Amy Shepherd

Apr 21, 2020, 11:00 AM

How are you feeling today? The choice is yours

I’d like to talk to you today about dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in the current crisis.

In a lot of leadership development programmes we talk about navigating through a VUCA world – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. A lot of senior leaders really grapple with navigating through such uncertain times, but how do we all deal with it now that we’re having to operate in this VUCA world across the whole globe and at all levels?

Whether you’re working full-time, whether you’re juggling children and home schooling, whether you’re not working at all, whether you’re parenting, job hunting, or perhaps having to deal with the uncertainty and difficulties of self-isolation, this applies to us all.

There’s a tool that I think can be really helpful when it comes to working in this VUCA world, to help you feel a bit more in control about things and to reduce some elements of that ambiguity and uncertainty. It’s called the Sphere of Influence. You may have come across it before.

Think about what’s in your control. That’s in the central circle – what can you totally control within your work, in your life, in your teams and so on. Then think about what can you influence. This goes in a wider circle. It’s not in your own control but who do you need to speak to, what do you need to do at work, which meetings do you need to be part of… in order to make sure that your influence has the greatest reach that it can?

And then finally, in the third circle, is what is totally out of your control? There’s nothing you can do to stop it, there’s nothing you can do to take control of it – these are the things that, if we list them down, we might find that actually there’s no point in trying to worry about those because they’re out of your control anyway.

It can be really helpful if you can map out ‘What is in my control?’ ‘What can I influence, at work or at home?’ and ‘What can I let go of a little bit?’ because that also might help me work through the ambiguity, deal with the uncertainty and try not to worry about the things that I can’t control anyway.

So the question I’d like to pose before finishing is, What’s in your control?

A lot of people might think, understandably, that they can’t control anything to do with the current pandemic and the current uncertainty that we’re having to work in, but actually we can all control how we feel. If nothing else, we can choose how we feel and set our intention every day. You can anchor this to a specific part of your day, eg brushing your teeth, but set your intention for the day: ‘how am I going to feel?’ Because you and you alone can control that.

Finally, I thought I’d give you a quote from a brilliant book called Mother Ship by Francesca Segal. This has a very different context to it but I think it’s really relevant here:

“There is no other world but this one.
Hers is the fuller acceptance of reality.
Is it because she’s so young?
I don’t think so, for there’s not a streak of naivety I her.
She is wise and brave and fearless.
She just chooses.”

So how are you going to choose to be today? Set your intention and try and stick to it.

Amy Shepherd

Need helping deciding what you can control? Please get in touch.

01737 814758

Amy Shepherd is an Organisational Psychologist and career coach specialising in flexible working. She has 15 years’ experience designing and delivering assessment, development and change management solutions for charities and not-for-profits. She is an expert in leadership development and leading through change.