Ep 110: Greatest Hits - How to Face Uncertainty


  • Definitions of uncertainty and how it comes up in our lives
  • The feelings of uncertainty in our body comes from our thoughts
  • One incredible tool to face uncertainty and feel empowered!

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We have entered another period of unprecedented instability. The stock market roller coaster, corporate layoffs, the war in Ukraine, the worst hurricanes on record, and yes, the list is long.  
It’s time for a “greatest hits” podcast that will teach you the skills you need to face uncertainty.
We think instability and uncertainty are wrong. We wish they’d go away and be replaced by more certain stock markets, job markets, and yes, weather.
Instead of wishing that these things that are out of your control would stabilize, visualize yourself as an advanced surfer easily riding the ups and downs of the waves.  And that sway of your body as you ride those waves will keep you upright.

The truth is uncertainty is a feeling in your body created by thoughts in your brain. In this episode, we’ll walk through an incredibly powerful tool to face and overcome the feeling of uncertainty in any part of your life.

Y’all - I’m serious this tool is so powerful and empowering, I became emotional talking about it in this episode. It’s a must listen especially as we begin year three of the global pandemic.

Learn more about my corporate coaching course The Rockstar Program. 

If this episode inspired you, thank you for leaving a review on Apple Podcasts.

You can also comment on this podcast's Instagram post or take a screenshot of you listening and post it to your Instagram stories, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

Tag me @sarahlmoody

You got this, rockstar.

Loving this work? Follow me on LinkedIn @sarahlmoody for more cognitive coaching and book a complimentary workshop for your team at sarahmoody.com!

Download Full Episode Transcript

Hey rockstars. I'm so excited to talk to you this week about how to face uncertainty. So in the Rockstar Program, we're doing an amazing deep dive this month around how to face uncertainty. Uncertainty is a feeling in your body created by thoughts in your brain. But what happens to us as humans is we think external circumstances or facts in our lives or why we feel uncertain.

So I'm going to teach you one tool around how to face uncertainty like a boss. Okay. So let's go to Google first. What did Google define as uncertainty? Number one? Not known beyond a doubt. So dubious. So for example, an uncertain claim, another definition is, you know, she remains uncertain about her plan.

So there is a feeling of like doubtful. Another one was there was a fire of uncertain origin. Another example is the time of departure is uncertain. Like, think about COVID for example, it probably feels like it's going to go on indefinitely right.

So the time of departure is uncertain. Another example is her success was uncertain. So sometimes that might feel a little problematic. And the last example is, you know, she is an uncertain ally, like not reliable or untrustworthy. So those are all the different ways that that feeling of uncertainty in your life can be triggered.

But remember, none of the circumstances, like, you know, The breeze or COVID or anything else will create a feeling. It will always be your thoughts. But first, before I go into the lesson, let me just quickly touch on the brain and how the brain plays a role in uncertainty. So the motivational triad is in our primitive puppy brain.

And this part of our brain has us believing that we can't be safe in the world if we don't have certainty. Isn't that fascinating. This is part of how our brain is wired. So the motivational triad is made up of three things that motivate us to do or not do things so that we can feel certain in our lives.

So this part of our brain has us seeking pleasure with instant gratification so that we can feel certain. It has us avoiding pain and staying safe so we can feel certain. It has us minimizing effort and conserving energy so we can feel certain.

These things, these motivations around keeping us kind of safe so we can feel certain are not going to serve us when we want to go after our dreams and goals. Right. So a really simple example is one of my students in the rockstar program. Her unthinkable goal this year is to start a podcast.

She wants to bring her voice to the world, her ideas, her creativity. She's absolutely fucking brilliant. And I think it's a fantastic unthinkable goal. But what our brain says is, you know, she is like, oh my God, um, I don't want to start that podcast because it means I have to take risks and invite discomfort and people might not like it.

And they might think the contents terrible and no one's going to listen to it. So all of that talk track is totally playing into the motivational triad that says avoid pleasure and stay safe so you can feel certain. So that is just one small example about how the motivational triad plays into what you do or don't do. That you can stay safe and feel certain. 

