Jonathan Fields, Lawyer, Author and Business Consultant.
Let’s face it… uncertainty can be scary. It makes us want to run away, the last thing we want to do is face it and own it.
After all, why would you want to own something that is terrifying, makes you feel scared and fills your head with doubt and voices of doom? You’d rather hide and just hope that is goes away or run away from it as fast as you can! RUN!
Not knowing is like a monster that is lurking in the shadows. You see it out of the corner of your eye, you can’t quite focus on it, but you know it’s there. The intensity of leaning in and moving towards something when you don’t know the outcome fills you with anxiety, doubt and fear. This monster could strip you of everything and you’d be left to pick up the pieces of your life afterwards. It feeds your lizard brain with negative thoughts…
I remember being engulfed with the shroud of uncertainty while taking exams at school: Would I be able to answer the questions? What if I didn’t get the grades I wanted? What if I forgot everything once I took my seat in the exam room? I hated the persistent pain of my anxiety of having to lean into the unknown and get through it all.
Life is a bit like reading a good book that you don’t want to put down. You want to know how it ends before you’ve finished reading it! However, the reality is that if you knew the ending first, then you’d probably not enjoy reading the rest of the book or you might lose interest and not even finish reading it!
Humans always want to know the answer – we look for the facts and want to mitigate all the risks beforehand. For some of us the discomfort of not knowing is too much, instead we stay safe, stagnate and watch other people take the risks and get the results.
I’ve come to realize that uncertainty, risk of loss and discomfort are necessary if you want to fully experience and embrace life. In many ways, uncertainty makes you come alive – there’s electricity to it (and a clenchy-ness at the same time!!) It’s like riding a rollercoaster!
The more you lean into uncertainty the more resilient you become. You become certain about uncertainty! It has a pattern and you can develop an internal process to work through it.
Allowing this experience opens space for new things to form and take shape. The feeling of uncertainty ebbs and flows, like a tide, as you keep moving forward. As you take each step towards your goal, the more certain things become.
After all, certainty has a level of boredom to it. If everything were certain, life would be pretty dull. Certainty is not a real concept; it deludes us into believing that it’s the safer route and stifles innovation, creativity and the chance to create something quite brilliant and unique.
Scared IS the new black!
Look for pockets of uncertainty in your life and begin to walk towards them, rather than running away in fear. These little pockets are where you actually get to live your life and be the person you really came here to be. Embrace fear and doubt by leaning into uncertainty and working through it.
Start to look at uncertainty as a place of unknown possibilities.
Re-frame your doubt and hesitancy and chase those opportunities. Take a leap of faith and follow your dream!