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How to Overcome (And Even Harness) Uncertainty
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Uncertainty, is the silent killer of dreams and good intentions.
Uncertainty will stop you from taking action and turn you against yourself.
Uncertainty will make you think that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, you’re too young or even worse.
Since everyone faces uncertainty, understanding how to tackle this fear is vital to your long term success.
Luckily for us you can use that anxiety as a positive. The anxiety you feel in the face of Uncertainty can be a sign that you are heading into the right direction… you are on the path to something amazing.
This week a very special book is launching, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance by Jonathan Fields – a serial entrepreneur, family man, speaker and wearer of a dozen other hats.
In the wake of the release of Uncertainty, we asked 8 successful web-entrepreneurs how they dealt with uncertainty when they were launching their business
We asked them the question: In a moment of uncertainty, how did you use it as motivation?
Below are their responses:
Using Uncertainty as Motivation:
Derek Halpern – Social Triggers
There are two types of uncertainty:
First, there’s that gut-wrenching feeling in your stomach when you know you’re making the wrong decision.
And then, there’s that uneasy feeling you get right before you pull the trigger on the right decision.
The trick is to know the difference between the two.
Chris Guillebeau – The Art of Non-Conformity
One moment was when I stole a car at age 14 without knowing how to drive. All of a sudden, I was extremely uncertain, but also extremely motivated to teach myself as I cruised through suburbia. All went well until I crashed into a brick mailbox.
These days, I don’t often steal cars, but I often use the same mental trick — to link uncertainty and fear into something that creates motivation and reward.
Benny Lewis – Fluent In 3 Months
Uncertainty is a huge part of my life, since I travel all the time to completely different countries that rarely speak any English.
But uncertainty is the reason I do it in the first place; for the adventure.
It’s the same with blogging. Should I change my design? Put time into some new social media fad? Guest post? Post regularly, or write long?
There are so many questions, and too many conflicting answers to make one universal rule work. So I charge into the uncertainty and experiment.
And it turns out to be a lot of fun!
The best bloggers are those who deal with uncertainty all the time because they embrace change. Trying things out, and yes, failing, regularly are what help you to go in the right direction.
The more you fail the better – like the proverbial light bulb invention, you are eliminating all the “wrong ways”.
Research should only be to find new ideas to inspire you – actually applying them for real if you feel they could work, should be your true research! When you do try to be so unique, it’s going to make some people angry.
And that’s good.
As much of a positive difference I feel I’m making with my site, I know I’m definitely on the right track because every few days I get trolls insulting me.
Rocking the status quo will always ruffle feathers!
Jenny Blake – Life After College
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and insecurity is the only security.” –John Allan Paulos
Fighting uncertainty is futile. Uncertainty is truly the only certainty we have in life, so rather than fight it we do best to embrace it. If you get quiet enough in moments of uncertainty, you’ll hear your path whispering to you. You’ll hear your gut, you’ll become aware of new information, and you will move forward in beautiful ways that you couldn’t have even planned for if you tried.
I’ve had a lifelong goal of moving to New York City. After a gorgeous snowy trip last December, I decided it was time. I had no idea how I would get here, where I would live, or what to do with my condo back at home. But step by step, I embraced the uncertainty and leaned into it. It’s so easy to turn uncertainty into unnecessary worry, but if you just trust in yourself, your resourcefulness, and the power of serendipity, you will figure things out.
My other favorite quote is “That which you can plan is too small for you to live.” Take uncertainty as a sign that you’re doing great things in your life — celebrate, invite it in, and enjoy the beautiful chaos of it all.
Sean Ogle – Location Rebel
For a year and a half I was paralyzed by uncertainty over leaving a job I was unhappy with. All I wanted to was to start my own business and travel the world. I thought I had dozens of fears that were keeping me from inaction. In the end I realized there’s only one fear in the world – the fear of uncertainty.
By embracing this realization, along with the idea that nothing worth doing will ever be completely certain, I started making moves that have 2 years later led me to a successful business and a beach in Bali where I sit writing this. Life would not be fun if it weren’t for uncertainty. Never forget that.
Willie Jackson: WillieJackson.com
I’m of the mind that the better one gets at dealing with uncertainty, chaos and unpredictability, the better off one will be in life, business, and relationships.
