Do you feel it?
It’s in the air. That feeling of uncertainty. When you consider the enormous supply chain disruptions that include seemingly daily announcements of container ships stacking up along the pacific coast, inflationary pressures, political strife, and the massive impacts of iOS 14, the air is thick with uncertainty.
Is it all doom and gloom?
I recently addressed the Founders Mastery group on this topic at a fantastic location above Huntsville, Alabama.
The interesting thing about uncertainty is this — it’s always with us. Let’s take a quick peek back at 2020. The Covid-19 Pandemic, 2020 Election, George Floyd, and related events (remember Seattle? Defund the police?). These created enormous levels of uncertainty. You might be thinking that we haven’t always had such high levels of uncertainty. Take a quick peek back to 2015. We had Isis, the Syrian refugee crisis, and the Google Rankbrain update. I recall those causing a hand wringing level of uncertainty.
Uncertainty for entrepreneurs creates opportunities.
Take the supply chain for instance. I knew these disruptions would spur creative entrepreneurs to take action. In just the past 30 days, I’ve been invited to invest in a new supply chain, a logistics SaaS, two United States based manufacturing opportunities, and a distribution play that will allow the fading drop shipping industry, for one, to regain its relevance.
How can we thrive in periods of uncertainty? We combat it by having an opposite mindset. I fondly remember the Seinfeld season 5, episode 22, “The Opposite.” It’s a humorous example, and it’s worth a watch if you haven’t seen it. It’s an excellent example of how a shift in mindset can bring about positive change.
I’m not recommending doing the opposite of what you think you should do every single time, but what I recommend is shifting your mindset from uncertainty to certainty.
What is certainty?
For clarity, it’s essential to define the type of certainty we’re considering. What I’m not advocating is a certainty mindset that excludes questioning, facts, and reasoning. Ellen Langer, a Yale professor dubbed the “mother of mindfulness,” states, “Certainty is a cruel mindset, and it hardens our minds against possibility.”
Certainty for our purposes is an emotion or a driver. I like how the Tony Robbins blog puts it, “Certainty is the emotion that allows us to accomplish what once seemed impossible. Our capacity to achieve, lead and serve is expanded by it, and it is a resource we can access in a moment. If you want to separate yourself from the bottom 80% of entrepreneurs and achievers, then begin by bringing ample amounts of certainty to your clients, team, and even your family.” Another way to explain it is, “Certainty doesn’t mean that you know what to do. Certainty means that you know you’re going to figure things out.”
3 ways to bring more certainty to your endeavors and challenges.
- Trust Your Gut Instincts
For me, uncertainty breeds that gut feeling. I’m a huge proponent of trusting your gut instincts. I can look back at multiple gut feelings that were acted upon and led to enormous breakthroughs. I can also look back at gut feelings that weren’t acted upon that left my companies playing catch up. Of course there have been those gut feelings that utterly failed when put into practice, but in my experience, they’re in the minority.
- Don’t Go It Alone
Ever heard that being an entrepreneur is lonely? I’ve definitely felt lonely as an entrepreneur. How about you? A Google search shows nearly nine million results for the keyword phrase “lonely entrepreneur.”
My eCommerce agency, OMG Commerce, now has 50 team members. Most are in our Springfield, Missouri office, and the rest of the team is spread from coast to coast. Every day I’m in the office, I can have multiple in-person conversations, yet loneliness is still a factor in my entrepreneurial journey. How can that be?
One of the reasons might be that people don't understand what it is like to run a business. You might (like me) have a CEO or COO (in my case, both). Still, the pressures of the company and the sense of responsibility for your growing team can be substantial. Your team sacrifices much for your business. At the same time, they are marrying, having babies, and buying homes. It can wear on you as you navigate the inevitable ups and downs of client relationships, finances, and changes that are outside your control (iOS-14). Most people don't understand how an entrepreneur’s brain is wired. Those are the times when you’re not understood. How you think, how you feel, and the things you do puzzle those around you. The result can be a lonely place.
Don’t go it alone. Communicate your challenges, fears, and uncertainties to trusted friends, fellow entrepreneurs, and advisors. Be highly cautious in how you share the above with your team. You might find it cathartic, but remember they’re not the entrepreneur and may not receive the information as you intended it.
Don’t go it alone. Attend events, masterminds (even virtually) to regularly put yourself around fellow business owners. Your stories are not unique. If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you’ve inevitably experienced similar if not the exact circumstances as others. When you put yourself physically in front of others who have shared your journey, suddenly loneliness evaporates, and you can gain that sense of certainty that boldly proclaims, “I GOT THIS!”
This is a habit that I’m endeavoring to improve. Reading books on leadership, brand building, entrepreneurship, spirituality, and biographies of amazing people can spur your thinking, inspire your creativity, and equip you with the tools needed to navigate your latest (and next) set of challenges.
I’m currently reading “Never Lose a Customer Again,” by Joey Coleman. On deck is “This Is Marketing,” by Seth Godin, and “Dare to Lead,” by Brené Brown. One habit that pairs well with reading is morning meditation, and it’s something I’ve recently hit the reset on. That practice evaporated on me during Covid and impacted my spirit and overall sense of well-being.
You might find my process helpful. It’s simple — Rise, Eat, Pray, Read, Meditate, Pray. Power Through. Rise early enough not to feel hurried. Eat to get your body and mind moving. Pray a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude for your blessings. Read to inspire and recharge. My reading during that time happens to be from the Bible. I read a short chapter, meditate on the meaning, and think about how it might apply to my life. Pray once more based on what you felt or experienced during your time of meditation. You’ll find you’ll “Power Through” your day with this practice.
Let me know how you’re dealing with uncertainty or your practices to bring more certainty to your entrepreneurial journey. Be well.