Okay. So that's a little bit about the brain. Let's talk about society. So society has conditioned us to believe that when things outside of us change, I call these like facts or circumstances. Like there's a change in the world and we have a pandemic. There's a change in your career and you have a new boss.

There's a change in your relationship. And maybe it ends. And we don't know what's going to happen. We start to believe that we need to wait and see what happens. We believe that our job is to simply respond to the things outside of us to respond to the pandemic. Right. Wait and see, and then respond to the pandemic.

Wait and see, and then respond to what happens in our career with a new boss or a new role. And in many ways, that is true that we do need to respond to external circumstances, but in many ways it's not true. So, for example, let's just look at the world right now, we're in a global pandemic and we start to think, well, what does this mean for our life and our career and our health.

And so, you know, and we're unclear when it's going to end, it feels it's indefinite. And so that can bring up feelings of fear and uncertainty. Right. Let's go through another example well, this is what our society's conditioned us to believe. Let's go to another example, think about work, right?

So maybe your beloved boss quits, or there's a reorg at work, or maybe you've been put into a new role. You've been asked to do a new role. You've never done before. Okay. So your brain may go to this place of like, you don't have certain knowledge around what's going to happen now that the boss has quit or the reorgs happened.

Right. Or you've been told you need to do this role you've never done before. Right. So you start feeling uncertain. Let's talk about relationships as another example, you know, maybe our partner or loved one, not saying I love you after you say it, or them doing something else that causes you to question the strength of your relationship and make what they're doing or not doing means something about the relationship, you know your brain goes into like, wow, I don't know, without a doubt that, that they really love me enough.

Right. And so then you start feeling uncertain. So. These are all just ways that our brain is responding to what society has conditioned us to believe that when things outside of us change that, then it's okay for us to feel uncertain. But what I'm going to teach you is that things outside of you do not create a feeling of uncertainty in your body.

Okay. So.

So the challenge is, is when you look to the outside world circumstance, whether it's the pandemic, it's your boss, it's your relationship. And you start to feel uncertain. The challenge is when you also look to the outside world to define yourself now, What you believe about yourself now, and also what you believe about yourself in the future.

That is what you should not be doing, but I'm going to give you the tool about what you should be doing so that you can feel certain. The other thing that I want to warn you is it's totally counterproductive when you try to make yourself feel safe by obsessing about certainty. That just trains us to feel

anxious and depressed. Like why don't I feel certain like, what's wrong? Why I don't feel certain. Right. So that is completely counterproductive. So what does work? Here's the one tool that does work around how to face uncertainty. It's your beliefs about yourself. That's it. What do you believe about yourself?

That is the only thing that matters around facing uncertainty in your life. What do you know will be true about you? No matter what, no matter the pandemic, no matter if your relationship ends, no matter if your beloved boss quits, what do you know will be true about you? So it doesn't matter what happens in the world with this pandemic.

It doesn't matter that you're boss quit. Doesn't matter that your relationship ended. What do you know will be true about? You for me, regardless of what happens in the world. Or in my romantic relationships, or with my career, I will always be certain. I will show up for myself and love myself unconditionally and love my goals and love my dreams,

no matter what is going on in the world with a pandemic or anything else. No matter what is going on with my finances or my family or my friends or my health, you name it. This is who I am. And it comes from within me that I love myself unconditionally and I've got my back. So no matter what's going on out there, that's who I will be.

I will show up for myself. I will love myself unconditionally. I will show up for my goals and dreams. No matter what's going. In the world. So I want you to think about that for you. Okay. And who I am is not determined by anything external. It's not determined by my career or my students, or how much money I make or don't make, or what people say about me, or don't say about me, who I am is determined by the decisions I make internally.

And that's true for all of us. We just sometimes don't acknowledge that. And when I think about that I'm certain, I will show up for myself, my goals and my dreams and love myself unconditionally, I feel certain. That is how I face uncertainty is by coming back to myself and what I know to be true about me.

