I get motivated by big successes. I am the biggest sap in the world for underdog stories. I cried at the Chrysler Detroit Superbowl commercial.
It is so inspiring to see awesome creative endeavors, or to see an entrepreneur knock it out of the park with a new business.
In my role as a coach, I talk with a lot of people who are trying to create these big successes. They want to have a profitable business so badly that they can taste it. But it is hard. They struggle with carving out a great idea, finding a profitable market, and explaining to spouses and loved ones why it is worth tremendous risk to follow a dream.
If there were one skill that I would teach to every single one of my clients, it would be the ability to deal with uncertainty. Some believe that it is temporary — once they quit their jobs, get a few clients and become profitable, that things will calm down and they can finally relax and coast.
It doesn’t work like that. Uncertainty is a core element of life, and business. It does not go away once you reach a certain level of success, it actually increases. It is not something to run from, it is something to run into, head on, if you want to consistently deliver great work.
My good friend Jonathan Fields has just written an amazing book called Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance. It is extremely well-researched. It integrates left and right brain strategies. It is based on scores of interviews with people who are performing at the top of their fields. It will help you become a better leader, business owner, marketer and creative talent. Listen in to my conversation with Jonathan about some specific things you can do to amp up your competence dealing with uncertainty. After you watch it, buy the book, which drops this week!
Watch the video on YouTube here.
Entrepreneurship is a very enticing opportunity. People with a particularly strong skill often think to themselves how much better they would be doing if they were using that skill in their own business.You do need to have well-honed skills in the area of operations, but most first-time business owners are stunned to discover that the great skill ultimately turns out to be just another product they are selling.
Working with uncertainty is like swimming in a lake. You are never 100% sure where you are going or if you are moving in a straight line. You may end up bumping into something. You have to check every so often to make sure you’re still on path.
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Uncertainty is definitely a huge obstacle for most people and keeps them stuck in their 9-5 (myself included). I’d love to find new ways to redirect uncertainty in productive and creative ways. Looking forward to this book!
Pam – I would also argue that the certainty that many people think they feel working for an employer is an illusion. Just ask anybody who has been unexpectedly laid off, or has found out that the boss they love working with is leaving the company and is being replaced by someone difficult to work with. When you are an entrepreneur you’re just more aware of the uncertainty because there’s no other corporate entity to psychologically lay your burden on!
The book sounds great, I’m looking forward to checking it out.
Uncertainty can keep you up at night and give you a queasy feeling. While uncomfortable at times, those feelings make you feel alive. I’d rather my mind race with uncertainty than have the numbing comfort of a cube any day!
How can you master uncertainly, maybe by being on your back foot all the time.
Pam. Love this interview the the questions. I think uncertainty is one of those things that truly causes us to kill our creativity. It feels like that point at which you stand on a cliff and fall off head first, or decide to find a way to scale the cliff.
I also loved what Jonathan said about a calling or a current interest. Finding our purpose is so critical…yet we get confused with our purpose and our many interestes. I think that our purpose is that spark that guides us like a small beacon through uncertainty.
I get a lot of emails from folks who are just about to approach their own uncertainties and it’s almost like a very critical moment for them – – they will either embrace it, or struggle with it and go back. I try to encourage the uncomfortable feelings uncertainty brings because it’s the intersections of your purpose and your passion taking off.