3 Keys to Manage Uncertainty

We are all waiting, watching and wondering what is going to happen and what the outcome will be. This is a recipe for an overactive mind, asking, “what if?” and going off on tangents. I understand, it happens to me too!

Human beings and businesses do not like uncertainty. We all want to predict what is going to happen. Watch any news cast and everyone is predicting the next move in politics and sports. When you have the right information, like the season stats of your favorite player or policies of various politicians, it becomes easier to do that.

Today, we are all living through something most of us have never experienced and fear is as contagious as the virus. Listen to the news for five minutes and you hear reports citing the worst-case scenario and the high end of numbers – designed to get your attention.

You hear those projected numbers, and, in the process, your primitive brain gets triggered because the numbers are shocking and instantly our brain goes into survival mode and the ability to think clearly drops off significantly. The fact is, we are hardwired for uncertainty – this is how we survive. Unfortunately, when the threats are imagined, our nervous system doesn’t know when to stop reacting. We need tools and a strategy to engage the switch in our wiring and function optimally.

Here are 3 keys to help you get ready for whatever comes next.

1. Stay calm and carry on.

Sage advice from the Queen. This means you control the controllable. By tuning into what you can manage, you avoid the hijacking from the primitive brain I mentioned earlier. The primitive brain is tripped by emotion and instantly moves into action; it is much faster than the logical brain and once triggered, it can’t be stopped.

Being aware of your fear response is essential to being able to stop it before it takes over. Imagine opening the gate to a corral of wild horses; once one gets out, there is no stopping them. This is the same thing for your fear or worry thoughts. This brings us to number two.

2. Stay positive.

Being optimistic is one of the most understated characteristics of successful people. I mentioned earlier that worry and fear are driven by a threat to survival and triggered by the primitive brain, and the instinct is to contract. Staying positive will help you keep those wild horses from stampeding and losing your mind to fear. It will also keep you poised to see the opportunity that exists in the crisis. There is always an opportunity in the crisis. In this current crisis I was thrilled to see a website pop up to locate essential items that are hard to find, grocery services for elderly and so much more.

3. Stay focused.

I know, this is easier said than done. Steps 1 and 2 will help here. This is one of the most difficult keys to managing uncertainty. Even when there isn’t a crisis, focus is tough in the digital age with information overload and chronic distraction changing our brain – literally. Constant scrolling and consuming endless bits of information makes it tough to learn new things and store any of the information we peruse. Our brain is flabby, and focus has become a lost art.

It is essential you focus on what you can control. Look ahead, be ruthless as you focus on what is required to keep moving forward. You need the clarity this brings to operate off the right information.

Living and leading through a crisis isn’t science. It is trial and error; you must learn along the way and continuously improve your strategy. Put these three keys into place and you will be on your way to dealing with the unexpected.

Register to watch this 1 hour webinar outlining the steps you  can take to manage uncertainty.

In this webinar we will explore:
• Dimensions of uncertainty and how these impact your leadership strategy
• 5 steps leaders need to manage uncertainty
• How to get your team’s attention when fear has taken over
• How to keep your mind focused (and fearless) despite the unknowns

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3 Keys to Manage Uncertainty

About Cynthia Howard RN, CNC, PhD

Performance Consultant. Unleashing potential in leaders and organizations through innovative performance development.