How to Deal With Paralyzing Uncertainty in Your Business
I have been really wanting to write this blog post for a while now. Uncertainty is 100% something that I have struggled with and I imagine it’s something I will have to struggle with again.
I wanted to write about this topic to reassure those of you that might be feeling the same way that you are not alone. However, I also wanted to make sure I could give you some really concrete steps to help you overcome it.
This required a little more time for some self introspection, to really get to the bottom of overcoming uncertainty and, importantly, what was the root cause of it in the first place.
Uninspired and OVERWHELMED
The first thing I always do when uncertainty starts to pervade my business is to take a step back and evaluate. Quite often the uncertainty creeps in when I start meandering away from my focused goals and falling away from the path I’ve set out from myself.
Usually this is combined with a loss of enthusiasm for the project I’m working on, leading me to wonder whether this is what I really want to be doing. This is trail of thought is especially dangerous as it can lead to more self-doubt, uncertainty and derailing of projects that otherwise would have been worthwhile.
At its core this usually stems from a form of burnout, where motivation and creativity has been thoroughly spent.
The solution to this is to take a rest and get re-inspired.
Easy to say but not so easy to do, I know. I was definitely trapped in a cycle of working super long hours and then having to take several days off to recover.
Getting into a more permanent routine, to leave this cycle of highs and lows, is a work in progress but something I am constantly working towards. Start with having a much healthier morning routine, structured breaks and making a commitment to an exercise routine.
Bring back clarity by taking a break from work. Devote some time to your health (mentally and physically) and do something to help re-inspire you.
The Comparison Trap
Comparison is something that is frequently talked about and something that many of us try actively to avoid. However, it has a surprising habit of managing to sneak up on you out of the blue.
As part of our businesses, by necessity, we spend a lot of time on social media and being exposed to other businesses in our niche. It’s so difficult to disentangle our own goals and dreams from the ones that we are exposed to every day.
This is especially true when we begin to regard people as ‘more successful’ than us. It’s so easy to stop what you are doing, taking the focus off your own business and start to think about what other people are doing.
Therein lies the road to ruin.
The enthusiasm and certainty that your project is going to be amazing and that people will love it, is suddenly overshadowed by the other ‘successful’ projects in your niche. Maybe you should, in fact, be doing that?
You start to think; maybe I should be doing an online course? Maybe I should be targeting that kind of audience? Maybe my niche is wrong? Maybe I should be focused on that social media platform?
I’m not saying that learning new techniques and observing other ways of doing business is wrong. However, there comes a point when you are no longer learning – you are simply being distracted from your own business.
But here’s the thing. There may be a lot of factors in being successful but the greatest of all, I believe, is passionately believing and loving what you are doing. I truly believe that without that, failure is inevitable, in one way or another.
By all means, step outside your box and try new things. We can grow tremendously by stepping outside out comfort zones and, even if we don’t incorporate that new technique into our business, we will have learnt something valuable.
However, there is a difference. One the one hand there is being focused on your business and taking time to educate yourself; learning new techniques or investigating new angles.
And on the other, there is spending all of your time chasing new ideas, new marketing concepts, new ideas, new businesses, new niches, new audiences – and never building the proper foundation of your business.
We’ve all been there.
Try to limit your exposure to the distracting stimuli of your niche. If you are interesting in pursing something new, be mindful in dedicating a set time for exploring this new adventure that wont detract from your current projects.
Always look at these shiny new objects and take some time to reflect on them. Will changing your project or direction to this new way of working make you happy? Will it ignite but also sustain your passion for what you do into the future? Will you still be excited by this idea next week? Next month?
Make sure to give all of your current projects 100% right until the end.
And if you feel a lack of enthusiasm or inspiration coming on – take a step back and take some time for yourself, you might just need to rekindle your fire.
Reconnect With Yourself
This leads on from the point above. We can get so saturated with outside stimulus that sometimes we can forget ourselves a little bit. Just like we can be overtaken by a new trend, shiny new bauble or latest thing on the scene, we often come back to the same core values time and time again.
Often this feeling of uncertainty we feel is when we lose our connection with our core values in the face of this ever shifting world. We are assailed every day by people’s opinion, promotions and values.
It can take a special kind of belief in ourselves to stay unwavering loyal to our own values, tastes and ideals.
I’m not saying we can’t change. Goodness knows it’s important to evolve and grow as a person. Indeed, this might involve our own values and beliefs evolving and changing with us.
However, sometimes we need to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with ourselves.
We can be uncertain about a lot of things in life and in business. Should I leave my full time job? Should I launch a course? Write a book? Open a shop? Work with clients? Should I blog or not blog?
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of these decisions have to factor in practical considerations. However, I always start with how I feel, deep down, about a decision.
I have made a lot of decisions in my life based on reasonable, practical reasons.
Drop art because it won’t look as good on your CV. Take Law at university because it’s a respected degree and you will be more likely to get a job afterwards. Take a job in a commercial firm because it’s well paid. Write about business because that’s what people want to read.
Basing your decisions on what is ‘best’ for you ie financially speaking, job security wise, risk wise – is all well and good. However, if you don’t factor in your own passion, your own gut feeling, in my experience, it never really works out. You are missing the key ingredient.
So, absolutely take your practical factors into account – we do live in the real world after all. However, start with what, right at your core, feels good and go from there.
Reconnect with yourself and start with certainty in what you know you want. If you have a strong foundation to build on, you can throw away your uncertainty by knowing what you truly want and working towards it.
A Final Word
Do it now! Sometimes ‘later’ becomes ‘never’.
I hope this gave you a little inspiration and motivation to tackle those outstanding projects! Or maybe to just remind you that every so often we need to stand back and take a break every now and then.
If you liked the post I would be delighted if you helped me share it with all those that need a little inspiration top up today!
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