So sometimes our brain tricks us to believe that the external things outside of us, these circumstances are how our identity is developed. So, you know, if someone hates us, we think, well, there's something wrong with us.

Or if lots of people love us, We're like, well, that's going to develop my identity. I'm lovable. Or if we have a great job or make a lot of money or have a lot of success, you know, we think that that develops our identity. And it is a complete fat fucking lie. None of that shit creates your identity.

It's always your thoughts about yourself, your beliefs about yourself. It's never what's happening externally. So let's quickly talk about your identity. Your identity is a collection of thoughts you have about yourself and your life. That is what determines who you are in the world. Okay. And so your identity is not something outside of you, like your role at work.

You know, it's not the fact that you're like, Product marketing manager at a big tech company or a customer experience leader at another tech company. It's how you see yourself, who you are to you. Like what I just described for me, I am certain I'm going to show up for my goals and dreams and myself every single fucking day.

That's it. So, if you're focused on the external world and feeling uncertain, you can look at how you're defining yourself right now. And you can see how much of it may be determined by the thoughts you have about your experience and your current circumstances, your work, your relationship, all the things, right?

But remember your circumstances, your relationship, your role at work, all the things do not determine your identity.

If I say to you, who are you? And you say I'm a marketeer in tech, or I'm an executive, or I'm a life coach. I'm a waiter or whatever it is that you are. And that's how you define yourself by what you do externally. 

I'm going to ask you to take a look inside and go deeper.. 

So let's strip away all those external things, right?

Your role at work, your relationship, how much money you have and everything. How do you define yourself. When you can't work at your job when you're not around your family, who are you, how is the value of your life and who you are as a person unchanged by covid, a relationship ending your boss, quitting, you being put into a new role. What is true for you? No matter what is happening, what is consistently true for you? And by the way, this is not something that you need to go discover within yourself. There's no, like I got to go deep. No, this is something you need to define and create.

So what can you be certain about. The only thing I can be certain about or the decisions that I'm going to make about what I'm going to think and believe about myself. Like I'm certain, I'm going to show up for myself every fucking day and love myself unconditionally and go after my goals and dreams. I am certain about that.

I believe that every single day.

 I can't be certain about what I'm going to be able to do in the future, because I don't know what the rules will be. And I can't be certain about the results that I will necessarily create depending on the rules changing, but I can be certain that I will always have skills and abilities and I will always have the power to decide what I believe.

One of the thoughts that I believe about myself. No one can take that away, no matter how many circumstances change. I get to decide what to think and what to believe and therefore what to feel. And this includes the feeling of certainty or uncertainty. Feelings are always within my power.

I mean, how fucking incredible is this y'all; feelings are always within your power. You can decide to feel uncertain, or certain. So, no matter what your situation is at work or with, your health or someone you Love's health, or, wondering when this pandemic will end or your romantic relationship, whatever you may be feeling uncertain about, you can control what you believe you can control with what you think.

Right. You can't always control what others will do, but you can always control what you believe. And so that's what I want to encourage all of you to do. As you're thinking about yourself, you get to choose what you want to believe about your life now and in the future. That's, what's so cool about belief work.

So when you start believing, Hey, everything's going to be okay at work with the pandemic, or I'm not going to get sick or the economy is going to bounce right back and people say, you know, you don't know that it's true. You don't know that, but here's the fact y'all, don't let that prevent you from believing it right now.

Because, whatever you tell your brain to believe, it's going to believe and guess what? No one knows what's going to happen in the future. So why don't you just decide what you want to believe about the future and start telling your brain to believe that? So I know that I always have a choice about what I'm going to believe.And I'm going to believe the best thing I can believe. And then I'm going to live into that. Then if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. It's just like, you're going to believe that you're going to get that promotion. And then you leave your company and become an entrepreneur. And you're going to believe that with all your heart until you decide not to.

