognise my own strength, courage and power. To see all the ways in which I am steadfast, determined. How I don’t give up. How what I do is aligned to what I value the most. How what I do makes a positive difference. What my good intentions are in any situation.
What do those things look like for you?
Reconnecting with my strength, my determination, my good intentions are all things that give me courage when uncertainty bites. I may remember times when I had to push hard to complete something that was difficult, like that time I decided to complete a marathon. Or that time I decided I had to change my career for the sake of my health, that was difficult.
And the thing I don’t give myself nearly enough credit for; the time I decided to start my own business and make it work!
You have things like this too. Like that time you went on that trip by yourself. And when you spoke up in that meeting. Or when you climbed that mountain. Or went wild swimming for the first time. When you went to that book club even though you didn’t know anyone there. Whatever your things are, big and small, they are the things that build up your inner strength, that prove your courage. To yourself, rather than to anyone else.
This is one way to build resilience, to build trust in yourself, to be more deeply connected with yourself, all so that you can take action in the face of uncertainty!
Believe You Can!
Because you are the only one you ever have to convince of your own strength and courage. You are the only one who matters when it comes to this.
You are the one that will drive forward and take action, as soon as you believe that you can. As soon as you are ready to move past uncertainty. As soon as you believe that you can.
I already know you can. Just like I know I can. I just need to remind myself at times, and that’s OK. And if you need to remind yourself sometimes, that’s OK too!