Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How to Deal with Uncertainty

A little background information first. Recently I've been feeling good and thinking a lot clearer. I'm not sure the exact cause of this, my current theory is that by switching to sleeping on my stomach instead of my back is preventing me from rolling around in my sleep, so I actually get more REM sleep and my body is actually healing and recovering.

So, having this new found energy, I've been putting a lot of thought into my life and how to improve my current situation. For the past year or so, I've been thrashing around between ideas, not really knowing what direction I want to take or what I really want to do. This is partially because even though I have an idea of where I want to go, I have no idea what steps to take to actually get there. I keep trying things, but not with any consistency or effort to actually get anywhere.

Along this line, a recent post on Steve Pavlina's blog talks about the 'Abuse of Power' and how a person can end up in a self-defeating cycle that imprisons them rather than enabling them ( This is precisely what I had been doing by constantly answering the question, "What do I want to do with my life?" with "I don't know". The reality is that I do know. I want to work in a situation like Toastmasters, where there is a structured program for growth with clear steps and milestones of achievement. I want to take what I learn and then mentor others who want to learn those skills. I want to become a leader and take on larger challenges.

At my current job, I have begun to do this in some ways. I'm doing business analysis work on a health care system in CNMI. I'm running the QA and Testing effort for the DJS. I created a new structure for how documentation should be stored and used internally so that it can be shared and used as an asset. Unfortunately, I have no interest in electronic health records or Mental Health and Substance Abuse treatment. Therefore, I'm currently focusing my efforts on finding quality companies that work in sectors that I am interested in, such as Green Technology and Military Defense.

What this all comes back to is goals. It is easy to start drifting through life when you have too much uncertainty about what you want. The problem with this is that no one is going to come into your life and tell you what you want. The only way to figure it out is to cut down the options to a manageable number and then make the effort to start trying them. Pick one thing, put your best effort out to making it happen. If you don't like it, you cross it off the list and move onto the next thing.

Trust me, I know I make it sound easy but is actually really hard to do. No one likes failing, no one likes rejection. As much as they hurt, they are less painful than the feeling of regret of seeing time go by and having nothing to show for it. Nothing is as disheartening as the feeling of drifting, uncertain what to do.

One of the member of my Toastmasters club just won the International Speech Competition at the District level. His speech centered around one key point that is important for everyone. To be a leader, to accomplish your goals, to be respected and create value, you need to start with three words.

I am responsible.

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