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  • Writer's pictureSusan Ordway

Tips for Dealing with Uncertainty that will Keep Your Life and Career On Track

When a team of McKinsey Consultants installed themselves on an entire floor at the financial institution where I worked, the writing was on the wall that change was imminent.

Their presence released a tidal wave of anxiety throughout the company.

The rumor mill was working overtime as the first staff cuts were made from top to bottom in a process that stretched out over months.

With each round of layoffs across the organization, I felt the noose tighten as I considered my options.

The uncertainty was maddening.

When I got the call, and my time at the company came to an end, it was actually kind of a relief.

At last, the torture of uncertainty had come to an end, and I could rebuild. Of course it was painful, but being released from a stall into forward motion felt like freedom. Lesson learned: if I had created that sense of freedom for myself earlier in the process, I could have started my forward progress earlier.

The worst part of the uncertainty is feeling like you're not in control. You're just waiting for something to happen, and until it does, it feels like you can't make any moves.

Why is the pause of uncertainty so irritating? By its very nature, you don't know what's going to happen. And more importantly, you have no control over moving the process along.

The trick is to stop fighting it, get into a state of flow, and change your mental focus. For a detail-oriented person like me, this is really hard to do. But if I can do it, so can you. I promise.

Some tricks to letting go:

- Be kind to yourself. Every day. No excuses!

- Limit exposure to stress-increasing things like social media and the news.

- Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control – this may be the main source of your worries.

- Do some self-care like exercise, meditation, or breathwork.

- Control what you can in other areas of your life by shifting your focus and energy.

Keep in mind that uncertainty is a part of life. We can't always control everything, and sometimes we just have to ride it out. It's not always easy, but it's doable.

So next time you're on this bumpy ride, try to stay chill and flow with all the other parts of your life. Take a deep breath, focus on something else, and know that things will work out eventually.

Focus on your needs, keeping the focus on you first, and you’ll increase your flexibility and resilience as you wait for the situation to resolve. Taking care of yourself first is truly your most important move.

Struggling with overwhelming uncertainty? Reach out and we’ll find a path forward together.

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