How to keep going when you feel uncertain
Have you ever felt paralyzed about not knowing what to do next? You know, that uneasy feeling when uncertainty kills you on the inside, getting you either demotivated or instilling fear and making you not commit to action. Starting something from scratch is hard enough. Staying committed to action unsure of what’s next can be daunting too.
Maybe you are trying to pick up a new skill, running a business venture, trying to change careers or, you know, just trying to make something out of your life. I am sure you have been there.
🎥FourZeroThree - YouTube
A quick shout out! Here's a “video version” of the article. If you are the visual type, I recommend watching the video. I bet you’ll enjoy it :)
Stop worrying, Keep doing
I mean, I know “Stop worrying, keep doing” kind of sounds straightforward, bland even. Do you have a better idea, though?
The overwhelm that comes with the uncertainty of the future makes you overthink. You have a hundred thoughts splitting your head in unison. Mostly worrying thoughts, those of unfounded fears crippling you, forcing you to inaction. You begin to postpone work; you start to procrastinate. At this point, you think you need inspiration or motivation to take action.
Counterintuitively, literally doing something, brings about the motivation to continue doing whatever you set out to do.
Your actions create further emotional reactions and inspirations and move on to motivate your future actions.
It could be the most boring, humdrum of tasks. As much as monotony sounds boring, I think embracing monotony and repeating tasks or any sort of work helps you maintain momentum. It keeps you in the loop of action, which would beget satisfaction further breeding action, and setting up momentum.
💡Don’t let your thoughts cripple you. Try doing something, however small the task, every day.
The “Stop worrying, keep doing” mantra begs the question, how do you keep doing?
Systems and Consistency
Working only with a goal in mind can be overwhelming. A goal is a target you set and try to achieve over the long term, which requires repeated short-term tasks. Repeated short-term tasks could be thought of as a system. While goals can give you direction, “systems” could help put in the work and help you move forward.
The idea is to take small actionable steps toward your goal. You break down your over-arching goal into easy, repeatable micro-goals, which when consistently met help you make progress and achieve your larger goal.
For example, most run a YouTube channel with the goal of making money. The goal of generating sustainable revenue with a YouTube channel feels intimidating.
Rather break down your over-arching goal (YouTube business).
Start with creating a video per month.
With time you could ramp it up to creating a video per week.
Creating videos day in and day out is monotony. Your only focus is to put out a video per week.
The quality of your videos, the number of subscribers, views, and watch time improve over time, and you are finally revenue positive on YouTube.
(the system) just churning out one video per week consistently,
(the goal) focusing on creating a YouTube business
helps you keep your momentum.
The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game.
💡Creating and implementing “systems” makes it easier to make progress.
What’s on your to-do list “today”?
What could you do today? Is literally what you have to look at achieving. The future is always uncertain or worse, frightening. Your attention should be on what is controllable - what could you do today? Taking the YouTube example, further breakdown the micro-goal of making a video per week.
Day 1 - Research the topic of interest.
Day 2 - Write the script for the topic.
Day 3 - Prepare and record the video.
and so on.
How many views your video may get or how many subscribers your channel gains are things not under your control. What you control is what you could actionably do today.
💡Focus on what you could do today!
Don’t beat yourself. Trust the process
Being self-aware, embracing uncertainty and small consistent wins keep propelling you forward. Finally, it boils down to having faith in the process and trusting yourself more than anything else.