Embrace the unknown: Is it possible to turn fear into excitement during lockdown?

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

In recent weeks, several clients have told me that the uncertainty surrounding the future is causing them to feel anxious. This, of course, given the truly unprecedented times we are living through, is understandable. We have all felt a ‘fear of the unknown’ at some point in our lives in response to a new or strange situation. This is an entirely natural reaction, a built-in defence mechanism that we humans possess.

If we look in a thesaurus, synonyms for ‘unknown’ include: unidentified; indefinite; mysterious; unfamiliar; strange; foreign; undiscovered; new, newcomer; beginner; stranger and mystery. But what reaction does the word “unknown” provoke in you? Does it bring fear or excitement? If your honest answer is fear, now is the perfect time to start reshaping your approach to uncertainty.

Some people are capable of very quickly turning feelings of fear into excitement. Some people seem able to step towards that fear, channelling the adrenaline rush that comes with fear to perform at their very best. In today’s world of uncertainty and fear, we need to build that inner muscle and turn fear into excitement. Turning fear into excitement is a skill, a skill that can be taught. Yes, it requires effort and commitment, but it is a skill that, with practice, anyone can develop.

For example, repeat entrepreneurs are people who seem to have the ability to keep coming up with new ideas, innovative products or business opportunities. There are several universities that teach courses in entrepreneurship. One in Australia has done a lot of research on the common characteristics of these very successful individuals. Their research found that 80% of the repeat entrepreneurs reported relying on their intuition when making important business decisions.

Relying on intuition was the most common characteristic they shared. The second common characteristic was that they had a deep appreciation for those who helped them be successful and took steps to show their appreciation. They also had a desire to give back to their communities.

Call it a hunch

The HeartMath Research Center and other researchers have conducted fascinating research on intuition. This research includes measuring people’s brainwaves, heart activity, skin conductance and other electrophysiological measures. They defined 3 different types of intuition.

The first type is called implicit knowledge or implicit learning. Most of the books and research on intuition in the past have been focused on this type of intuition. It refers to something we learned in the past and either forgot or didn’t realize we had learned. When we have a new problem or challenge that we cannot immediately solve, we typically ponder it for a while and if we cannot come up with a solution, we let it go and do other things. The brain, however, still works on the problem and tries to find a solution.

Second type of intuition is called energetic sensitivity. It’s our ability to sense changes or information in environmental signals. example of energetic sensitivity is the sense that someone is staring at you. Several research studies have shown that this type of intuition is quite real.

Third type of intuition is nonlocal intuition. This is the knowledge or sense of something that cannot be explained by past or forgotten knowledge or by sensing environmental signals. Three common examples of this are:

A parent in one part of the world who correctly senses that his or her child in another part of the world is in distress or has been injured;

Someone who knows that a particular event is about to occur;

A person who is thinking about an individual he or she has not talked to in a long time. The phone rings and it turns out to be the individual the person was thinking about.

How many times have you heard people say I am not creative or I don’t like change or that is just not me? Personality characteristics are learned behaviour repeat so many times that your body knows better than your brain what to do. The person has turned the unknown into the known and repeated it over and over and over. They can use this process to turn the known into the unknown if they change their routine and they can change these characteristics when ever they choose, although it will take effort and commitment.

Into the unknown

When our bodies step into the unknown we become super alert and, when we learn how to regulate that, we can step into the unknown with confidence. This confidence comes from knowing we will be able to evaluate the situation and make decisions to solve whatever comes our way.

This type of confidence also comes when we have prepared for the unknown so well that we know how we react in difficult situations. We have practiced certain responses to so many various possible outcomes that we can react to any unforeseen situation. We can do this because we have trained our bodies and mind to work together to solve problems by practicing various possible outcomes over and over.

What I have described here is what most artists, actors, entertainers, sports people, racing drivers, extremes sport enthusiast, not to mention our military, fire fighters, police, nurses and doctors, do every day.

But how many business owners genuinely practice making business decisions, making that sale, communicating with their staff or creating proposals? How many, instead, create their organisations in such a way as to shield them from the unknown as much as possible?

I love working in this creative process called the “unknown” if you would like your staff to be excited about the future, realize how they can support management to create an organization that will flourish please email me.

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