Why Managing Uncertainty is Important for Success in Life and Business

Why Managing Uncertainty is Important for Success in Life and Business

During these times of intense change, why is it important to be able to “manage uncertainty”? Let’s first define “uncertainty”.

Uncertainty arises when change comes to us “out of the blue” or is imposed on us by someone or something that is outside of our control. This could be when we receive a “pink slip” and are laid off from a job with little or no previous warning. It can be when our partner says they no longer love us, have found someone new and asks for a divorce (when you have no inkling of it). The added intensity of the current pandemic is that usually there is some sort of predictable timeline on a change that comes to us “out of the blue”; whereas with this pandemic we have no idea when we will return to our “new normal” and what that will look like.

What happens when we feel uncertain?

We often experience fear and anxiety and go into fight, flight or freeze – the stress response – as we feel unsafe and our body wants to protect us. This response is meant to happen for short periods of time; however, if we live in constant uncertainty, the stress hormones keep coursing through our bodies and over time can lead to burnout and adrenal fatigue, auto-immune disorders such a fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis, and various types of cancer.

When we feel uncertain we may “jump” at the first solution that presents itself, so we feel more comfortable. This can be a business decision that isn’t well thought through, a position we aren’t suited for because we need the money, or a relationship with someone who comes into our life, so we don’t feel alone.

When we feel uncertain it is often difficult to focus; when this happens over time our productivity goes down and then it negatively affects our bottom lines.

When we are under the grip of uncertainty we often feel “on edge” and more easily “snap” at those close to us at home and at work.


So, if we don’t learn to “manage uncertainty” it has a number of negative impacts on our bodies, our minds, our relationships, our work, our businesses and our bottom lines.

What do I mean by “Managing Uncertainty”? To me it means understanding how I respond to change that “comes out of the blue” and having tools and processes to support me to move through it with courage, clarity and confidence.

If you have your own business or are a leader in an organization, it means becoming aware of how others on your team respond to change that “comes out of the blue”, and supporting them with tools and processes to help them move through  and “manage intense change” and develop creative solutions to address issues and situations related to that intense change.

A helpful framework to support you and your team to “manage uncertainty” is my “Art of Change” Framework.(See https://pamela-thompson.com/strengthen-impact-world-dance-change/ for an outline of the framework.)  It is underpinned by the belief that “embracing change (and uncertainty) is a creative process that opens us up to new possibilities”. Using this 5-step process, you identify an uncertain situation you want to work on and through the process gain increased understanding and awareness of that situation and how you and your team respond to it, explore and let go of old patterns and ways of functioning that are no longer working, envision a new way of working, and develop an action plan to move toward the new vision.

The “Art of Change” Framework is based on over 25 years of living and working on 5 continents (including in conflict zones) as a consultant, facilitator and project manager. It is underpinned by evidence from neuroscience, organizational development, the health promoting and healing benefits of the arts and eastern psychology.

To learn more about the workshops on “Managing Uncertainty” I offer to groups and organizations, contact me at pam@creativelivingcommunity.com to set up a discovery call and explore how I may support you and your team.

Stories Matter: Which One Would You Like to Share?

Stories Matter: Which One Would You Like to Share?

Why do Stories Matter?

For centuries, people from different cultures around the world have shared their lessons and knowledge through the oral tradition of storytelling. With the introduction of the printing press, the possibility of writing stories down and sharing them far and wide become a reality. Now with the internet and social media, we can share our stories, blogs, insights and ideas with people from around the globe from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.

So why is storytelling so important?

Stories connect us

When we read Bridget Jones’s Diary or Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella, we realize we are not alone and are not the only ones who have certain personality quirks and are dealing with life challenges.  

Stories promote understanding

When we read someone’s biography such as “Becoming” by Michelle Obama, we gain insight into what it was like to grow up as a black woman in the US during her time, in a family without a lot of financial resources and also what it’s like to move into the White House and become the First Lady after living a relatively private existence. When we read “Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree” it helps us understand what it could be like to be kidnapped as a young woman and enslaved by members of the Boko Haram, a radical Muslim group in Nigeria.

Stories help us heal

Many of us have stories of our past that we have locked away and not shared with anyone. An example is stories of childhood sexual abuse which need to be acknowledged and shared in order for us to heal and move on in our lives.

Stories give us hope

When we think of Martin Luther’s historic speech “I had a dream”, that dream and story laid the foundation for a different America.

Stories inspire us

When we read about someone who has faced tremendous odds and rose above them to be an amazing leader and changemaker, we are inspired by how resilient we can be as humans. Women or men who have come from poverty and risen above it to make the world a better place serve as role models for others in similar situations. They help us believe that anything is possible.

What story are you longing to tell?

A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to share a story as part of Female Wave of Change’s storytelling project. We were invited to submit a story that we thought would be helpful for others; one of 1000 words or less.

I’m excited to share that the “Stories Matter” E-book was launched at Female Wave of Change’s (FWoC) Global Conference on September 26th.  This is a collection of stories contributed by women and men from all over the world: “stories of hope, of resilience, of courage, vulnerability and wisdom.”  

I invite you to read this inspiring and insightful collection as a complimentary gift at: http://bit.ly/FWoCStoryBookhttps://drive.google.com/file/d/1_mom2HTs2RR6Ytrsn2zrI9CZx8u2PC5o/view

My contribution begins on page 50.

I invite you to share in the comments below one of your favorite stories in the FWoC e-book or a book or story that you have previously read, and why it matters to you.

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