Trying to embrace uncertainty

UncertaintyUncertainty, it’s a word that makes my stomach tie up a nice little knot. Not a fan. I’ve lived most of my life trying to eliminate uncertainty. I always have a plan B. I take the low risk route so that there’s little danger of failing. I research, I plan, I practice, I eliminate the uncertainty. Because I don’t like being in a space of not knowing what could happen. I have a fear about it.

But the truth is that there could be a lot of upside in uncertainty. For those of you saying “not worth the risk…” stay with me.  I once had a friend tell me that if you want to have the high high’s, you have to risk the low low’s. Yeah, ok, I remember thinking, that sounds good, but those low’s, I just don’t know want to have them. So I held on to my practice of being risk adverse.

I played small, took the path that would guarantee success. If I had plans with someone, I always had in the back of my mind that they might not come, and I was prepared for that. It eliminated disappointment, but it also kept me from getting too close, from trusting others too much. Because that was scary, it was uncertain. I wasn’t playing that game.

Lisa party of 1. Playing at mid-level, not taking big risks, not even trusting myself sometimes, my own talents, my own gifts. Selling myself short.

All because I didn’t want to live with uncertainty.

So how’d that work out? Not great. A lot of feeling unfulfilled. Feeling like there was so much more I wanted to do but couldn’t get myself started. Couldn’t get myself beyond the fear of the unknown. I could fail. Something I didn’t want to go through.

Then I realized I was letting my fear of uncertainty keep me in a state of helplessness. Kept me from stepping into my full life, and I decided to take a different path. Take more risks, trust, be all in on what matters. Believe in myself, and believe in others. The more I lean in, the easier it gets.

But I still wrestle with uncertainty, and my coach sees that. My homework is to notice where there’s uncertainty in my life and think about how I can make friends with it. Let go of the need to wrestle it to the ground and defeat it with plans B, C, and D if needed. Recognize where the avoidance actually keeps me small. Because even after you realize you have behavior that isn’t helping you, you still have to do something about it. And that’s a process, it’s not always easy. Sitting here it makes me a little nauseous  even trying to think about areas in my life where there’s uncertainty. I’m fairly resistant about it. But I will. It matters and so I will. I want to live the full life God made me for. To step into that full life and share myself with others.

So how do you feel about uncertainty? If you share my aversion, first, high five. But my challenge to you is to think about it. Recognize those areas, and pick one. An area where you can lean into uncertainty, let go of the reins. I’m being brave my friends, I invite you to join me. Life’s a journey we’re all taking together.

One thought on “Trying to embrace uncertainty

  1. I used to be a fly by the seat of my pants girl, jumping in with both feet. As I am getting a little older, not so much anymore. I now feel like the grasshopper to the ant. So, I’m over compensating on the cautious side in order to make up for time lost. I sure miss that grasshopper sometimes…


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