Handling Uncertainty

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Our uncertainty tolerance is created during the school age years.  I remember my first days of Junior High, High School and College.  I recall the feeling of dread walking into new environments.  So many new faces with unfamiliar teachers and expectations.  Eventually, I caught on to the new pattern by going in each day and learning.

Here is what I learned during that season of my life:

Uncertain Does Not Equate To A Bad Outcome:  I learned that just because it is unfamiliar does not mean it will turnout poorly.  Our mind is trained to move to anxiety when faced with the uncertain.   We must train our brains to stay curious during times of unknown.  How can your business become more effective as you move through the pandemic?

Lack of Comfort Often Means Learning:   Most of the time when we find ourselves on the edge of learning and outside the comfort zone, it means that we are gaining new skill.  You are most likely gaining new skill as a leader during this season in your business and role.  This unfamiliar season will make you better.  It is when we are at the edge of our comfort zone growth occurs.  How uncomfortable are you during this time?

Uncomfortable Does Not Mean You Are Doing Something Wrong:  In fact, it is quite the opposite.  Your brain is looking to find an anchor of certainty in the waters of the unknown.    I often held to the belief that placing myself in the uncomfortable meant that I was doing something wrong.  Lack of comfort often means that you are displaying courage.

Handling uncertainty is never ending.  No doubt the pandemic creates uncertainty. Before the pandemic there was uncertainty just not to the level we are experiencing now.   COVID-19 has created a megaphone for fear and uncertainty, which makes our response as leaders all the more challenging.

In my coaching work last week, my clients focused on the opportunities beyond the pandemic.  We focused on the dream.  This may sound odd in the midst of uncertainty yet, framing these conversations in terms of opportunities helped clients emerge from fear and move to action.

In the short term we must learn to handle uncertainty.  Creating new rhythms for ourselves by getting up at the same time, exercising, meditating and dressing for the day may be a good place to start.  Additionally, this is a great time for businesses to evaluate, focus on their vision and identify ways to improve.  The uncertainty has a way of refining us and making us better.  How do you want to emerge from this season?  Define for yourself and for your team the certainty that is available to them right now.

In the long term, we have the chance to come out of this with clarity on our vision and ways to better reach the vision.  It will feel uncomfortable at first, just like that first day at middle school or college.  We cannot skip the uncertainty and it can lead to strong outcomes and growth.