Uncertainty. It's like a black hole that can swallow you alive. It's probably one of the most prominent challenges that I help my coaching clients deal with on a regular basis. It causes more worry, anxiety, and self-doubt than any other concern I have come across. It creates frustration and paralysis. It can take someone from bold and confident to neurotic and scared. I've seen it over and over and while the circumstances are always unique, the symptoms are the same:
- Something big happens to create a massive life shift (i.e. someone else got the promotion, you just got fired or bought out, your partner is going through a personal crises and decided to leave you, one of your most important employees just quit, etc.). Essentially, the rug just got pulled out from under you.
- Disorientation occurs where you try to figure out why this happened and what it all means. You replay the events over and over again in your mind and wrack your brain to figure out what you could have done or said differently and why you didn't see the writing on the wall earlier.
- A dark period takes place where you feel nervous and scared about the future and what it holds for you. You are worried about money, concerned about maintaining your lifestyle, not sure about your career path and wondering what people are saying about you.
- The confidence you wore previously, like a badge of honor on your chest, fades and is replaced with a cloud of uncertainty. You wonder if you will ever come back from this blow and if your past success was really just dumb luck to begin with. You don't know where you are going. You are in a spin cycle, churning alternatives that are all flawed, leaving you on an unlit path with many sudden and disturbing twists and turns on the road ahead.
Uncertainty can wreak havoc with the most self-assured. It takes strength and trained mental forbearance to deal with sudden circumstances that can ordinarily bring us to our knees. Here are some recommendations for dealing with uncertainty ...