Creating Certainty in Uncertain Times

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Published August 13, 2012

| FOXBusiness

We all like predictability because it makes life easier. From knowing the sun is going to rise in the morning to the regularly-scheduled time for our favorite TV show, the predictable elements of life provide an element of calm in chaotic world.

The stress of not knowing what’s around the corner can be psychologically paralyzing, particularly when it comes to our careers. The current anemic labor market is filled with unpredictability as employers continue to struggle to grow, plan and execute in the unstable economy. Creating certainty in the uncertain economic times will require knowing yourself, creating a plan and being nimble.  

Know Yourself

It sounds a bit cliché, but only you have the capacity to really know yourself. The challenge is actually making the time and committing the energy to discover your life goals and needs.

Creating certainty starts with developing a keen sense of who you are and where you want to go. We all have our internal drivers that manifest themselves through our daily actions. Understanding those internal drives will help you harness the essence of who you are and direct that energy in a positive way. Take the time to ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What are my personal values or guiding principles?
  • What are my intrinsic assets and natural strengths?
  • What are my passions?    

Create a You Plan

Just as coach Mike Krzyzewski had a game plan for the Olympic gold medal basketball tournament last Sunday, you need a “you” plan for your career. Nobody can predict the future, but you can certainly plan for it. Planning is the single greatest way to build certainty into an uncertain life, yet most of us don’t spend enough time doing it. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my long-term career and life vision?
  • What are the necessary accomplishments required to get there?
  • What short and long-term goals do I need to set?
  • What kind of time frame do I need to commit to?        

Once you have answered these questions, put your plan in writing and commit to take action. Having a plan to fall back on as a reference point is a great way to restore a sense of certainty when the anxiety of uncertainty starts creeping up. 

Be Nimble

Successful entrepreneurs are perpetually attuned to their surroundings and are always looking for market shifts that could offer even the slightest opening to be exploited. The labor market is competitive, and you have to keep your eyes open and stay focused on relevant opportunities. All too often people seize opportunities out of desperation not realizing the long-term impact on larger goals. Having a basic framework to operate will provide a sense of grounding from which thoughtful decisions can be made.     

Whether you run a small business or occupy a plush corner office you can’t escape the current economic reality. Chances are you are facing a great deal of uncertainty and the stress is tough. Spending the time to hash out a simple plan will add a sense of certainty in these uncertain times.     

Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership.Follow Dr. Woody on Twitter and Facebook 

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