There is a joke about a guy who falls over a cliff and as he’s falling to his death, he grabs onto a branch.
He hears a voice from above and it says,” Let go, and I’ll catch you.”
The guy protests several times, saying, “No, no, I am too scared.” Finally lets go.
And crashes to the ground. As he lays dying, he calls up to the heaven’s and pleads, “I thought you said you’d catch me.”
And the voice says, “I never liked you, you SOB.”
For years that’s was my belief system. I was terrified f I let go and leaned into the new thing coming down the pipe, I’d be dropped on my head.
I believed it was not a friendly universe.
Then I made up stories about how this time it was going to fail big time.
But these days I trust a lot more. Maybe its because I am older ( or just plain exhausted) but I don’t fight uncertainty as much anymore. I realized that its part of this game of life. Especially life on the planet at the moment.
I could speak about uncertainty regarding big things like retirement, kids leaving home for good, a divorce or death of a loved one.
These times are when we become aware of the speed of life, we wake up and wonder what we will do next.
We can flounder for awhile in uncertainty, but as this passage becomes the “new normal” we often get clear on next steps. And you’d think clarity would dial down uncertainty. But for me just the opposite happens.
In fact, the clearer I get on what I want from my life the more the feeling of uncertainty increases. The more authentic you live your life the more uncertainty.
Its because you have asked for what you want and often some things have to get left behind. And you wonder if you leave them behind will you be taken care of?
So acceptance is the first step. It doesn’t mean you like it or feel great about it. But acceptance is a powerful leaning in.
Yes, accept that you feel uncertain. That is the first step.
The second is get some help. Often we try and go it alone. This makes it very hard indeed.
Who can help you get answers? Who can you elicit help from? Who has already learned what you are trying to learn?
An example of this in my life was when I went from just performing to delivering humorous keynotes. I tried to go alone and it went nowhere. Then I started meeting with a woman who hired speakers, and asked her price points and marketing. Then I met with 3 speakers every month and we shared information about how to get speaking. I learned from their errors. I learned from their victories. And I still felt nervous but I didn’t feel alone.
In many ways part of life is always standing on uncertain ground. ( especially these days) But if we can make peace ( however haltingly) with the ever changing flow of life, we will find life surprises us.
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Nov 12th: I will be speaking on Uncertainty to Health Care Professionals at Donald Gordon Centre in Kingston. (private event)
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