When I think of the skills that make up a Performance Mindset, there is one that most people rarely think of but is one of the most critical. It's so critical that some call it a mentality - an entire way of thinking. This skill is the ability to embrace uncertainty.
Over the years, I have seen clients do some pretty crazy things simply because they could not embrace uncertainty. They have taken jobs they didn’t want, they have married people they didn’t love, they have said yes to projects they didn’t want to do, and they have sacrificed opportunities to learn and grow.
As human beings, there is nothing the brain hates more than uncertainty. Throughout history, we have created myths and stories to try to explain the unknown just so we could have some kind of certainty in a world of certain uncertainty. Our brain creates binary choices so that it won’t have to deal with the middle ground, which is unclear, uncertain, and often ambiguous. Unfortunately, this pattern of thinking prevents us from being able to challenge our own bias, explore unknown territory, try the untried, and lead us to actually discover a new solution. Without learning how to embrace uncertainty, we really can’t become more creative or personally achieve our full potential.
As with the development of any Performance Mindset skill, there is no magic recipe for developing the ability to embrace uncertainty. So, rather than present 3 quick and easy steps, here is a process of thinking that has helped many of our clients:
A Performance Mindset is made up of skills which are practiced, developed, and improved. The skill of embracing uncertainty is a big one, so keep an eye out for your next lesson/opportunity. The ultimate demonstration of being at a high level of this skill is when uncertainty presents itself, you quickly recognize it, take a few breaths, smile, embrace it, and tell yourself, “I’m okay. I got this. I know I will figure it out as it unfolds.” One day you may look back on this situation and find that it was actually one of the most positive and impactful experiences of your life.
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.