Everyone has uncertainty. It means nothing.
How many times a day does uncertainty show up for you?
I don’t know how to handle this situation at work.
I don’t know what to wear to this event.
I don’t know how to lose weight when I am so busy.
I don’t know what exercise program I can even do.
I don’t know how to say something in a way that they won’t get mad.
I don’t know where to start when it comes to negotiating.
I don’t know how I’m going to get everything done after work.
I don’t know what to do about this issue with my kid.
I don’t know how I am going to afford this.
I could go on and on but I think you get the idea.
Uncertainty shows up all the time and if we see it as a problem it can keep us stuck, stuck in overwhelm, stuck in indecision.
Uncertainty itself FEELS like a problem.
And when it feels like a problem, it blocks us from moving forward, from solving for things that are uncomfortable.
So what actually IS uncertainty? It is a belief that there is a right or a wrong way to move forward, we don’t have a clear idea of what that way is, and if we choose wrong we will be unhappy.
What if you can’t choose wrong?
I’m going to say it again.
What if you can’t choose wrong?
What if any decision can help move you away from the discomfort of uncertainty? Not choosing doesn’t protect you from unhappiness, it keeps you there.
Of course it’s easier with some guidelines.
Here are the ones I use.
What are the options? Usually this is an either/or type of answer. I could do this OR this.
What’s a third option that I didn’t consider? Asking yourself this is a game-changer. You will be amazed with what you come up with, the creative other options that were hiding behind the obvious ones.
Is there actually any other information that I need or am I just putting off making a decision? If I need other information, how exactly can I get it? If this isn’t possible, then make a decision with the info you have on hand.
What do I WANT to do and why? We often skip over this step- no wonder why uncertainty feels terrible, we don’t take time to consider ourselves.
Is there a way to approach this from a place of love or compassion for myself and anyone else involved?
Compassion is protective against the pain of making a decision
After I come to a decision, there are 2 more important parts.
Commit to myself that I will have my own back no matter what. I will not beat myself up if this doesn’t work out the way I planned. I will remind myself that I made the decision intentionally and from a place of love and compassion. It’s not a big deal if I have to make another decision with the information I gained from this one.
Tell myself, “let’s just see what happens if I try.” (This feels so lovely, so non-pressured).
For many of the things that are stressing us out we can move out of uncertainty by trying something. Of course there are some things that may be out of our control, a diagnosis, a death of a loved one, but much of what we spin out about in our day to day lives is WITHIN our control.
Once you start practicing it and seeing the benefits, you can share it. This approach is how I help my patients make decisions about their healthcare and about their wellness. The relief that they feel at the end of this exercise is palpable. Relief feels so much better than uncertainty.
I double dog dare you to go through this exercise today. Pick something that is hanging over your head, keeping you stuck in uncertainty, apply the guidelines (don’t forget the compassion part) and then…
Let’s see what happens if you try.
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