Cascading global pandemic issues, political vitriol, economic distress and continuing civil unrest parlay us into deeper chaos and crisis. Citizens are plagued with uncertainty and dread of dealing with COVID-19 that seems never-ending, and concurrently, with the plethora of small businesses teetering on the brink of collapse with continuous shutdowns and limited-service options.
Motivational speaker Tony Robbins offers a unique perspective on this issue by saying, “The quality of your life is directly related to how much uncertainty you can comfortably handle.”
Pivoting to this idea of handling uncertainty from Robbins and from a more holistic approach, an interesting article was written by Tim Denning, titled, “7 Habits of People Who Keep It Together During Uncertain Times,” offers us some simple strategies for dealing with uncertainty.
I will highlight Denning’s salient points and then offer my comments in parentheses on how to add to your leadership domain.
1. See things better than they are: (As Helen Keller once said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Therefore, have faith and hope that you can make a difference and then replicate Nike’s slogan, “Just do it!” As the old Johnny Mercer song “AcCent-Tchu-Ate” goes, “You need to accentuate the positive; eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative; and don’t mess with Mister in-between.)
2. Be fine without normal: (The new normal is not the old normal, and our life has drastically changed from congregating with others, going to movies, concerts, religious services,restaurants and sporting events. Nonetheless, we have been able to redefine our relationships and focus on what matters. We now have more time to concentrate on making ourselves better by exercising more, reading, service to others, and focus on developing our best selves.)
3. Switch off your brain: (Stress causes anxiety, higher cortisol levels, and general feelings of malaise. Focusing on shutting your mind off temporarily and removing the daily stressors offers you the ability to experience calm and tranquil moments. This serenity allows you to reflect and be mindful of the present, as well as our blessings.)
4. Make the most of every moment: (Time is fleeting, and a commodity once spent cannot be returned. In his book “War and Peace” Leo Tolstoy emphasized this when he asserted, “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” Therefore, do not waste time on the trivial and make the most of what you have each day to make a difference for others and yourself.)
5. Practice the joys of oversleeping: (While not advocating oversleeping daily, it is certainly worth taking an extra hour of sleep on the weekends or when time allows. Take this time to recharge your batteries and wake up refreshed and ready to take the day on with vim and vigor.)
6. Answer every phone call from people you respect: (Taking the time to answer calls to show you respect the caller. If you are in business, all calls, no matter how insignificant, need to be answered by a person and not a voice mail. If you cannot take the time to care about answering your phone, why should the customer care to do business with you? Respect your customers, and they will value your relationship and entrust you with their business.)
7. Do not take yourself too seriously: (As the old saying goes, the only certainty in life is death and taxes. However, looking at life with joy and laughter helps navigate the present time’s uncertainty. Get into a habit of helping others and watch your sphere of influence change the world, one person at a time. If you are helping others, you have no time to feel sorry for yourself and can experience the delight of being a change-agent in times of crisis.)
Contrary to what you expect, uncertainty often has a positive effect on us. It forces us to reflect, analyze, and contemplate the next steps we need to complete to deal with the crisis at hand or the chaotic situation. It invokes strategy and the ability to clarify our thoughts with purpose and intention. As Jack Canfield enunciated in examining your purpose, “What is the why behind everything you do? When we know this in life or design, it is very empowering, and the path is clear.”
Therefore, use the times of uncertainty and chaos to clarify your purpose.
Conjuring the moment of uncertainty is rife with anxiety. But here is another explanation offered by Trophyology, “When everything is uncertain, everything that is important becomes clear.”
To that end, and as restated in the famous Johnny Mercer song, “You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum; Bring gloom down to the minimum; Have faith or pandemonium; Liable to walk upon the scene.” So, “Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative and don’t mess with Mister in- between.”