Right. And that's it. So just believe in big things. And believe in big dreams and believe in achieving impossible goals. And even when people say, oh, no, you're not allowed to believe that. No, I'm going to give you permission to believe that you can believe whatever you want about yourself and about your life.

You just get to decide. And when you ground yourself in your belief about yourself and what you want for your life, you feel certain. When you don't ground yourself in who you are and what you want for your life, you end up feeling uncertain. So does your purpose in your life and your identity stand up to change?

Does it stand up to uncertainty? Does it reflect that it doesn't matter what's going on in the fucking world? It doesn't matter if there's a pandemic. It doesn't matter that your boss quit. Doesn't matter that your relationship ended. It only matters what's going on with you. So put yourself in any circumstance and here's what you know.Are you fighting reality or using it to fulfill your purpose? So for example, for me, I learned a number of years ago that I had the genetic mutation for breast and ovarian cancer. I have the BRCA1 genetic mutation. I was dealt that hand, right. That's what I was born with. I have no control over that.

The only control I have is what I decide to do with this hand that I was given when I was born. So, you know, I felt a lot of uncertainty when I learned this news, but what I went back to was. I always want to show up for myself. I love myself and I always want to show up for my goals and dreams. So from that place of belief in myself, I was able to take the steps of having the surgeries and doing all the preventative measures so that I wouldn't get cancer.

So if we can approach our lives that way, You know, all the circumstances, all the facts in life, are just hands that we're dealt, like I was dealt that genetic mutation, but I was committed to being the best version of myself, regardless of that hand of showing up for my life and my goals and my dreams and loving my fucking amazing self.

I was committed to winning the game of life. Right. So then the work is to use these hands that were dealt 

serve us instead of getting mad or upset or ignoring them. And when we get mad or upset or ignore them, you know, that often like leads us to go against why we're on this planet on our purpose and our belief in ourself.

Right? So just remember that the circumstance doesn't determine who you are and how you show up. You get to decide from a place of worthiness and loving myself, and I'm worthy of my goals and dreams. And I'm certain I'm going to show up for myself every single day. That I can deal with this. My struggles in my life, you know, whether I, and I feel sad because, you know, that's how my mom died.

She had that genetic mutation and that's how she died. I know that my struggles in my life, whether it's my mom dying or getting dealt the hand with a genetic mutation or, you know, my eating disorder, like the list goes on, the challenges have made me more of who I am. Not less of who I am. They've made me stronger and more aware and empathetic and sympathetic and more in love with myself and my life and anything I've done.

That's created success. I think of myself as this like incredibly unique, magical, amazing being just like how I think about you all, you know, you're all, there's no one like you on this planet. And I want you just to decide what to be, what you want to believe about yourself and your life and live it and own it and feel certain about that belief.

So what I think about my struggles, you know, it makes me think these struggles have made me stronger. These challenges have made me stronger. These, you know, quote unquote problems that we face, they're all given to us so that we can grow and evolve. That's why we're giving them. I was dealt the hand of the genetic mutation to decide how to respond.

You know, I'm not the kind of person that could ignore it. So how did I want to show up for myself? So just always think about that. Okay. How do you want to show up and believe and think about yourself in these circumstances that we can't control that will make you feel certain. And I always like to remind myself that these external circumstances, whether it's the genetic mutation or, you know, my eating disorder, whatever, they're not given to us, that we can feel uncertain and scared and make us small.

They're actually the curriculum and the tools that we're going to use to become more of who we are today and more aligned with our future self. So when you imagine yourself, I want you to see yourself as powerful. As creating incredible value on this planet. Of being incredibly unique. There is no other person like you. Own your uniqueness. And want you to imagine yourself as more of who you are and how amazing you are, regardless of what circumstances

you get dealt regardless of what's going on out there in the world. I want you to imagine any goal you want and feeling certain that you can get there. And I want you to think about your goals and maybe you're not on track to achieving a certain goal and you feel uncertain and notice that your brain is thinking it's like a really great idea to change your goal.

