“More important than the quest for certainty is the quest for clarity.”
This Guatier quote came across my screen the other day, and I’ve been pondering it ever since. In my coaching and consulting work, it’s the rare person who doesn’t struggle with the need to “know”…for sure. These are examples of questions my clients grapple with:
- Who is the right person to be my partner in life?
- How will I know?
- Is this the right job for me?
- Am I eating the right foods to keep me healthy?
- Will this college be a good fit for me (or for my child)?
- Is this the person to take our organization to the next level?
- When will s/he finally sleep through the night (get out of diapers/learn to read/get married/provide me with grandchildren, etc.)?
- Will my team really improve as a result of this training/workshop/process?
- What else do I have to do to get a different result?
- What should I be doing with my life?
What these questions have in common is a deep desire to feel more certain—about kids, health, careers, life—about our futures.
When we feel uncertain, we lack a sense of security, and we people like to feel secure. Uncertainty makes us feel anxious, fearful, at risk. But here’s the thing—we cannot know, with any degree of certainty, what will happen. And when we choose to focus on what we cannot know, it fans the flames of uncertainty, the very thing we are trying to alleviate! By striving for certainty, we actually suffer, rather than feel better.
Now clarity—that’s a completely different story! When we are able to get clear about our lives, our hopes and dreams, then we feel more in control, more focused, more motivated. When we assume more control of our own lives, it feels empowering and liberating.
Quest for Certainty –> anxiousness and suffering
Quest for Clarity –> empowerment and possibilities
I choose to relax into uncertainty and pursue clarity. How about you?
Let me know if I can help.