It seems a regular occurrence now that, when I’m watching TV, there’s a big Spoiler Alert given just in case we haven’t seen the show that’s about to be discussed.
Hearing who did it, the plot twist to come or whether or not there was a happy ending would spoil our enjoyment of the show when we watched on catch-up.
Not knowing where the programme or film is going or how it will end is part of the enjoyment. Seeing the plot thicken, the characters develop and the story unfold.
That ‘not knowing’ is exciting. Series writers enhance the effect by ending on cliff-hangers, dramas build-up the tension taking us on an emotional journey.
In our lives, and specifically our Self Employment, we also don’t know what is coming next. Like the show, we play through different scenarios in our heads and try to figure it all out.
Also like the show, there is often some discomfort involved in not knowing. We would like to be sure that our investment will pay-off, that our promotion will work-out and that our path to success will be smooth.
But unlike the show, this often comes with feelings of fear rather than excitement.
Rather than ‘the unknown’ being an essential element of the show, in our business, we see the unknown is a problem to be solved or a challenge to be mitigated.
We do our best to minimise the impact of uncertainty by planning and preparing.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with planning and preparing, they can be very helpful. The mistake we make is in thinking doing these activities have somehow enabled us to be in control.
When the show surprises us with the unexpected, we might take some time to adjust. We talk to friends and fellow viewers and review our theories about where the show’s going.
[The example that comes up is Bobbie’s re-appearance in Dallas signalling the end of the longest dream sequence, but that’s just showing my age so insert your Game of Thrones example here!]
When something unexpected happens in our Self Employment, there’s a tendency to take that personally. It’s our fault, our planning wasn’t good enough, we chose the wrong actions etc. And then we layer on more meaning, we are not good enough and we’ve failed.
We even play out the scenario of an unexpected disaster in our head and it scares us into inactivity. We hold back on taking the action we know our business needs.
James Wadmore makes the point well that the only way to progress our business is to take action. It is impossible to figure out the future. When we take action, we experiment, we may or may not get a result we like but we definitely learn.
We learn about our business and ourselves. We develop new skills and fresh opportunities appear. We are changed by the process of time and taking action.
So not only can we not predict future world events, we also can not imagine the future version of ourself and the resources we will have access to to address those situations.
So how about if we loosen our grip on our thinking? If we took the stories in our heads less seriously. If we recognised how bad us human beings are at predicting the future and how the train of thought that judges and labels goes nowhere interesting!
Knowing that we’re feeling bad because of the stories we’re telling ourselves, the show we put on in our heads, enables us to take action anyway.
It is not full and detailed information about every step ahead that gives us peace of mind. Not certainty that every action we take is the perfect one and that we are on a smooth and easy path to success.
Peace of mind is always there, beneath all our thinking and figuring out. Like turning down the TV to hear the bird song or the waves outside. We are spiritual beings having exciting and unpredictable human experiences.
Here's a little extra on taking charge verses being in control...
If you feel inspired to move forward with your Self Employment, get in touch!