I say this because most people live inside a box, terrified of change, opting for the safest choice whenever possible.
This gives change makers the opportunity to excel at every turn, taking calculated risks whenever possible.
As it relates to life: we get one shot. A life lived in fear is no life at all, so it’s important not to allow uncertainty to preclude us from making the most of the time we’ve got.
It’s human nature to accept circumstances since we’re creatures of habit, so the challenge (an essential one at that) is to be in constant posture of evaluating uncertainty in the context of growth opportunity.
As it relates to business: entrepreneurial success in particular requires a measure of uncertainty — risk of failure is the point, since the dinosaurs (businesses slow to move and adapt) in any industry will be in a rush to do the old thing.
Smaller, more nimble companies with fresh (and sometimes radically different) perspectives on the marketplace will err towards what’s risky and uncertain, sometimes resulting in outsized ROI and glory.
As it relates to relationships: approaching a woman you don’t know isn’t easy, and that’s why most men fail.
We talk ourselves out of saying hello to an attractive woman because the thought of being rejected by a beautiful women turns most men into puddles of XBOX-playing anti-social putty.
Cultivating a fearlessness with respect to rejection and mitigating risk wherever possible is the key to success here (shaving and looking presentable tend to help as well).
Karol Gajda: Ridiculously Extraordinary
Every person who has lived a successful life or created a successful business has learned to embrace uncertainty.
If you can’t make decisions in uncertain times then others will make decisions for you. That is almost never a good thing.
But, like anybody, I’ve made mistakes.
Faced with uncertainty I’ve chosen the wrong path many times. Without fail that was because I was trying to fight with the uncertainty.
I didn’t want to acknowledge it was there and so my decision making was cloudy.
I’ve learned, in a way, to throw my hands up and expect a level of uncertainty in everything I do. That includes anything from meeting a new person to starting a new business to writing a new article to traveling to a new place.
Since I expect uncertainty to show its face I don’t get overwhelmingly stressed out about it. When I’m not stressed out I think clearly and make better decisions.
Peter Shallard – The Shrink for Entrepreneurs
My entire start in the world of online business was riddled with uncertainty.
When I started out, I was looking to transition a private therapy practice and corporate consultancy business into some kind of online model.
I wanted to create freedom in my life (working 70 hour weeks had taken it’s toll!) but had no idea how to do it.
This meant that as I developed a model for online consulting (everything from marketing it through to delivering it) I was uncertain.
Despite having advice from some of the smartest online marketers out there.
I used the uncertainty I was feeling to fuel a new belief about myself – a new identity almost. I started telling myself that I was being a pioneer in my industry.
I framed my adventure (and all subsequent uncertainty that surrounded it) as the pioneering first steps of a therapist taking their work online.
This perspective changed everything. Suddenly, the meaning of uncertainty was transformed at a fundamental level. Instead of being a terrifying emotion to avoid, uncertainty became the needle on my compass – pointing me toward more pioneering work.
I knew that, by definition, if I was feeling uncertain about something… I probably wasn’t doing anything new.
I believe this is true for everyone. If you’re looking to follow in someone else’s footsteps, or walk a well-trodden path then uncertainty is your enemy.
If your goal is to do something totally fresh and new, then expect uncertainty.
Embrace it. Use it as a signal from your intuitive, wisest self that you’re heading in the right (exciting) direction.
If you boil down the message from our 8 web-entrepreneurs, it becomes clear.
When uncertainty creeps up take it as a sign that you are on to something extraordinary.
Sure the waters may be uncharted and failure could be a real possibility.
But if you focused only the what ifs or what could go wrong, you won’t ever reach your goal.
Each of these web-entrepreneurs learned how to use uncertainty as a tool.
A tool to do amazing things.
Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance
If you are interested in learning to harness uncertainty, you need to check out Jonathan Fields’ new book.
Uncertainty is something that we all encounter, but even if we are aware of it. We may not know how to deal with it.
To learn how to deal with Uncertainty you should buy this book and use it as your guide… use it to give clarity and focus that you’ll need to develop and grow your online business.
You won’t regret it, because once you overcome uncertainty and learn to harness it – Success is just a step away.
(If you think you have uncertainty in your life make sure you check out the trailer for the book to see how Jonathan overcame uncertainty to do incredible things.)