About To Take A Leap Of Faith? 3 Tips To Ease The Fear Of The Unknown
Uncertainty has become the No. 1 buzzword of the past couple of years (with unprecedented hot on its heels). We as humans crave control, so it's only natural to feel anxious in the face of an unforeseen circumstance (like, oh I don't know, a pandemic). When you're already dealing with such an unsettling event, other leaps of faith can feel even more daunting—be it starting a new job, building a budding relationship, moving to a new city, etc.
INSEAD professor Nathan Furr, Ph.D., and entrepreneur Susannah Harmon Furr, bestselling authors of The Upside of Uncertainty: A Guide to Finding Possibility in the Unknown, are here to help you embrace those unknowns, even when it feels scary. On this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast, the husband and wife duo discuss the challenges of dealing with uncertainty and how to face the unknown with confidence (if you're experiencing any sort of change in your life, this is the episode for you). Below, find some of their tips to "prepare" for the unexpected:
"Uncertainty and possibility are really two sides of the same coin," says Nathan. "If you think about any achievement of which you're proud, whether it's a relationship, a career move, a geography move…you had to go through uncertainty to get to the possibility." Not knowing how things will turn out can be scary (that's why it's uncertain!), but just know that taking the leap is often the most difficult part.
"There's no awesome possibility without first not being sure about how it's gonna go," Nathan adds. That said, try to reframe whatever you're uncertain about—a new job, relationship, or what have you—into an exciting opportunity. Of course, this is easier said than done. Nathan recommends asking yourself, "When uncertainty happens or when a setback happens, how do I turn this into a possibility?"
Know you will face self-doubt.
As you try to reframe your uncertainties into possibilities, you might run into some self-doubt. It's way more common than you think: "Our brains [are wired] to have the idea of, 'Oh my gosh, what if I'm going to fail at this? What if it's not gonna work?'" says Susannah.
The first step is to recognize that self-doubt happens to everyone—so don't try to squash the fearful thoughts or beat yourself up for having those doubtful feelings. Acknowledge those doubts, says Susannah, then just be yourself.
We know, we know—it sounds a bit cheesy. But according to the Furrs, if you follow the true essence of who you are, you really can never go wrong. Truly being yourself means you're not following any one path or person, and not even scary self-doubts can take that away. "If you have confidence in yourself as you are in that moment and not trying to make stuff up or fake people out, you actually will grow your confidence," says Susannah. Nathan seconds the advice: "Just be you, and then you can be confident whatever you do."
Act according to your values.
"One thing that can really help you take action in the unknown with less anxiousness is to say, 'How do I act according to my values?'" Nathan declares. For example, he felt a bit apprehensive before launching this book: After all, everyone seems to be talking about uncertainty these days, so what if it doesn't stand out?
"Susannah was like, 'Who cares? Write the best book you can. Write the book for your friends and for the people you love about what we learned about facing uncertainty. That's what the world needs,'" he continues. "Basically just act according to your values, and don't worry about the rest. It really helped me calm down." You may not know what the future holds, but you do know your own values—and if you stay true to what you know, it can take some of the fear out of the equation.
To echo Nathan, there is no possibility without some uncertainty. However, we can't ignore the discomfort that comes with uncertainty, no matter how high or low the stakes may be. Nathan and Susannah have plenty of tips to make those leaps of faith a little easier (so make sure to tune in to the full episode!), but as a general rule: If you know yourself and stay true to your values, you'll be set.