Why Embracing Uncertainty Is the Key to Growing Your Small Business


Why Embracing Uncertainty Is the Key to Growing Your Small Business

No one warned me about the Small Business roller coaster. I found out purely by chance.

I remember my first roller coaster ride as a kid and howling to my dad to let me off. My dad actually asked the guy to stop the ride so I could get off, and I think that was my only roller coaster ride ever!

I wasn’t someone who liked surprises much and would find it quite inconvenient if friends just rocked up to my place unannounced. I liked to know what was happening next and plan out my day according to how I wanted it to be. I was a bit of a control freak to be honest.

So, you can imagine how I felt when I started out in Small Business. As we all know, planning is really important in Small Business. The thing is that no matter how much you plan there are so many unforeseen things that come up and so many things that you have no control and influence over.

I spent a lot of time early in my business, trying to control what I couldn’t control and feeling anxious when things didn’t go the way I wanted them to. I didn’t like it when things became uncertain.

There is a very delicate balance between the needs of certainty and uncertainty. They are both fundamental needs of a human being and really do work like a set of scales.

The thing is that most of us humans prefer certainty, to the extent that we will do anything in our power to control what is happening around us and that includes what happens in our business.

When we feel that we are losing this grip, things don’t go our way or we don’t get the results that we want, we tend to feel stressed or anxious. Because of this we develop a habit of sticking with what we know and what we have been doing for some time, because it feels comfortable.

Let’s use Jeff as an example

Meet Jeff, he has been using a marketing method that works well in his business and because of that he has been doing it for some time. Everything in the environment is constantly changing, including what is happening in the business world. The marketing method that has been working for Jeff so far, may stop working for him because there have been changes. For instance, Google or his favourite social media platform might have changed their algorithms.

In an example like this, Jeff may keep using the same method because it feels comfortable and he tells himself that it’s just quiet at the moment. He resists trying something new because he’s not sure how to use it or whether he will get the results that he wants.

He clings onto the need for certainty and comfort and resists change and uncertainty because it feels uncomfortable.

In business, the way this pattern plays out can stop us achieving higher level results and will slow down our business growth. Embracing uncertainty, and what I mean by that is challenging yourself to learn something new and try new things, is one of the keys to business growth.

Because, your business will only grow when you grow, and you only grow when you challenge yourself to do something differently or learn something new.

When I learned this and started to act on it, it changed everything for me.

So here’s the key to create momentum

Fulfil the needs of certainty AND uncertainty. When you do this you create momentum in your business.

  1. Set goals and create your plan
  2. Look for ways to improve what you are doing in your business
  3. Challenge yourself to learn new things
  4. Use new strategies or try a new method of doing something.

Learn to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable and accept that it is part of growth.
And at the end of the day remember this: The more uncomfortable you feel about doing something, the more growth it is likely to bring.

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  • Roland Hanekroot

    Great article deb, the greatest planning principle I was taught by someone was this: find what works and do more of it, find what didn’t written and do less of it… Planning is great but we need to constantly check if what we planned is still working…and if not…do something else instead, cheers

  • Deb

    Thank you for your comment Roland, I really appreciate it. And yes, I agree, looking at what worked and what didn’t work fulfils the need for uncertainty, because when you do that you are challenging yourself to see and do things differently. Love it 🙂

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