And then I want you to think about why are you letting an external circumstance? Like, you know, you maybe not being on track for the goal. Why are you making this, this external circumstance caused you to adjust your goal? And you like that reason you think that that's a valid reason to want to change your goal? So, for example, last year, my unthinkable goal for my coaching business was to make a hundred thousand dollars by 1231. And I did a little over like $95,000, but I was never going to change that goal because the question is, what is your relationship like with that goal? My relationship with that goal was I was certain I was going to believe and take massive action and go after it.

And so even though I wasn't going to nail it, I wasn't going to change it. Because I felt certain that I was going to do it. And so I want you to think about your relationship with your impossible goal or any goal. And I want you to think about that relationship as a relationship with a romantic partner or even yourself.

And if your relationship with your goal was like a relationship with a romantic partner or with yourself, how would you describe it? So for me, I would describe it as I'm certain, I'm going to show up for it every fucking day and take action and manage my brain. So what is your relationship like with your goal?

Are you kind of giving it the silent treatment and ignoring it, not paying attention to it, feeling uncertain about it, freaking out about it. It's important that you work on that relationship, your thoughts about yourself, your thoughts about that big goal, your thoughts about your future self, and always know as you've heard me say before this future self part of how you think about yourself, I want you to always think I've accomplished that goal.

And the reason why that's important is because as you do at work, it's going to bring up all the obstacles in the way of it. And that's the work that we need to do. So I don't want you to shy away from possibility because circumstances change, right? Because your boss left or you got put in a new role or this pandemic is never ending.

Don't shy away. Just keep going, keep opening up to possibility. Keep managing your brain, keep doing things that feel uncomfortable.

So I want you to ask yourself this question. How does this current circumstance give me an opportunity to serve, contribute and achieve my goals and my purpose and feel certain about my life. How can I be more of myself in the future, regardless of what happens in the world. Can I be who I want to be in every moment in every circumstance?

And now, listen, I'm not going to say that I'm perfect at this and that. I show up perfectly for myself every day. It's far from it. Okay. But I will say that when I don't, I don't blame anything outside of me. I don't blame. My romantic partner, you know, my team, anyone else? It is always me, my responsibility, my beliefs about myself when I know that when I'm not being like the best version of myself and showing up for myself and who I see as my identity, it's only because of my thinking.

It's because of my choices. It's because of my decision. Not because of anything that happened in the world outside of me.

And if I don't achieve my purpose, if I don't achieve my goals, if I don't achieve what I've laid out for myself, it's not because of the world circumstances, not because of the pandemic. It's not because of my team. It's not because of anything outside of me. It's because of me and my thinking. So who do you want to be?

Do you want to be someone who shows up for yourself and feel certain every day that you're going to show up for yourself and amazing powerful beliefs about who you are. It serve you and your goals and your dreams, including those unthinkable goals by the way. Remember, you can always be who you are and who you want to be with whatever circumstance is present for you in your life.

So finding yourself today and your future self in uncertainty and the world is all about just being certain about who you decide you want to be. And then living into that, no matter what happens outside of you. So remember here's mine. I am certain, I will show up for myself and my goals and my dreams every single day.

I'm certain, I will love myself unconditionally every single day. And it hasn't always been that way. It's been a really fucking hard journey, but I know that now I know and feel that way every day in my body. How much. I love myself, how much I, I show up for myself. I'm certain of that. All right. Next week.

Here's what we're going to talk about. Here's a littlepreview. We're going to cultivate the skill of being adaptable in your life. It's a skill, right? There's lots of fucking shit going on out there. How do I adapt to all the things that are going on in life? The second thing we're going to talk about is how to manage your nervous system.

And the third, one of my faves. Self-confidence. All right. I love you all so much. So let's do this. Okay. Let's spend this month learning how to face uncertainty and remember how you do it is just by deciding what you want to believe about yourself. Feel certain about who you are and what you want to believe about yourself.

What you do believe about yourself. All right, you got this. I love you all. I'll talk to you next week. Bye.



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