How to Deal with Uncertainty and Thrive in Your Professional and Personal Life
Fear of uncertainty can stifle our careers, especially in creative jobs. And there has rarely, if ever, been more uncertainty at work than there is today. Our economy is inundated with threats. The Ukrainian conflict. Rising interest rates. Out-of-control inflation. Supply chain bottlenecks. And can anyone say how the next stage of the Covid-19 pandemic will pan out and affect technology and creative jobs?
The Effects of Fear of Uncertainty at Work
As humans, we like a degree of certainty, don’t we? It keeps us sane. Some would say it improves our performance. We like to know that there will be food on our table daily, and a salary in our checking account each month.
When we’re at work, most of us prefer to know what tasks we will be doing and what is expected of us. We certainly want to feel that our jobs are secure.
When these basic needs are threatened by change and uncertainty, we run the risk of freaking out – and this can lead to poor decision making.
Uncertainty makes us anxious. Now a little anxiousness is normal – like when we need to present to a client. But when our anxiousness begins to invade every moment of our day, other things start to happen. We may sleep less, and eat or drink more. Our decision making suffers. So does our performance.
Uncertainty often leads to us believing the worst will happen. We’re going to lose our jobs, our homes, our lives. And this makes us even more anxious. So much so that we begin to become depressed. And that affects everything we do, and every thought we have. Eventually, the noise of uncertainty that surrounds us leads to physical health issues, directly because of the hit our mental health is taking.
And our work suffers. We lack attention to detail. We become impatient, with ourselves, our bosses, our colleagues, and our clients. Our judgement suffers, and we become susceptible to taking misinformation as gospel.
Can you see why we need to learn how to deal with uncertainty? If we don’t, we risk getting sucked into a downward spiral of negativity, nerves, and non-productive behavior – in our professional and personal lives.
5 Tips for Coping with Change and Uncertainty
Enough talk about how uncertainty can affect each of us. What’s important right now is to develop strategies to help us cope, so that we are able to forge ahead in creative jobs in the new normal. So, extinguish that cigarette. Pour the whisky back in the bottle. Put that tub of ice cream back in the freezer.
The best way we can manage the stress of uncertainty at work is to increase our stress resilience. We won’t find this in a bottle or ice cream tub, but there are ways in which we can train ourselves mentally.
1. Understand That Life Is Full of Uncertainties
If there is one constant in life, it’s change. And change is always accompanied by uncertainty. In fact, our lives are one lengthy list of changes, from the moment we are born. When we first attend school. When we leave home to go to college. When we learn to drive and buy our first car. When we get married. When we have children. When we buy our first home.
We don’t retreat from these changes. We embrace them. Often, we instigate them. That’s the difference with the fear of uncertainty. Today, all the uncertainty is because of things happening to us, not because of us.
2. Address Fear of Uncertainty Early
If we are to overcome our fears, improve our mental health, and make ourselves indispensable at work, we’ve got to know the signs that our mental health is suffering and act quickly. We’ve got to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others.
This means getting exercise, sleeping well, eating healthily, and learning to relax. Nix the unhealthy behaviors, and get those serotonins flowing.
3. Less Fretting, More Giving, and More Fantasizing!
Is there any point in fretting over those things we cannot change? Worrying takes its toll on our mental health, and the more we worry… the more we are inclined to worry.
Instead of worrying about ourselves, we should divert all this negative energy into doing something positive for others. Volunteer at your favorite charity. Get involved in the community. Do a random act of kindness each day. Helping others helps us. It makes us feel better about ourselves, and it broadens our network and our talents.
We can also channel our thoughts more positively by imagining positive outcomes from negative situations. Indeed, this type of reverse thinking improves our creativity as well as our outlook on life and work.
4. Practice Gratitude and Affirmation
When we’re racked with negative thoughts and the fear of uncertainty, it can be hard for us to see all that is good in our lives. We need to change the angle from which we view ourselves. Every day is a new dawn. A new opportunity to do something wonderful. A reason to be grateful for the things we do have.
And all those gifts in our lives – none of those were certain to be when we were born. They have come to us because we made them come to us. And even when things didn’t go our way, we fought through, and things tuned out good. Not quite how we expected, but good all the same.
5. Embrace Uncertainty as Opportunity
Our instinct is to rally against uncertainty in our lives. But if we take the counterintuitive action and embrace uncertainty, accepting that it is just part of life, we can manage all the uncertainty that life throws at us.
Take that uncertainty at work and kick it into touch. It’s an opportunity to reassess our lives, our work, our personal and professional goals, and to take back control. There may be a lot more uncertainty in life and in work today than we can remember, but this is simply a matter of scale. Uncertainty is always present.
If we accept this uncertainty, we’ll have a more positive outlook. That’s going to make us stronger, more valuable employees. It’s going to reduce our stress, and improve our mental and physical wellbeing.
Take Control of Uncertainty Today
These tips should help you to take control of your fear of uncertainty. It’s not a quick fix, though. You must become mentally fit, especially after the trials of the last couple of years.
Are you happy in your work? Do you lack a challenge? When was the last time you sat down and assessed your career objectives and opportunities?
For a confidential conversation about your professional goals and career potential, submit your resume to TECHEAD today. You’ll find we are vastly different to other staffing agencies.