Did it ever happen to you to walk out of a store and just sit there, because you don’t know if you should go right or left? Just stay there, in the middle of the sidewalk? For 3 days straight? Or for a whole year? That would be crazy, right? People would call the police on you. They’d film you and put you on YouTube. They’d go live on Facebook saying ‘look at this weirdo’. Well, now let me ask you this: did you ever postpone something because you didn’t know what to do? I can almost hear you all the way here saying ‘yes!’ and nodding your head looking at whatever screen you’re reading this on. I’ve been there myself.
What’s the deal with uncertainty
When we don’t know if we should take a left or a right when we’re in the street, we have a few options – ask someone for directions, get our phone out and look at a map, or simply take a few steps in one direction to figure out if it’s the right one. When it’s about what to do next toward achieving our goals, it gets more complicated because this thing many life coaches say it’s actually true: achieving anything is a self-discovery journey, figuring out how YOU want to do things.
Running a business or starting a new project or taking on a new job is part about self-discovery and growth and that will also mean that it will involve a lot of uncertainty. And, oh man, do don’t we just hate uncertainty?!
Am I doing this right? Will this decision come and bite me in the butt? Will my money get wasted if I take this step now? Will this work? All of these questions keep popping in your head and soon you’re stuck. You keep telling yourself that not taking any risk is safe, but it’s not, is it? When you’re unsure what your next step should be and you just shut down any sort of action, you get less productive, less motivated, you lose money and opportunities.
Clarity comes from taking a step, any step
Let’s go back for a second to my left-or-right scenario. While we can’t ask a stranger what we should do with our business or our life or open Google Maps to be pointed in the right direction, we can, however, just take a few steps in whichever direction and see where that takes us. Clarity can only be the result of action, not inaction.
I know it’s difficult to do something, anything, when you’re not sure what to do next, but it’s the only way you’ll figure out what you should be doing. As soon as you start going, you’ll come to one of the only two possible conclusions:
- Oh, look, I’m almost there.
- Oh, crap, I’m in the wrong neighbourhood.
Either way, you then know if you should keep going on the same path or go the other way around. If you just sit there, doing nothing, you won’t achieve any clarity.
Doing something is more important than what you’re doing
I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but there are going to be so many days in your life when you won’t feel like doing something on your to-do list or anything at all. I’ve been there, and sometimes I’m still there. But you have to push through and take action – write that blog post, reach out to those people, send that newsletter, plan that social media marketing campaign. The habit of staying active, relying on action to show you the way, is far more important than anything else.
I’m not saying that if you jump, the net will appear. I’m only saying that if you jump, half-way through the fall you’ll know if it was a good idea or not. Not jumping at all could kill your goals and your dreams. Inaction isn’t safe or sexy, is a big ol’ monster chomping on people who dealing with uncertainty.
How difficult or easy is it for you to decide what to do next? Let me know in the comments below. Oh, and if you have a story about something great you have achieved because you didn’t stop when you felt like stopping, I’d LOVE to hear about your story and I’m sure it would inspire many of the young marketers landing on this page.