The need for certainty in our lives, that we can avoid pain, be safe or comfortable is fundamentally wired in each and every one of us. So how do we create certainty in times like this, where uncertainty reigns, where inundated daily by news, gossip and innuendo of how bad things are?
How you deal with uncertainty has a direct bearing on the level of success, happiness and fulfilment you experience in your life. The irony is that whilst we all need certainty in our lives, it’s our source of certainty that determines how truly effective we are. What’s yours? Is it in the state of your job, the economy, your spouse, colleagues, family, sharemarket? Do you get it from habits like smoking, eating, sport, exercise, prayer, meditation, venting, socialising? Or is it something you just have within you, or that you call faith or self-confidence?
Here’s an exercise for you:
- Think of recent times when you’ve felt really uncertain. What have you done to create certainty in those moments? Write down an inventory of actions you’ve taken.
- From this list, evaluate each and ask yourself “was this action or habit productive or helpful to me in a positive way, was it destructive or injurious (to my health, reputation, relationships, etc.) or was it neither productive nor destructive?
One of the traits of peak performers it that they simply make better choices.
Peak performers choose options that are positive and over which they have total control. Habits like prayer, the subtle things we do with our body or self-talk to stimulate a feeling of inner-confidence and control, proactively seeking mentoring or coaching or simply brainstorming and then taking creative, constructive solutions to create even more value for themselves and others around them. Peak performers appreciate that uncertainty, like gravity, is a fact of life. They thrive on it. Think about it. Olympians totally devote years of their life in fervent commitment to a cause that offers no guarantee of success.
Ineffective people, on the other hand, attempt to control the uncontrollable – their staff, colleagues, spouse, they blame the government, economy, lose emotional self-control with outbursts to “let off steam” – and thus perpetuate a life of constant “reaction” to one crises or another.
“It’s not the blowing of the wind, but the setting of the sail that determines where you end up in life” (Jim Rohn).
“It’s not how far you fall, it’s how high you bounce that counts.” (Brian Tracey).
”It’s in your moments of decisions that your destiny is shaped!” (Anthony Robbins).
- So what will you do today to make even better choices?
Here’s a tip – whenever you’re faced with a moment of uncertainty or feeling stressed, cultivate the following habit:
- Take a few deep breaths and ask “what’s GREAT about this situation?” Write down a list of all the positives. And for each positive, think about what’s great about that, etc. You should reach a point where you’re feeling a sense of GRATITUDE, perhaps even
- From this emotional state, ask yourself “What can I do to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this situation to make things even better for myself and others around me?” Remember, the best decisions are always made from an emotional state of GRATITUDE, LOVE or INSPIRATION! Not desperation, fear, anxiety or even over-exuberance.
- And then, just take ACTION!
Leaders, remember that your teams need certainty in such times. The best leaders exude and create certainty for their teams. Obama was able to win an “unwinnable” election because of the two candidates, he was more successful in exuding confidence and hope through his vision, passion and zeal. The US public dealing with uncertainties about his inexperience and all the innuendo about his faith and past, opted for a man who ultimately communicated CERTAINTY, that things could and will get better, with a strategy that they felt comfortable with. Remember, your teams want hope, inspiration that the future can be even better than the present or the past.
If you’re not offering it, they will seek solace from other sources, whether it’s through rumor-mongering, blame, apathy (which creates a sense of inner-certainty) or another employer.
“When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber” – Winston Churchill.
- Find your certainty, in the vision, how well prepared the team is, your confidence in your people, the strategies the team are proactively taking, etc.
- Communicate this regularly and positively to your teams.
- Institute informal think tank or coffee sessions to “listen” and empathise with your teams.
- Build your team’s self-confidence by continuing to set goals, strive to achieve them and communicate regular small wins.
- Keep your staff engaged – organise training that’s relevant and upbeat and which keeps them focused on the future and on what’s possible
Seize the Day! Make it the most magnificent you deserve!