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Why you'll never be certain

Sometimes when we’re making big life changes, we feel like we must have it all figured out, or be completely certain before we move forward. When, in reality, we are never going to see the entire path (How could we? It’s new!) and there is no magic guarantee of success. 

We shouldn’t let this deter us.

Instead, we should focus on taking the next single step while keeping in mind the end goal but not worrying about having a complete picture of the whole path.

The only certainty is that nothing is certain

When we are hesitant to move forward because we can’t see the whole path, what we’re really after is certainty. We want to be certain that the step we’re about to take is in the “right” direction.

After all, so many things in our lives have a prescribed step-by-step course of action. We go through school grade by grade. College follows high school. Grad school may follow college. We work our way up the corporate ladder at work, following the same steps as many before us.

But not all aspects of life have a guaranteed path to follow, especially if what we’re going after is something new and different.  

Uncertainty can make us doubt ourselves, hinder our confidence, and even paralyze us our decision-making. But if we remind ourselves that uncertainty and fear are normal and a key part of being human, it doesn’t have to have such a firm grasp on us.

Instead of focusing on certainty, we can practice confidence. While certainty is guarantee that something will work out; confidence is instead the belief in your ability to pull through, no matter the circumstances.

Trust your ability to take the next step

Even if we cannot see the whole path (even if it seems completely unimaginable), we can take the next smallest step forward. We can ask ourselves, “Ok, what is the next smallest thing I can do today that will move me closer to my goal?”

No matter how small, it’s the action of stepping that counts. Action builds momentum.

Sitting still thinking about what you can’t see or worrying about the next step has no benefit. The only thing that cures fear is action. Take a step, and move in a direction. After that, assess the situation and take the next step.  

Say you want to quit your job and start a business of your own. You might not know the path. You might not even be fully clear on your business idea. Instead of worrying about being certain about an idea, ask yourself, What is the first step you need to take in order to move closer to your goal?

In actuality, it’s probably not figure out my business model, or even quit my job. It may be something much smaller, like make a budget, figure out how much I need to save, or identify someone who has made the transition and interview them.

It’s all about taking baby steps. And not being afraid to take a step back, if that’s what you need. You can always change course. Because you are the author of your life, you get to write and rewrite the story as many times as you want.

Just begin

Don’t let uncertainty of what’s ahead keep you stuck in your tracks. Relax, there is no certainty. Instead, take the smallest step forward. Step by step, your path will reveal itself.

Begin itI’d love to hear from you: What is the most easily accessible step to take right now? What could you do today or this week to move yourself forward?

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