3 steps to handle the fear of uncertainty
Business and uncertainty go hand-in-hand, and as much as I was reminded of this fact throughout my entrepreneurial journey, I still constantly found myself fighting and resisting it. And the more I fought, the more stress I felt, and the less productive I became. The less productive I was, the more afraid of uncertainty I became, which created more stress as more uncertainty came into my life.
Fighting uncertainty instead of embracing it is what causes problems
Fighting and resisting uncertainty instead of embracing it resulted in many thought, feeling, and action patterns that did not help me build a thriving business.
For example, I hated showing up on social media because I always felt down whenever I saw that nobody engaged with my content. I got burnt out and exhausted more easily because I was so caught up in “Well, when is it going to get better?” Worrying about not being able to pay rent made me actually stop launching a program in the middle of the launch because nobody was buying and my brain kept telling me to go back to my day job instead.
How about you? How does the fear of uncertainty show up in your life?
When we fight an emotion (in this case, fear of uncertainty), we actually use a lot of energy and attention to resist it. We spend a lot of time pushing it out of our minds. If our minds happen to drift over to uncertainty, the fear is so strong that our minds freak out and start yelling, “No! No! We said we’re not going to think about this. We’re not going to feel it! Go away, go away!” Then we spend a ton of energy avoiding situations that we predict might trigger that feeling.
All this does is it keeps your mind on fear and uncertainty! The more you try to avoid it, the more you think about it. You think about how you’re going to avoid it, when you’re going to avoid it, where you have to avoid it, what you would do if you couldn’t avoid it, etc.
And what you think about usually ends up happening in your life. This is called the law of attraction. If you’re constantly thinking about the feeling (or energy) of fear, even if it’s to avoid it, you’re just attracting into your life more fear and more of what you’re fearing. So if you are afraid of and are actively resisting uncertainty, you’re just attracting more of it into your life.
The more uncertainty you attract, the stronger your fear. Then your brain says, “See? I told you uncertainty is terrifying and painful! Now we have to work even harder to avoid it!” And what does that do? Your mind then pays even more attention to the fear of uncertainty, which means the energy of fear and uncertainty not only continue to stay around you, but will probably multiply in frequency and intensity!
Feeling uncomfortable with uncertainty is a biological function of our minds and bodies
Uncertainty is uncomfortable for all of us. It’s actually a function of the ego. The ego is the part of the mind whose sole function is to preserve our self-identity and to keep us safe. And in order to keep us safe, the ego takes information from the past to predict the future.
When things are predictably bad, it’ll warn us by feeding us thoughts and feelings like anxiety and fear.
When things are NOT predictable, the ego decides we are just not safe at all and it triggers our internal stress response system that puts our bodies and minds on high alert so we can decide whether to fight the situation or flee from it.
As an entrepreneur, we have SO MANY situations that are unpredictable. If every single time our ego is triggered and we go into fight-or-flight, this pattern actually becomes hard-wired in our brain.
The next time we have a situation in which the outcome is uncertain, we automatically go into high stress mode. In this high stress mode, the only things we are able to think about is whether to fight or take flight. All of our energy is placed on making survival decisions, leaving no room to make conscious and wise decisions for our businesses.
For example, instead of launching a new project and giving up halfway through the launch when no one responds (✋ yes, I’ve done this), by embracing uncertainty, I am able to figure out why no one is responding and tweak my launch accordingly - I’m able to stay in the game.
A common mistake most people make…
The most common mistake that we make when it comes to dealing with uncertainty is to wish for things to be more certain. We invest in coaching and marketing programs from leaders in the space because they sound like they’re certain that their method will work for us. And then it’s super disappointing when we don’t get the results “we paid for.”
Think about the last program you took. You were probably taught a blueprint or method or strategy to follow, and then the instructor (at least the good ones) told you that your mindset is the make-it-or-break-it factor.
If you continue to carry fear, it will affect your business and how successful you are no matter who’s blueprint you’re following. And that’s why it’s important to address and release fear of any kind, but especially fear of uncertainty since uncertainty is the name of the game in business.
So the most common mistake people make is to wish for things to be more certain. Instead of wishing for this, what is much more effective is to figure how to release the fear of uncertainty so that it no longer stays on your mind and negatively impacts your business’ success.
The first step towards embracing uncertainty is to understand what it provides for you
So that’s my first question for you…What does uncertainty provide for you?
There is no right or wrong answer. What’s important is to answer this question with your own words so that you will remember them. If you need help, feel free to email me or drop me a comment below! I encourage you to discuss this with your friends and family as well. See what their answers are, take what you like, and create your own.
Second step is to identify how you WANT to feel when faced with uncertainty
My second question for you is…When faced with uncertainty, what do you WANT to feel INSTEAD of paralyzing fear or worry?
Once you’ve decided how you want to feel instead, it becomes easier to shift your desired thoughts and emotions.
Third step is to “future pace”
Now strengthen your connection with those desired thoughts and emotions and practice recreating them in your body and mind as much as possible.
Imagine past, present, or future situations in which the fear of uncertainty is normally triggered. See if you can tune into your mind and recreate your desired thoughts and feelings in your body instead of latching on to that fear. This is also called future-pacing - here is another example of how you can apply future pacing to your life and business.
When the fear of uncertainty happens IRL, make sure you don’t make any other decisions in your business without shifting fear into the thoughts and feelings that you desire, otherwise, you’re just recreating more fear. The more you future pace, the easier it will be to identify and release the fear of uncertainty the minute it shows up.
When you have a bunch of different passions that you want to explore in a business, it’s important to give yourself the time and space to experiment. Experimentation is a phase in business in which uncertainty is at its highest levels.
Resisting uncertainty during this time usually looks like bouncing around from business to business in search of something that you feel will certainly succeed. If this is the case for you, I have a guide to help you get centered and focused on one business that feels truly aligned with you on a soul level. Click here to access or click the button below.