Often, standing still and doing nothing is the most dangerous tactic you can take. Most companies who get themselves in a jam did it because they didn’t do anything. They saw their impending doom but were too frozen in their fear of uncertainty to do anything about it.
As we age, we tend to develop a love affair with certainty; we cling to it for dear life and, in most cases, it’s detrimental to our business life. We fear and detest change so much that we stop moving and growing. When it comes to our companies, a lack of movement and growth means our companies start dying.
What if your business is doing well, you have a strong team, solid roster of customers, and excellent profitability? Is it still dangerous to stand still? Yes, because no matter how clean and organized your company is right now, stuff happens. Customers change, go out of business, and get bought out. Things can happen to your key employees. The need for the product your build can wane. Heck, we could even have a world-wide pandemic that lasts three years or more. The thing we know for certain is that stuff happens.
What I’m really saying, of course, is that nothing is certain; nothing moves forward when you’re only interested in sure things. To move forward is to take risks and nothing gets done if you spend your life avoiding risks.
Transitioning from a mindset of absolute certainty to one focused on accomplishment and growth can be a powerful, but necessary shift. To help you with changing that mindset, here are 12 things to consider:
- Embrace uncertainty. Accept that uncertainty is a natural part of life and business. Instead of fearing it, view it as an opportunity for growth, learning, and innovation.
- Set clear goals. Define what you want to achieve. Clear goals give you direction and purpose, especially in uncertain circumstances.
- Assess risk. Evaluate the risks associated with your decisions, but don’t let fear of failure paralyze you. Calculated risks often lead to great rewards.
- Be flexible. Be open to changing course, if needed. Adaptability allows you to navigate uncertain situations more effectively. Being flexible may be the best tool in your “embracing change” toolkit. If you are flexible, you can handle just about anything.
- Learn from failure. Failure is not an end; it’s a stepping-stone toward success. Analyze what went wrong, extract lessons, learn from those lessons, and move on with your increased knowledge. Thomas Edison famously tried out 10,000 filaments before he got the right one for his new light bulb. His philosophy was, “I now know 9,999 filaments that don’t work!”
- Take action. Please do this. Get off your duff and do something, anything. Move! Avoid overthinking and analysis paralysis. Progress happens when you act, even when the outcome is not guaranteed.
- Focus on effort. Instead in fixating on certain outcomes, concentrate on giving your best effort. The process of doing, in and of itself, is always rewarding.
- Develop resilience. Resilience is built by facing challenges. Cultivate the ability to bounce back from setbacks with renewed determination.
- Celebrate small wins. Acknowledge and celebrate every step forward, no matter how small. This boosts motivation and helps maintain a positive outlook. It also creates a certain momentum of winning and accomplishment that will propel you to the next step, and the next, and so forth.
- Practice patience. Accomplishment takes time, change takes time. You need to be able to create lasting power, to persevere through uncertainty and delays. People do not fail, they quit. They often quit when success is just around the next bend. Have patience.
- Build a support network. Surround yourself with people who encourage and support your journey. They can offer guidance, comfort, and most importantly, encouragement to help guide you through the always scary forest of uncertainty.
- Trust yourself. Believe in yourself and your team. Have confidence in your ability to make the right choices and decisions, even when they are the scariest. Confidence in your skills can help you navigate uncertainty with great self-confidence and assuredness. “Fake it until you make it” can apply here.
Always remember, life is actually a series of leaps into the unknown but nothing gets accomplished until you are ready and willing to take that leap. The pursuit of accomplishment in search of excellence involves taking risks and embracing ambiguity. By focusing on growth, learning, and the journey itself, you can overcome the paralysis of uncertainty and accomplish great things.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Marketing Group.