Why do I say “surviving?” Because, the challenge of not knowing what’s next feels like it could actually be life-threatening. As human beings, we expect to have feelings of CERTAINTY about life changes and choices we make. A part of learning and growing is we accept some things as “truth” that keep us grounded. New things and unexpected changes that emerge become extensions of our knowledge base that we accepted as the truth. We then build upon those truths with additions and re-interpretations, creating a firm and strong knowledge base that would not change. It could be added to and expanded but the base was constant and reliable indefinitely. However, over the last couple of years, some of our basic truths have been challenged and our confidence in what we believed to be true have been threatened. We are constantly judging and assessing current situations based on our interpretation of the truth. For example, I listened to the President share messages of unity, appreciation, and honor to the people of Ukraine and provide $33 billion in an aid package to the country. I totally agreed with his ideas, plans, and support. However, I heard others nearby grumbling and complaining. It said to me that they were “uncertain” that this was the right direction.
How do we know when we are doing what is right for ourselves? It can be difficult to get comfortable with or be certain of our decisions or chosen direction. How, then, do we feel that we know what is right for others? In my work as a counselor and consultant, I am often uncertain of what can work for someone else but feel more definite when I am thinking and planning about myself or my own family and friends. The changes that have taken place internationally has led me to be more cognizant of my own day to day planning and certainty of my recommendations for clients about what should work for them. I have to test the “truths” I was previously certain of and listen to others as they share their truths, which can be different than mine. From there, I can help others navigate options and test them out, starting by helping them assess if they feel that this task can be accomplished and that the end result will be in the best interest of all concerned. We recall a similar problem or situation and pinpoint ideas, actions, and how it was managed so that all concerned got most of what they wanted. Then we can apply those ideas and actions in the new situation, increasing our confidence for a successful outcome.
I feel that one of the reasons that success seems fleeting or difficult to predict is because the problems are new and the penalty for being incorrect with the planning this time can be deadly. Watching what is going on the other side of the world that is at war reminds us that not getting things right can mean that we don’t get another chance. It may mean that our entire team is no longer with us and our leaders have turned and run. When we don’t have several instances of success to build upon, we can get caught in feelings of questioning the outcome and even possibly expecting defeat. And, even though the war is continents away, it still has an impact on how we feel right here right now. We are fighting to survive uncertainty because our truth for safety, independence, and kindness to our fellow man are being tested. Even though it is miles and oceans away, it has had its impact on our present lives and plans. So, where do we go from here? How do we deal with the tendency to have questions, negative expectations, and fears about our own talents and gifts?
My suggestion is to follow this four-step approach to build confidence in your decisions and actions:
- Stay tuned into the PRESENT MOMENT. Know what you want for RIGHT NOW.
- Be CLEAR in SPEAKING YOUR THOUGHTS first to yourself, and then to others.
- IDENTIFY and TAKE ACTIONS connected to your purpose.
- EVALUATE YOUR SUCCESS so you know how to duplicate it when needed.
Recognize that you have survived much uncertainty, and even thrived. And, you will do it again. You are resilient, as my colleague Tamera Loerzel shared in a recent blog.
Celebrate yourself and how strong you are as you brave uncertainty every day. You deserve it!