What’s the most stressful part of hearing rumors of lay-offs? Possibly losing one’s job? Possibly losing a valuable team member? No. Neither actually. It’s the uncertainty.
Think about it. Uncertainty.
How will the weak economy affect you? Uncertainty. What will happen at your performance review? Uncertainty. The person who hired you is fired. Uncertainty. An unexpected opportunity presents itself. Uncertainty.
Give me a defined problem any day. I can face a disaster. I can get help with a problem. I can develop a new skill. I can confront a bully. But please don’t leave me hanging.
The key to surviving uncertainty is not to beg, bargain or complain, manipulate or manufacture certainty. Certainty is elusive at best and not possible in many instances.
The key to surviving uncertainty is to identify which choices are in your control and which choices are not. By letting go of the things outside of your control (e.g. the economy, a supervisor’s idiosyncracies, the weaknesses over in the sales department, etc.), you can focus on the things you can control.
Where do you have control? Ask yourself, “Where can my choices make a difference?”
You can find new ways to add value and engage more fully with your current position. You can nurture your network of relationships, near and far, so that you have positive connections in a variety of contexts. You can find opportunities to learn new skills and expand current ones, especially skills that are transferable across a variety of fields.
The negative stress associated with uncertainty will be replaced with a sense of purposefulness and personal power. Though those with more power in the organization may make decisions that complicate your life, you will know that you are doing all you can to be a value-adding team member, a well-connected community member, and an irrepressible transferable skill developer.
Instead of worrying, you will be ready to make your next decision. Now, that feels good!
On your side,
- Karl Edwards