“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
Uncertainty can be challenging but ultimately it’s what keeps life meaningful.
Stressful and exciting
Fear invoking and empowering
Unnerving and confidence building
The process of uncertainty is called life. It’s what keeps things interesting, engaging, and fulfilling. If you knew what to expect at all times, my guess is you’d get bored, very bored. Yes, of course there are plenty of areas where we don’t welcome uncertainty. From simple things such as having your morning coffee taste just right to knowing your car will start to more major things such as getting a clean bill of health from your doctor each year.
You may feel uncertain when you step into the unknown and decide to be your own boss, start a family, buy a home, change jobs, or even sign-up for a class. I felt lots of uncertainty when I left my finance job in NYC and started a new career as a Business Coach, and then again when I moved from NYC to Los Angeles. I also built a lot of confidence by making it through each of these transitions. You have to step through the phase called uncertainty to create something bigger in your life.
Many people condition their mind to view a change in their situation as a bad thing when in reality it’s neutral. The event only takes on a positive or negative spin when we classify it. Typically, we are excited for “positive” events and uncomfortable with “negative” events because they fall outside our comfort zone. Feeling unsure or being in the uncertain phase is similar to being outside your comfort zone.
People who turn ideas into action agree that the magic happens outside your comfort zone.
Here’s why uncertainty can be a good thing in your life:
1. Uncertainty Leads to Major Breakthroughs
Think about major shifts and successes in your life. Were you 100% sure of the process the entire time or did you have some doubts?
One of my clients had a catering business in NYC that was highly respected but she was always struggling to get her next gig. She wanted something better for herself. She researched other careers and together we decided that her strengths matched a career in Residential Real Estate. Everyone told her it was a difficult time to enter the NYC market, and it was, but she was determined. She became a broker at a well-known company and became Rookie Broker of the Year in 2011. She’s on track to be the top broker in the office this year and, most importantly, loves her career. She had to step into the unknown to discover what she could accomplish.
2. Uncertainty Leads to a Confidence boost
When you successfully move through challenging periods such as starting your own company, changing careers, losing weight, or taking on a new project, you gain one more data point and prove to yourself that you can do it. These are called “wins” and they need to be acknowledged. There’s nothing new about the concept of uncertainty, just that it pushes you outside your comfort zone, which is naturally an uncomfortable feeling.
We all have uncertainty in our lives—sometimes we just need to remind ourselves of what we’ve achieved and leverage these wins to build confidence.
3. Uncertainty Leads to Growth
After twenty-five years, Oprah said goodbye to her number one-rated talk show. Few people would part with this level of success to start a network. Initially there was much doubt around the network but they continue to take small steps forward each day and make progress. Oprah always wondered what her initials could be used for and when she started her network, OWN, it finally made sense (OWN = Oprah Winfrey Network). All achievers and entrepreneurs have to move through uncertainty to continue to grow.
The simple truth is that you need uncertainty in your life because it’s the fuel that helps you Live in Your Top 1% and reach for your highest potential.
TOP 1% BOTTOM LINE: Challenge yourself to condition your mind to realize that uncertainty leads to extraordinary opportunity and potential. Becoming comfortable with uncertainty is one of the key ingredients to success. And to share your best self, you need to produce genius level work and continuously move through these transition periods.
Alissa Finerman is an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, speaker and author of Living in YOUR Top 1%. She works with managers, C-suite executives and teams to leverage strengths, shift beliefs and achieve meaningful goals. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with Ross Stores, Petco, BNP Paribas, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Brookfield Property Partners, Neutrogena and Bristol-Myers Squibb. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and follow her on Facebook