I don’t know about you, but it seems like change is happening at an increasingly faster rate and at an insane volume.
In the world we live in today, this speed and volume of change can create an incredible amount of uncertainty. In turn, uncertainty can stimulate fear…immobilizing, debilitating fear.
Fortunately, we do not have to lie down and take it. There are effective strategies we can use to make the best of it.
I’ll share with you what the experts say about how the following three strategies can help us face our uncertainty:
At the end of this presentation, I’ll share with you how you can get a gift from me of a one-hour coaching session in which we will work out an action plan for you to put to work immediately in order to make the best of the uncertainty in your life.
Hi, I’m Doyle Banks. I’m a life coach and educator. And I work with people who are making deep transformational changes in their personal and professional lives.
Today, I want to share with you some thoughts on how we can cope with uncertainty, and I’m going to offer you three expert strategies for doing just that.
Last time we talked about the three strategic questions that we can ask ourselves in the face of negative events or challenging events. The questions were suggested by Daniel H pink in his book, “To Sell Is Human”. If you’ve not read that book, again, I highly recommend it. It’s a great read. Very, very helpful.
As I mentioned, we’re going to look at uncertainty today and I don’t know about you, but in my life and in the lives of people I talk with day to day, it just seems like change is coming at us more and more quickly and in greater and greater volume. It can just be downright overwhelming. And when that proverbial rug gets pulled out from under our feet, it can really cause a lot of chaos and confusion and pain! So, as I mentioned, I want to share with you three expert strategies for dealing with uncertainty.
The first strategy is curiosity, and we know from experience that curiosity stimulates fear. The 19th century, Irish poet, James Stephens said this, “Curiosity will conquer fear even better than bravery will”. Curiosity will conquer fear even better than bravery will. And Maria Ellora Cabbott, a contributing writer over at Thrive Global website agrees.
Maria has three things to say about curiosity in the face of uncertainty. First of all, she says that it helps us face the unknown and get out of our comfort zones so that we can learn about ourselves and others.
Secondly, she says that curiosity can help us develop empathy. If you’ve been around me for very long, you know, that I’m real big on empathy. To me, empathy is one of the greatest human skills that we have available to create connection with ourselves and with each other, and to create more of the world that we, we want to live in.
Thirdly, Maria says that curiosity can help us become better problem solvers. And I would have to agree. When we’re down in that fear and chaos and all the negative feelings that uncertainty can stimulate, we’re using the more ancient parts of our brains, the limbic system and the reptilian brain, if you will, and that fight, flight, immobilize reaction part of our brain system, and we can’t access our logical minds.
When we can calm ourselves, give ourselves some empathy, or get empathy from someone, and get ourselves out of the animal or reptilian brain, then we can turn the logical brain back on and look at the situation, the uncertainty, from different points of view and come up with solutions to try. So, we can become better problem solvers using curiosity. We can develop empathy, become better human beings with curiosity. And we can also learn more about ourselves and be able to face the situation with more skill.
The second strategy I want to share with you is, is acceptance. Now, Christine Carter, of the Greater Good Science Center, says in her article, “Seven Ways to Cope With Uncertainty”, that acceptance can help us deal with the pain and the challenging emotions that get stimulated by uncertainty. Christine says that when we practice acceptance, then we can accept life where it is, as it is. And rather than get caught up in a bunch of stories about how it shouldn’t be this way and really make ourselves even more miserable. We can simply look at it, see the reality that’s before us and accept it, and figure out how to work with it. We can also learn how to accept our emotions and how to cope with the emotions that come up in the face of uncertainty.
Reinhold Niebuhr the theologian, you may know, wrote the original version of what we know as the Serenity Prayer. In the prayer, he talks about, may we have the ability to change the things that we can change that can be altered. And then, may we be able to accept the things that cannot be changed. And finally, may we have the wisdom, or what I would call discernment, to know the difference between the two.
When we can arrive at that kind of serenity, that kind of, that level of acceptance, then we can often have a much better chance at creating solutions that are actually going to work and that are going to be sustainable over time.
One other thing to say about acceptance is that we’re not talking about resignation or giving up, laying down and letting life run over us. Rather, we’re doing just as Reinhold Niebuhr said in the prayer, we’re taking a realistic look at what is, and taking action where we can, and then letting whatever we cannot change be as it is, at least for the moment. And down the road, if things change, then we’ll take appropriate action to change whatever we can.
The third and final strategy I want to share with you is self-care. The American Psychological Association found in a recent survey that self-care is one of the top 10 strategies people use for dealing with uncertainty. Self-care is not self-indulgence. Rather, it’s really giving ourselves excellent care, appropriate care in the face of uncertainty. And that means taking good care of our bodies, taking good care of our minds, our emotions, and our spirits.
In my video, “How to Start Your Excellent Year: Part One”, I lay out four strategies for taking care of our bodies. And then in Part Two and Three, I talk about how to take care of our mind and emotions and our relationships as well. So, if you haven’t seen those yet and would like a little bit more in-depth help on how to do self-care, you might want to check those out.
So, to conclude, we’ve talked about using curiosity, practicing acceptance, and executing good self-care as three strategies to deal with uncertainty in our lives. If you find yourself in an uncertain place right now, and you’re feeling fear and maybe feeling some depression and so on, I encourage you try putting these into practice.
Again, it’s the exact same coaching that I offer, to my regular coaching clients. If that sounds helpful, you can click here and sign up for a Discovery Coaching Call. We’ll get together and go to work and see what we can do to help make your life better, to help you create the transformation that you want to create.