5 Great Things From Worry and Uncertainty
Author: Michelle Fitzsimons
Change and uncertainty have a two best friends; worry and anxiety! Take control and make uncertainty and worry work for you.
I and many other people find this time of year great to focus on new plans, feel motivated and invigorated with a burning desire for new stationary.The routine of the kids back to school, holidays are over and the rush hour traffic being back to normal is somewhat comforting. It is a natural time to knuckle down and get on with things. I decided this week to try to “knuckle down” with a bit of reflection. What has the last 5 months been all about? Well uncertainty and worry rank high which led me to the workshop I wrote to help manage them. In a rather reluctant attempt to take my business online, I delivered a few sessions via Zoom. I thought it went OK and I got good feedback but operating on Zoom doesn’t tick many boxes for me so, if I am honest, I didn’t try very hard to promote it. It got forgotten a little bit so as part of my reflection I revisited it. Was it any good? One delegate had fed back her experience of working through the technique I suggested in some detail. I am proud to say she nailed it. The thing that was causing her sleepless nights is now under control and working for her. Why? Because she took action and made the uncertainty and worry work for her.
This prompted me to look at myself again and as the coronacoaster continues to deliver its ups and downs, twists and turns and what seems like relentless change I know I am not alone in still finding it difficult to concentrate, be productive, be positive and find any semblance of routine because things aren’t back to normal and won’t be anytime soon. We are living with incredible uncertainty, for many still very worrying times. It might be the virus that bothers you, it might be business challenges, it might be your children’s education. It could be anything. The point is it is real, we have had many months of it, and I am getting a little bit fed up. So, in true Threedom style, turning to my strengths as a naturally inquisitive, optimistic thinker I set about finding the positives.
Uncertainty and worry:
- Drive change. Firstly, and arguably most importantly tackling uncertainty and worry will drive change. Many of us find change challenging and can easily become comfortable in our world but without change where would we be? Think about the last 5 months. Prior to March many organisations were very reluctant to embrace flexible working or working from home. If they had continued with the belief it would not work, then where would they be now? If something is bothering you then do something to change it. The last 5 months have shown we are all more able to change than we maybe at first think.
- Keep us safe. Much of what we worry about has a place, and some basis of truth in it so if the worry is posing a risk, for example you worry about your child walking home from school alone then you teach them about strangers, crossing the road and safe routes. In order to minimise the risk, thus reducing your level of concern. Be aware of what the worry is genuinely telling you.
- Encourage creativity and problem solving. With worry and uncertainty comes that horrible anxious feeling. Working out ways to minimise the impact requires creativity. Many of us live busy, varied lives with home, work, family and social lives intermingled. The pace of modern life often leaves little time for proper reflection and a deep level of thinking. Uncertainty and worry do their real damage when we can’t get a balanced view of something, when we can’t see a variety of perspectives. Taking the time to think about situations get to the nub of the issue with inquisitive thinking and problem solving will force deeper thinking. This in turn should result in an appreciation of different perspectives and potentially alternative solutions. It requires some skilled questioning to really understand what we are thinking. The best, easiest and often most effective questions you can use are things like “So What?” and “Why?” repeatedly. Eventually you will come out with an answer.
- Take action. All this thinking is great, but don’t put off acting on it. Thinking about things can give clarity and help to shake the feeling but sometimes we just have to bite the bullet and do something. Make that phone call, ask the question or have a difficult conversation. Avoiding something doesn’t make it go away and often leaves you agonising over it for longer.
- Learn acceptance. Really working on how you deal with uncertainty and worry in a positive way can in time lead to an ability to accept it. We cannot control everything in our lives nor should we try to. By proactively dealing with your thoughts and taking time to reflect on the outcomes means we learn to be able to just ride it out and see what happens rather than trying to anticipate, intervene or panic.
Simple as that eh? I appreciate how hard some of this can be and am not making light of worries but what I am encouraging you to do is take action don’t let uncertainty and worry hijack the good stuff as well.
If you need some help finding the positives in a sea of negative or want to book a place on the resurrected “Make uncertainty and Worry Work for You” workshop then we would love to hear from you.