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Five Ways To Navigate Uncertainty

• I’m not sure.

• I don’t know

• I’ll wait and see

• I’m not ready yet.

• What if I’m wrong?

• What if I change my mind?

Sound familiar? The sounds of inaction. Being stuck. Immobile. 

We’ve all used these phrases at one time or another and yes, sometimes it is wise to be cautious. More often, however, comments such as the ones above are a result of fear of the unknown. Of uncertainty. The unknown feels murky. Messy. We want clarity. We want our lives to be simple and secure. We want to go directly from A to B. Yet getting from A to B in life is rarely a straight line. And then B disappears and we don’t know which way to turn. Clarity isn’t linear. Clarity comes as a dynamic, ever shifting process of unfolding. We make one decision. We take one step. We re-evaluate. Then take another step. Perhaps in the same direction. Perhaps down a different path. The path is made by walking. Only by moving in one direction do we know if it’s the direction we want to go or whether to try something else. How do we figure it out? How do we know what is the ‘right’ first step? How do we know what path to take? How do we find the assuredness that we’re after?

Five Ways To Navigate Uncertainty 

  1. Curiosity: Be wildly fascinated with details. Ask lots of questions. Notice your response and catch the next thought. Write it down. Keep a log. Be curious about every bit of information appearing in front of you. Pay attention to the little flirts that capture your attention. Notice patterns.
  2. Intuition. Trust your gut. Literally. Intuition is often a felt sense in the body. A physical release of tension when you find a decision or choice that is right for you. Intuition may also be a sense of knowing without explanation. It may be fleeting and requires noticing without judgment. With practice, access to intuition develops.
  3. Experiment. Think of the discovery process as a series of experiments where you are conducting research to determine one next step to take. You are gathering information. Remember that it’s through failed experiments that significant discoveries are made. Each time you take a step, give yourself full permission to change your mind.
  4. Meta view. Take the 30,000 foot perspective. You may have all your attention focused in one place but you might be barking up the wrong tree as the saying goes. Take a step back and see the bigger picture. The parameters of your goal may have shifted. More options and opportunities will reveal themselves through a broader lens.
  5. Equanimity. Trust the unfolding. Don’t hold onto a specific outcome. Put in your best effort and if it doesn’t work out, take the learning and move on. Be willing to let go of the fretting, past and future, and enjoy the clarity of this moment.

Uncertainty Is Where Learning Occurs

For as much as we fear the discomfort of the unknown, the known can hold a lot of discomfort too. We can know we’re unhappy and stuck in a rut, yet we’re willing to put up with this discomfort rather than venture out.  Before taking a step, we want to be sure. Certain. Yet, the only thing we can be certain about is change. The richness and learning happens in the unknown.

The discomfort of uncertainty is the most precious part of the experience. If you can be comfortable with not knowing, you can learn anything. And if not, you’ve stopped before you’ve begun. ~Professor Wilder

When it comes right down to it, the most clarity we can have is the clarity in the present moment. We can have hindsight which is clarity in history and helpful to inform future choices. But we can never be completely certain about how events will unfold. It really does come down to appreciating the journey. Choosing consciously from the clarity of each moment. Taking one step after another towards our goals, regardless of how circuitous - or uncomfortable - the route ends up being. 


Becoming comfortable with the discomfort of uncertainty is a practice. The more you step into the unknown, the less daunting it becomes. 

In my Finding Possibility in Uncertainty course, you'll learn a simple, easy to follow process that will help you figure out your first step. That first step will get you past the inertia of feeling stuck and open you up to possibility. You can take an initial step right now towards Finding Possibility here!  

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We’ll move into possibility together!

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