You have dealt with the unknown all your life. There are a variety of ways to do so: fear, making up things to fill unknown spaces, getting comfortable with it, pretending it isn’t there or running from it.
The world you live in now, however, is filled with a multitude of unknowns and asks you to look them in their face. Once you do, you realize that the bottom line of all you are experiencing is that you don’t know what the future will bring. As hard as it is, if you start from there you have the best chance of making it through and thriving in these times.
photo: John Hain, pixabay.com
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!
photo: darkmoon1968, pixabay.com
Usually, you know if you have stayed too long in a place or situation. It doesn’t feel good, but you can’t get yourself moving. Perhaps you don’t know where to go, don’t like going outside of your comfort zone or have fear around your next step. As uncomfortable as it may be, it is in your best interest to get moving. Staying too long has negative consequences. Things can get worse. You can get increasingly frustrated or worried. You can lose control and get pushed out.
Once you have recognized that you have stayed too long, start looking forward. The past is over. Your world has changed. Create a new chapter that will bring you happiness and fulfillment. You can do it.
photo: condesign, pixabay.com
Acceptance 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.
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Managers make decisions within uncertainty daily. Sometimes, critical decisions made within uncertainty involve high risk for a manager. When I worked as a manager at The US Environmental Protection Agency, one of our team’s most challenging projects was to develop guidance for scientists and regulators addressing decision making under uncertainty. In the project, we put a lot of our focus on the assumptions scientists and regulators made for each decision. Good assumptions can mitigate the risks inherent in decision making within uncertainty. Ideally, you have the time to make solid, well-researched assumptions, but that is not always possible. So, what do you do? Fly by the seat of your pants? No, you do the best you can in the time available to you. Some strategies for making critical decisions in uncertainty: bring your team together and use all your brainpower to identify first the unknowns involved and then the risks; devise the best course of action in the time available to you; document the assumptions and identified risks involved in your decision; get the concurrence of upper management both on your decision and on going forward within uncertainty. The unknown can become a bit more known with time, but will often remain, and decisions must be made. Get as comfortable as you can with uncertainty. Create a strategy that helps you deal within it.
Photo: FreeDigital Photos.net