The Power Of Structure

What is your perspective on structure? Do you see it as necessary or confining? Some level of structure, no matter how you view it, can be very helpful in these times. Many structures we once knew are no longer available now – common workspaces, means of transportation, human interactions, brick and mortar stores. Major adjustments are being asked of you.

Structure provides balance and stability in times like these. It can be flexible or rigid or in-between. It’s up to you. With some structure you can thrive in any environment. Create a structure that gets you through your work and life. Address time, project demands, things that may hamper what you can get done and the resources available to you.  Let structure be part of your success!

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Wanting Answers

Is being in the unknown uncomfortable for you? It’s natural to seek certainty. It gives you a feeling of being safe and secure. The reality is that, seeking certainty or not, you can find yourself in the unknown often. If you do not have a way of dealing with the unknown, it can turn you around and unsettle you, ultimately affecting both your emotions and your performance.

What can you do when you are wanting answers that are not there? First, you can accept the present reality and know that answers will come eventually, either from within you or from outside sources. You can develop your ability to be comfortable in the unknown by seeking ways to find answers and centering your self in the process.

You have what it takes to deal with the unknown and will get better at it as time goes on. The next time you are wanting answers, embrace and make the best of being in the unknown!

 

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Take A Moment

What a time you are living in. There is so much confusion, uncertainty, stress and polarity. You don’t really know what’s next, do you? It is useless to pretend that you have control and know what the future will bring. The only way to make it through times like these is to stay close to yourself and what you are feeling and doing.

Take a moment today for some reflection. Note what is happening in your immediate world and the world-at-large. Are you doing ok? Is there anything you need? Taking this time may help you ground in the present and find your way to thrive during these times.

 

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How Are World Events Affecting Your Workplace?

You do not work in an isolated bubble, do you? The world that surrounds you has influence and impact on your workplace. Currently, there is a lot of change, uncertainty and even chaos in the outside world. How is this affecting your workplace and you?

There is value in putting some focus on this. What’s going on in the outside world is being felt by nearly everyone. In the workplace, this can impact productivity, balance, emotions and interrelationships. Take some time to assess how your workplace is responding and reacting to the outside world right now. Address what you see and find ways to keep your team together and thriving through it all.

 

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Chance Or Risk?

Some see chance and risk as the same thing. However, there can be differences between them. Both chance and risk involve uncertainty and possibility. In the business world today, risk is often calculable, whereas chance is less so. There are concrete and in-depth ways to measure risk before deciding on a course of action. With chance, you measure based on assumptions, with a bit less calculation and certainty.

You can use these concepts of chance and risk to take a look at how you make decisions. When uncertainty exists or all the information you need is not available, do you think things out, consider all factors and calculate risk or do you make assumptions and generally calculate the chances of various outcomes?

The next time you have a decision to make, without certainty of the outcome, will you leave your decision to chance or calculate the risks involved and choose the best course available?

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Is There Such A Thing As Safety Anymore?

safetymeditationspixabayLooking at the world today, safety is not a given anymore. As humans, we want safety even when we are seeking challenge and adventure (such as automatic activation devices on parachutes). The world is experiencing chaos and it is hard to know how to respond. Those upsetting the world right now are doing their best to instill fear and uncertainty, so that feelings of safety are gone.

What about safety at work? I am addressing psychological rather than physical safety here. Do you feel safe in your work? What does safety mean to you – security in your job, getting along with co-workers, confidence in your abilities?

Uncertainty and fear do show up at work. Accepting this, you can still create some safety by being aware of your organization or market’s culture and how you align with it, always having options, cultivating your emotional intelligence so that you can read people and situations and building up your courage to face whatever comes.

 

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Uncertainty (again)

FogDidgemanpixabayUncertainty can have a powerful effect on your well being. In a Fast Company article, How Your Brain Reacts To Change, uncertainty looms large again. The article speaks to our desire for clarity during times of change and suggests that seeking out information in the face of uncertainty is a crucial way to adjust to change.

So often, when change occurs, the first instinct is to panic and go cruising into anxiety (the future) or negative comparisons (the past). When change unsettles you, seek out information in the present moment.

The best way to bring yourself to the present moment is to stop. Get comfortable with the practice of stopping – allowing yourself to be fully present to whatever is happening. From that place, your view is not distorted. You can choose your next steps and not be ruled by the fog of uncertainty.

 

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What Are You Certain Of?

ID-10010752It is an interesting question. On one hand, you could answer, “I am certain of nothing. Everything changes.” On the other hand you could answer, “I am certain of myself and who I am.”

How do certainty and uncertainty affect you? Both can be illusions. Are you really 100% certain? Is there really as much uncertainty in the present moment as you think there is? Certainty-uncertainty – it’s a balance. Both are elements of our lives. Both affect us in positive and negative ways. Both can harm us, if we lose perspective.

What are you certain of?

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The Unknown As Adventure

ID-100280272Acceptance of the unknown is central to our ability to risk, to move forward and to master new skills and experiences. To succeed in work and life, we must face the fear we have of the unknown. It is not an easy task to let fear go completely, but we must face it and not let our fear of the unknown control how we work and live our lives.

One way to begin to release our fear is to start looking at the unknown as the adventure it truly is. We can create small unknowns such as taking a day off, making no plans and seeing what shows up. Or, leading your team in a time of uncertainty, by directly identifying the presence of the unknown and finding ways to navigate it and see it as an adventure The definition of adventure is: an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. Note the use of the word hazardous in the definition. That speaks volumes about our society’s view of the unknown. We can prepare for hazards, yes but also put our focus on the exciting and unusual.

The unknown can lead to innovation, unexpected successes, new experiences and exciting discoveries. The next time you encounter the unknown, approach it as an adventure and see what happens.

 

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Getting Comfortable With Uncertainty

Our societal structure is set up to protect us. Overall, this is a very good thing. However, in dealing with uncertainty, there is not much this societal structure can do. Uncertainty will always be part of your reality.

Uncertainty can show up in your managing in a variety of ways. Here are some examples:

• There is a change of upper level personnel and you and your team have to justify your programs, without knowing if they will be accepted or rejected

• There are uncertainties inherent in work you are doing (for example, engineering designs that have not been tested in the field, but you are being pressured to get the product out in the market)

• The success of a program is dependent on its acceptance by clients or the public and you cannot predict, with 100% certainty, how it will be received

• You think one of your star performers is being recruited by a competitor or is actively looking for another position, but when you approach the subject, he or she is not forthcoming

So, as a person and as a manager, how do you get comfortable with uncertainty? A starting point is to accept that uncertainty is frequently present. By acknowledging the presence of uncertainty, you can deal with it. When you act as if it is not there and project certainty, uncertainty often shows up in dangerous ways. If uncertainty is present, bring it out in the open to both your team and your organization. Then, the truth is on the table and acknowledged. Develop your team’s skills for identifying assumptions (see previous blog post on developing assumptions ) . As you go forward, constantly revisit the uncertainties involved, to see if circumstances have changed, or if they may have lessened. Have your team be on the lookout for ways to decrease uncertainty in the project.

As you get comfortable with uncertainty, you may find that this enhances your performance by leaving open space, within which innovation can grow. By acknowledging uncertainty you will be acting from a stronger, not a weaker position. There is little gained in ignoring uncertainty and there is much to lose.

“Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.” – R.I Fitzhenry

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