6 steps to creating certainty in uncertain times
A few years ago I had a philosophical debate with a colleague about whether people are resistant to change. I stand by the opinion I held then, which is, most people aren’t resistant to change, we just find it hard to bring our best selves to work during periods of uncertainty. And, in my long and varied career I have never experienced the levels of uncertainty being faced now. Uncertainty impacts productivity. So how can you help yourself and your people to create certainty during uncertain times and maximise performance and productivity?
1. Short-term visioning
Short term visioning may sound like an oxymoron but given the unchartered waters we’re in, short term works best. During uncertainty we have lots of thoughts about what we don’t want and like. Step 1 is to flip this and create a vision of what you do want. How do you want the next 3-6 months to look, sound and feel like? Find an image that represents your vision – something that excites, compels and lifts you – something that makes you smile and creates optimism and belief. I love this Lidya Nada photo.
2. Make it purposeful
Ask yourself some questions, ‘why is this vision important to me?’ ‘what will it be like when I achieve it?’ ‘ what will it be like if I don’t?’ This step creates purpose – the ‘why’ for your endeavour. From the myths and legends we learned as children we know that important tasks are accompanied by challenges and obstacles. Your answers to these questions will help you push through when the inevitable hurdles appear, helping you to remain focussed and resolute.
3. Take back control
There are so many things right now that are outside of our control, which can feel frustrating and disempowering. There are also many things we can control – what we do and don’t do, what we say and don’t say, how we choose to respond in any given moment. Focus on what you can control and how you want to feel. Make decisions that serve your wellbeing and resilience.
4. Don’t procrastinate, act
Linked to no. 3 above is the power of deciding and taking immediate action. If you decide to rearrange your day so you walk the dog every lunchtime, start today, not next week or next month, or when your diary ‘starts to calm down’. Do it now or it will probably never happen. And act in ways that take you in the direction of your vision every day. Whenever I do this I am rewarded with the magic of momentum – unconnected wins that appear, seemingly, out of the blue.
5. Lay down helpful habits
Observe which of your actions raise your energy, make you happy and create optimism. Turn these actions in daily or weekly rituals. Rituals are where the power is. They define us and help deal with the uncertainty that comes with change. Creating the life you want and dealing with uncertainty is not an overnight event, however, regularly repeated rituals become helpful habits that provide a positive structure to your day.
6. Celebrate success
During uncertainty we can become blinkered, seeing only the gaps and missing the good stuff that is happening. Life immediately feels more assured when we recognise and appreciate the little things that make a difference and cherish the big ones. Celebrate progress daily and if you have a set-back, celebrate the learning this will give you.