Embracing Uncertainty

I’m sitting here writing this a little delayed in a parking garage of The Domain in Austin. It’s beginning to cool down and my windows are open for a breeze. Outside, the rush-hour traffic slowly rolls by. Two girls are standing nearby discussing their favorite spots in London. If you were to ask me a year ago if I saw myself in this exact moment, the answer would be no. A month ago – no. A week ago – again, no. Hell, 24 hours ago – nope! Life threw me an unseen plot twist – I ended up driving from Houston to Austin last night within an hour of receiving a phone call asking me to help the team by teaching some SoulCycle classes in the neighboring city, beginning this morning at 7AM. I have to laugh when I think of what led to me this exact point – because I saw just about none of it coming but am embracing all of it.

My day didn’t go as originally planned. But remember – we’re not sticking to the plan, we’re sticking with ourselves. Plan A, y’all. We gotta let that go. It’s a constant practice to do so – after all, Plan A is our security blanket. It’s an idea that we cling to when uncertainty finds us. “I have to make Plan A work! It’s familiar and I’m comfortable with it.” “I’ve worked so hard on Plan A, it would be a shame to let that go to waste.” “It seems like a lot of work to divert from Plan A.” 

Or how about this one: “If Plan A doesn’t work out, I don’t know what else I would do,” followed by thoughts of doubt and fear. Why is it that something as simple as a lack of new direction can stunt us from stepping into our purpose? It’s because we cling to original direction because it’s comfortable and gives us a sense of stability. There is a huge misconception out there that the more “direction” we have, the more stability we have. Let me ask you this – what is more stable than your purpose?

It’s not our job to understand everything. This is a human experience that we are a part of – that means we’re going to have to trust a lot more than we’re going to understand – that is, if we’re doing it right.

Think of it this way: You are where are you today (the present) and you have everything that has brought you to this point (the past.) Everything in your mind is extremely finite up until this moment.

Everything that is yet to come (the future) is full of infinite possibilities. We must lose our finite mindsets when thinking about infinite possibilities. Yikes – that sounds uncomfortable. It is – trust me. But it’s so necessary. We subconsciously think about the future and find ourselves in doubt, worry, and anxiety because we are trying to understand everything that is to come – but what basis do we have to understand? Only our past. 

If your brain is hurting trying to digest this, picture this: A caterpillar is meant to be a caterpillar for a short amount of time. One day, being a caterpillar just isn’t good enough anymore so he finds himself in a bit of a struggle, in a dark cocoon having no idea what’s going on. “Where am I?” “How long am I going to be in here?” “What is going to happen next?” This is the scary part – the transformation! A short while later, he emerges as a beautiful butterfly. Talk about an upgrade – not only is he majestic, but now he doesn’t have to crawl anywhere – he can fly! The caterpillar’s purpose was always to be a butterfly. Can you imagine if he would have tried to resist the transformation because he couldn’t see the big picture as a whole?

Lose the need to understand everything and begin to trust yourself. Uncertainty is not a bad thing – it is a good thing! It means you are opening yourself up to growth and opportunity – even if you can’t exactly see what that looks like just yet. It means you are defining your future with your future, instead of with your past.

Believe me, I’ve tried more times to fit a square peg into a round hole, forcing things to work – refusing to let go of a past version of myself that once fit. We need to be aware of the things in our life that “feel forced.” We force our present (and future) selves into our past because it’s familiar. Because it might feel like a failure if we abandon it. Because we’re uncertain what else is out there. But perhaps it’s not the best fit anymore…

The traffic outside is dying down and the two girls talking about London have left. I sit here about to go teach a class in a new city to fifty people I’ve never met. I have no idea what the next few moments of life are going to feel like – and I can’t wait to see what happens.

Think of the next 24 hours of your life. Can you see how everything is going to play out? Now think of the next week. Month. Year. 10 years. How much room are you willing to leave for growth?

What is one thing that you constantly battle with “not knowing?”

Why do you think it’s so hard to trust yourself versus trying to understand everything?

What feels “forced” in your life right now?

What are some small steps you can take to stop forcing these things?

My friend, Alanna, sent me this excerpt on a butterfly as I was about to publish this post – I found it to ironic not to share.

Final thought: “Embrace uncertainty – some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.”