Talking with a client last night put me in mind of how we deal with uncertainty.
There’s lots of it around at the moment. In fact there has always been lots of it round, just well masked with an illusion of certainty and predictability. Apparently gone are the days of jobs for life, continuous growth, and predictable seasons of weather. They were never certainties anyway, just expectations based on the past.
So how are we handling this environment of uncertainty? Some people are suffering. Uncertainty to them means danger, risk, worry and fear. They lose trust with each other, tend to shut down and desperately try and make things predictable – not much fun.
Others, in the absence of certainty, roll over and become victims, letting go of any sense of their own ability to influence their world, and react to everything that comes their way, grasping at straws like a drowning man.
Some people get angry – which is an expression of fear – and try harder to fix everything, in an attempt to control their world. They end up being very stressed and busy being busy. Again, probably not a very enjoyable option.
What impressed me last night is that for some time my client has been unhappy with his job. He has gone through all of the above options. But he woke up one morning and decided to go for another job, which he didn’t get. A short while later he applied for another job, and when I met him last night had just had a second interview for it.
It struck me he was very excited, and at the same time very powerful and calm. We talked about any fears he had about being disappointed if he didn’t get the job, and what would happen if he did, as it would mean quite a disruption to his current life and routine. It was a wonderful conversation. We concluded that in the face of uncertainty he was not operating out of his ego driven fears, but more out of his spirit for a challenge. He has taken on trying to get out of his current unsatisfying rut, and does not know for certain whether he will get the job or not, so faces rejection and disappointment, feelings he has found very hard to deal with in the past.
That’s what I call courage – taking action despite fear. And the funny thing is he felt great, and was having a really enjoyable day. Courage is a wonderful attitude to have. It brings out the best in you. Think of the times you would describe as great in your life. I bet they involved you having enough courage to step out of your comfort zone for a while, which then created the memorable time.
So if you are uncertain at the moment and where it may be going, instead of the usual patterns of behaviour, take on courage. Try something you have not done before. Get out of your box. Talk to that person you have been frightened to talk to. Take a risk. The fear of what might happen is what stops you, but the rewards once you have overcome that fear can be immense.
Courage, mes braves!