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Dealing with Uncertainty

Dealing with Uncertainty

If the last few years have taught us anything, change is constant. But sometimes, it’s the rate of change that we’re not prepared for – making us less confident in what’s around the corner.

In this blog, we discuss ways to manage uncertainty.

What if the economy really takes a turn? What if I lose my job? Would we have enough money to survive? What if my new job doesn’t work out? 

Dealing with the uncertainties of life amplifies our fight or flight responses, causing stress & anxiety that we just don’t need.

It’s all about controlling the controllables! When it comes to change, we may not always be able to control the outcome, but what we can do is control our response to it. And that’s what shows our resilience. Through uncertain times this mindset and the tools we will discuss will help you bounce back from tough situations and overcome the challenges you may be facing. 

So here are five ways of dealing with uncertainty:

1. Let Go

The first step to dealing with uncertainty is to accept that we can’t control everything.

Because the truth is, no matter how hard you try, you can’t. 

Recognising that there is only so much you can do right now makes you human, not powerless. Things will unfold soon enough. In the meantime, the way you treat yourself is in your control, so be nice to yourself!

2. Imagine the Best

We often try to spare ourselves disappointment by thinking through how things could go wrong. And although planning for different scenarios is helpful, overindulging in only negative outcomes can quickly turn into a downward spiral, making us intolerant of uncertainty.

Research in cognitive behavioural therapy shows that people constantly planning for the worst tend to overestimate the risks and negative consequences that may result from a situation. This leads us to feelings of anxiety, stress and has the potential to set us up for failure.

It’s okay to plan for different scenarios but instead of only planning for the worst, try imagining the best possible outcomes. Visualise your surroundings and how it will feel. Not only will you feel more confident about where you’re heading, you’ll feel calmer and clearer about where you’re now, which will help you make clear decisions and boost your odds of success!

3. Reflect – and remember, this isn’t your first rodeo!

Remember, this isn’t the first time you’ve faced uncertainty.

The psychological concept of hindsight bias says that we tend to create the illusion that everything in our past was certain when in reality, it was once uncertain. The fact that you stand here now is proof that you are strong enough to make it through. Take time to think and reflect on what helped you before. Write it down – and then read it when your worrisome thoughts start to take hold.

4. Avoid Avoidance

A little uncertainty can actually be a good thing. It activates our “fight or flight” response – giving us a jolt of energy, keeping us aware of our surroundings and in some cases, prepares us to perform under pressure.

But… when this response makes us too anxious, it can have the opposite effect and be paralyzing. If you tend to avoid dealing with the future, remember, although dealing with uncertainty is difficult, if you don’t face it head-on, correctly, it can cause more anxiety.

5. Be Self-Compassionate

Uncertainty ahead of you means that there’s nothing set in stone. You are the person who will ‘write this chapter’, and, you can do it with self-compassion. And while that may appear daunting, you’ll begin to notice difficult thoughts and face them head-on, creating a space where you’re able to take risks.

Most importantly, always remember this: “If you beat yourself up whenever you fail or fall short, this naturally inhibits you from trying new things and taking chances. But when you’re self-compassionate, you know that even if you fail, you’ll still like yourself.

6. A Good Nights Sleep

The famous inventor E. Joseph Cossman once said, “the difference between hope and despair is a good night’s sleep”.

If you’re struggling, put your phone in another room and hit the hay. Everything will be better in the morning.

Don’t let uncertainty overwhelm you. You’ve got this!

About the author

Angela Cameron - CA, CPA

Executive Director

A chartered accountant by qualification, she is a recruitment leader by nature.

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