Being with Uncertainty

You are adrift in a sea of uncertainty. But most of the time you don’t notice it. Like a fish in water, you don’t really understand the nature of it.

But sometimes (more recently) you wake up to this uncertainty. You see how unclear the future is, how it’s hard to know what’s going to happen, how you’re not sure what you can truly rely on.

You read a lot about navigating uncertainty, or planning for it, but really that stuff doesn’t matter as much as how you be with is. So here’s a way to BE with uncertainty, so that you don’t drown in the water you’re swimming in.

1) Notice your fear –

The first thing uncertainty causes is fear. Because staring into a vast abyss of the unknown is scary. Maslow made this cool pyramid of needs but it could just as easily be called a pyramid of certainty.

I know where I’m getting my food from, I know where I’ll sleep, I know that the tigers won’t be attacking me tonight.

Take these things away and all of a sudden it’s hard to focus on being patient and kind, it’s hard to focus on company culture and managing your team.

So begin with noticing that you’re scared. Nothing wrong with it. It’s a normal natural human response to uncertainty. If you see you’re afraid you can calm the wild, scared animal inside of you, if you hide it, this same animal will stalk you silently.

Notice you’re afraid and then take a deep breath. Notice the thoughts your scared mind is whispering to you and then take a deep breath. Remind yourself that fear is normal, but not especially helpful.

Notice your fear and decide to choose from someplace else.

2) Remind yourself why you’re doing it –

Leading a team, running a business, being married, doing parenting.

Whatever it is, you have a reason for doing it. If you know that reason return to it. If you don’t then slow down and figure out what that is.

Write out what you’re doing all of this for. What are you committed to creating? What are you dedicating this to? Why do this instead of something else?

Then when uncertainty shows up, read what you wrote, or write it out again. Remind yourself WHY you are doing what you’re doing.

When you remember why you’re willing to face uncertainty, when you remember why you’re willing to risk something to lead, to create, to love, or whatever it is that you are seeking to do, something begins to shift inside of you.

3) Choose to come from what you’re creating –

Now that you’re clear about what you’re creating and what you’re scared of, you have a choice.

You can choose to come from fear, or you can choose to come from love.

This isn’t about what you do. It’s about who you’re being.

Are you being fear or love in the face of uncertainty?

In some ways, this matters way more than what you do.

Getting into a lifeboat from love, feels different than getting in one because of fear. Cutting your expense from love feels different than cutting them from fear. Laying off your team from love, feels different then doing it from fear.

One easy way to think of this running. All of us have had a time in our lives where we’ve run out of love. Full of exhilaration and joy we run, or roll, or drive fast. The wind moving through your hair is exciting, your body feels alive.

Running from fear isn’t the same, you feel alive, but scared and tense. You might even run a bit faster when you run from fear, but who you’re being is very different.

Choose to be I hope that as you face the uncertainty of this moment, you’ll continue to distinguish fear from love and choose to come from love.

Not only will it feel better, but it will work better, for your team, for your family, for your work.

Those who can choose from love, even in the face of great uncertainty, are the kinds of leaders we never forget. I hope you’ll be as unforgettable as you can.