Working with Uncertainty

We expect leaders, including ourselves, to have the answers. If we don’t have the answer to a leadership challenge, we may feel inadequate. These feelings, like inadequacy, may also include feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability. None of these feelings feel good to us, nor are allowed in the workplace, or so we’ve been taught.Really? Are we really supposed to never experience uncertainty as a leader? We are human beings, “hard-wired for struggle” as researcher, Brene‘ Brown states. We are not the Hollywood version of leaders —we are human. And with our humanness, we are sometimes—make that many times, uncertain.What do we do with this uncertainty? Well, we bury it of course. This strategy may work for us for a while, that is until it shows up again as illness, ulcers, or worse. Why do you think we are so stressed, obese, and addicted? It is because we bury and numb our feelings.The interesting thing about numbing is that when we numb our “bad” feelings such as uncertainty, vulnerability, doubt, and fear, we are also numbing our “good” feelings of joy, peace, and gratitude.Another important aspect to know about uncertainty and vulnerability is that this state is where creativity, joy, and beauty are found. Walking through the door of uncertainty and vulnerability is full of endless possibilities because this is the location of our true, authentic self.How do we work with uncertainty and vulnerability without going crazy? Follow these five steps to support you during these times:

  1. Embrace uncertainty and vulnerability. Reach into it and pull up and out all of the fear, anxiety, and doubt. Burying and numbing will only allow it to surface again, so lean in, feel those feelings, and then release.
  1. Stay present. Don’t worry about the future or live in the past. The only moment you have is the present one, so why waste it?
  1. Stay in your own lane. When we start to compare ourselves to others, we set ourselves up for failure, not because we cannot be as successful as someone else can, but because we cannot be anyone else. What I can be is the best version of me, and what you can be is the best, highest self you can be.
  1. Practice gratitude. Nothing else will bring you into the present faster than gratitude.
  1. Be loving and truthful with yourself and with others.

Remember that uncertainty and vulnerability is the birthplace of truth, authenticity, creativity, and beauty. When was a time you felt uncertain and conquered your fear? As always, I love to hear your thoughts.With love (and vulnerability),Maria