2023 Is The Year and a Fear of Uncertainty. Here’s How to Navigate It.

Opinion expressed by Businessman their own contributors.

As we approach 2023, there is a rumbling sound of uncertainty, amplified by scary headlines warning us of an impending recession, or, as one article describes it, “a big reset, ” — a term used to describe mass layoffs across the country. technology sector. The latest report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics only adds to the collective discourse that we are, well, doomed, stating that 263,000 new jobs were added to the workforce – more than expected – but the hiring economy remains tight. . .

The truth is that uncertainty hasn’t really increased — it’s always been there. What rises, in fact, is our fear of uncertainty. And we, as company leaders, are trying to do everything we can to mitigate it, study it and wish it away. But the truth is, uncertainty is always there. We can strengthen our supply chain, reduce inflation and vaccinate ourselves against Covid-19, but a new health scare may strike, a war may break out or a natural disaster may strike.

As we enter 2023, entrepreneurs have an opportunity to develop a relationship with uncertainty and become more comfortable with it. In fact, according to the Kauffman Foundation, a staggering 57% of Fortune 500 companies were started during a recession, so despite the fear of what’s to come, there may be a path to success. Here are seven ways to harness the unknown and find opportunity within uncertainty:

1. Determine what is in and out of your control

No matter how much we plan, research and analyze, there are always forces beyond our control. Instead of obsessing about getting ourselves out of these situations, we should examine our challenges and categorize them according to what we can and cannot control. For those that we cannot control, we should be aware of them but also not think about trying to predict their outcomes. No one can predict the impact of a pandemic on their individual business. However, we can now reflect on the lessons learned, appreciate the change that has taken place and reflect on how we can operate faster in the future.

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2. Reframe your uncertainty

Our tendency, as entrepreneurs, is to associate uncertainty with a negative outcome. We don’t know if we will raise the amount of capital we need, we don’t know if our product will find a market fit when launched, we don’t know if our company will survive. The truth is, we don’t even know if we’ll surpass our wildest dreams, an out-of-scope event will open a new door, or an unmet need for our product or service will emerge. As Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots in the future; you can only connect them backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will connect in your future.” Uncertainty can be your greatest advantage.

Related: How to Protect and Maintain Control of Your Business

3. Listen to what your sense of uncertainty is telling you

Many times, we as entrepreneurs feel deep uncertainty or fear about areas that affect us personally — that is, we are particularly sensitive to those topics that cause a sense of fear-based bias resulting from in our own life experiences. If you’ve ever had a bad experience living in another city, state or country, for example, and after a few years you’re offered the opportunity to expand there, chances are your uncertainty bias will rub off on you. Maybe you raised money from a venture capital firm at one point in your career and that situation didn’t go well. You may hesitate a second time, which can hinder an opportunity for a constructive investment relationship.

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4. Detach from your desired outcome

There is an old Yiddish saying: “We plan. God laughs.” Many entrepreneurs start their ventures with their own definition of success in mind, and they become wedded to it. Any deviation is a failure. However, to properly navigate the reality of the uncertainty of our futures, we must detach from our own definitions of success — remove the ego from the outcome — and be open to what the road itself may reveal. Uncertainty like that is also joy.

5. Understand the bigger picture of life

There’s a bigger world out there, and it’s important that we have perspective. Take a walk in nature and realize that the things we obsess over are things in our own little universe. Uncertainty is inevitable, and it would be foolish for us to believe that we have the power to control so much that happens. Your life does not depend on the success of your venture. Now is a moment in time and we are just specks in a vast universe. Perspective is needed.

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7. Recognize your survival instinct

The human brain has evolved over millions of years. We have a natural survival instinct that dates back to the early days of being cavemen/women. For example, scientists have hypothesized that our need to be accepted by others stems from the ancient fact that if we were expelled from the group, we would be far from fire and vulnerable to predators. The level of uncertainty has a completely different scope at that time. But today our brains are still wired into the same survival-based fight-or-flight framework.

Related: Many People Are Burdened by Fear. Here’s How I Embrace It.

8. Approach with a beginner’s mind

All of our lives are made up of unique experiences that are individual to us. These experiences form the lens through which we view the world. A toddler is not afraid of a stock market crash. However, he may be afraid of being alone or without food. As entrepreneurs, we need to remove our biases and retrain our minds to approach our ventures with the wisdom of past experiences but also with a sense of youthful naivety.

As we enter 2023, we, as entrepreneurs, have an opportunity to redefine our relationship with uncertainty. There is an opportunity to partner with the feeling of uncertainty by recognizing its existence, asking what it is trying to tell us and being comfortable setting our own boundaries with his partner: fear. Uncertainty can serve as a road for our future path to success. Let’s just be friends first.

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