The key to handling and rising above challenges and uncertainty is to keep moving onward with our growth, no matter what is happening ‘out there’. Letting go of what we cannot control and preparing to do more with less during times of great uncertainty ensures that we come out of the situation better and stronger.
However, this can be a struggle for many as uncertainty makes us feel like we are losing control, and we don’t like that uneasiness. Some people deal with the discomfort by trying to control whatever events or people they can around them. Others may find the feeling so paralyzing that they shut down in disempowerment. Either way, these people become victims of their own fearful and reactionary minds.
Every big change, whether good or bad, brings about uncertainty. Think of how uncertainty can also unlock feelings of fun, surprise, and anticipation. Not all uncertainty is bad and there is opportunity hidden in the unknown. And since the only thing that is certain in life is change itself, using uncertain times to liberate, motivate, and innovate will set us up for a successful future ahead.
Following the three steps below will ensure that we are always moving forward, in good times and in bad. No matter the circumstance or the situation, having a plan of action greatly improves our coping mechanism and mental health while we calmly try to gain back the steering wheel in our lives.
Set one clear audacious goal at a time. Goals have tremendous power in focusing our energy to ensure that every effort is towards the same direction. There is no shortage of goals to choose from. We can all think of a few goals we want to work on, but to see real progress, goal setting requires that we strategically identify where our efforts will create maximum impact and generate greater payoff. Setting too many goals scatters our limited time and energy. A better way is to try to identify one big and audacious goal that ties into everything else. This goal is a long term goal that, if accomplished, it will propel you one big step forward and make everything else easier. For example, instead of creating a bunch of smaller goals such as; improve website SEO, promote your services, build your email list, and sell your online course- set one big audacious goal to work on credibility and authority. You can do this by getting your content featured in or published by prominent online platforms or through speaking at events that will create greater exposure to your work. Focusing your time and energy on getting social recognition will also check-off all the individual smaller goals you had set for yourself.
Identify clear core values. Every individual and every company has many goals over time. These goals are diverse, they change, they are limited to certain timeframes. But what should stay consistent is the values that define who we are, as individuals and as organizations. That’s where real strength comes from, because in any situation we can chart our course by doing a simple test: we can ask ourselves, does this correspond with my values? Values set us apart from the competition by clarifying who we are and what we stand for and it is one of the most powerful ways to face the discomfort in the pursuit of growth and progress. For example, if you have a fear of public speaking, instead of working to “improve your public speaking skills” set your goal to “become a better public speaker”. Values are broader than goals and in the case of public speaking, you can overcome your fear because you care about your own growth as an individual.
Focus on small wins. According to researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, “Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.” This is the key to a productive and happy work. Progress, no matter how small, keeps us motivated, happy, and productive. And for executives and entrepreneurs, the surest way to an employee’s heart is helping them see the progress and the impact of their work. Amabile’s and Kramer’s research showed that employees who made progress in meaningful work were happier, more intrinsically motivated, and reported more positive interactions with colleagues. Even small wins can boost our commitment and productivity but because these wins are usually tiny and incremental, we run the risk of dismissing them and therefore not benefiting from their powers. The way to avoid this is to keep a work diary to reflect and track our progress to allow us to capture the small wins.