Career & Jobs

The 4 Ways Top Performers Deal With Uncertainty And Indecision

“The Senate hasn’t been willing to do anything until this week,” Congressman Ro Khanna is saying. He’s talking about the on-again, off-again negotiations around the new stimulus package. As of right now, there’s still no deal to help people who are hurting because of the pandemic. On SiriusXM Urban View, the Silicon Valley representative is wondering why the folks in Washington don’t share the same sense of urgency that most unemployed Americans do. USA Today reports that six million households failed to make their rent or mortgage payments in September. Against this bleak backdrop of gridlock and missed payments, stocks went on a roller coaster ride that left the market down over 400 points yesterday – on the 30-year anniversary of the crash of 1987. In the midst of uncertainty and indecision, life gets tougher and harder to navigate. But not impossible. Here are four strategies that top performers use to deal with uncertainty, and thrive in the midst of epic and unprecedented indecision.

  • The One-Word Shift – If you’re counting on the stimulus to get you through this, maybe it’s time for some enterprising new ideas for your job search. What’s the path from survive, to thrive – even during this pandemic? Top performers don’t wait for the calvary to show up. They look past “getting through” and wonder what they can “get from” a situation. For example, I have a good friend who went through a rough divorce a few years back. It was brutal, but he says the experience pointed him towards the love of his life. He’s remarried and a better husband today because of what he learned. It’s what he got from a tough situation that helped him to find better days, and become who he was meant to be. What new learning are you going to get from this unprecedented time? That shift might be the stimulus you need.
  • Flip the Script – feeling overwhelmed, burnt out and exhausted? You are not alone. Mental Health America says that over 40% of workers say their stress levels are very high. In the midst of difficulty, uncertainty and challenge, there’s a question that’s rarely asked (but always valuable). It may sound crazy, but here it is: What’s good about this? Seems counter-intuitive, but every bad situation might have something good hidden inside of it. According to Kelly McGonigal, author of The Upside of Stress, there’s actually an upside (wait for it…hold on a sec…yep, you guessed it) to stress. The key to a new perspective? Being willing to look for something good, even when it’s hard to find.
  • Remember the YAHOO Strategy – according to a recent Harris poll, sponsored by the American Staffing Association, three quarters of Americans are worried about the price of groceries, and 65% are concerned about the stock market ups and downs. In the middle of uncertainty, it’s useful to remember what YAHOO can mean to you. I’m not talking about the search engine. I’m talking about the acronym: You Always Have Other Options. The difference between stress and success is your ability to see that you always have choices (even if it’s just choosing how you respond to difficult circumstances).
  • The Three Word Question – FlexJobs says that 75% of workers have experienced burnout, during this pandemic – and employed workers report a 300% increase in mental health issues. When negative thoughts show up (such as “we’ve tried everything”, “this negotiation will never work out”, “there’s no way to get through this”) it’s time to pop the question. Here’s a new proposal for you, and your negativity: just ask, “Is that true?” Because, if you think you’ve tried everything, you haven’t – if you still haven’t found what works. Why not question your negative self-talk, with three words: Is that true?

There’s a saying that “It’s never tougher than it is in your mind.” Consider your own experience: is that saying just motivational mumbo-jumbo…or is that true? What does your experience tell you, about dealing with difficult circumstances? If your mental health is suffering right now, that’s understandable. Whatever it is that you are going to do next, you’ll do it better from a place where you realize that innovation isn’t quarantined. Top performers know that it never will be. If you want to get something from tough times, remember: you do have choices. Always. When you have a fresh perspective on your options, that’s when you can really make the best decision – and move forward, even in these uncertain times.

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