Episode 31

full
Published on:

21st Mar 2024

The need for certainty is massive block

This episode discusses the human need for certainty and how it can become a massive block in achieving goals and living a fulfilling life.

I explain how the need for certainty stems from a deep-rooted desire for safety and control, rooted in our childhood experiences and emotional coding. This need often manifests as a strong emotional reaction when things don't go as planned, and a resistance to uncertainty or lack of control.

Embracing uncertainty and understanding the underlying meanings and emotions driving the need for certainty can help individuals develop a buffer and become more comfortable with uncertainty, leading to personal and professional growth.

Get in touch with Sal

If this episode has caught your attention and you wish to learn more, then please contact me. I offer a free 20 min call where we can discuss a challenge your facing and how I may be able to help you.

Key Learnings:

1. The need for certainty is a natural human desire, but it can become a hindrance when it is driven by subconscious fears and emotional programming from childhood experiences.

2. Understanding the deeper meanings and emotions associated with uncertainty can help individuals become more aware of their patterns and develop a buffer to embrace uncertainty.

3. Trying to control external events and seeking certainty is often fueled by a desire for a specific emotional state or belief, rather than the events themselves.

4. Facing and allowing fear, rather than trying to eliminate it, can help translate fear into focus and enable individuals to take actions despite uncertainty.

5. Some of the most significant and positive life experiences often come from embracing uncertainty and being open to unexpected events.


Show Notes:

[00:00:00] Introduction to the topic of the need for certainty as a massive block.

[00:01:00] Explanation of the natural human desire for certainty and its prevalence in coaching clients.

[00:02:00] The realization that the only true certainty is death, and the concept of "the only certainty is uncertainty."

[00:03:00] Example of a client's strong need for certainty and the emotional reactions when things don't go as planned.

[00:04:00] Explanation of the brain's absorptive learning stage in childhood and the formation of emotional coding.

[00:05:00] The mind-body system's predictive nature and how it associates uncertainty with feelings of threat or lack of safety.

[00:06:00] The brain's hardwiring for threat detection and how modern threats are often psychological or emotional.

[00:07:00] The client's case study and how her need for certainty kept her from scaling her business.

[00:08:00] The importance of becoming conscious of unconscious patterns and developing a buffer for uncertainty.

[00:09:00] Invitation to look inward and understand the deeper meanings and emotions driving the need for certainty.

[00:10:00] Embracing uncertainty and allowing fear to translate into focus for personal and professional growth.

[00:11:00] Encouragement to put the learnings into action and share results or questions.

[00:12:00] Outro and contact information.

Transcript
Intro:

Welcome to Mindset, Mood and Movement.

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A systemic approach to human

behaviour, performance and wellbeing.

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Sal Jeffries: If I could help you with one

thing that I have seen time and time again

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in my life and in my coaching clients

lives, that one thing which should be your

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biggest block is the need for certainty.

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The need for certainty feels

kind of regular, doesn't it?

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It feels like everyone needs

a little bit of certainty.

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It's very normal.

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what's wrong with that?

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But if we uncover that need a little

bit more, you're going to find some

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fascinating things and in this episode,

I want to share with you more about that

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need for certainty, what it is, why we

have it, why it becomes or can become

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a problem, and what to do about it.

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Okay, so the need for certainty.

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To be certain.

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I want my business to grow by so a

certain amount by a certain time.

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want my relationship to be going well.

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I want this to happen.

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It's a very natural state.

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And in my coaching space,

I work with individuals.

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Normally they're around 40, 40 years old

plus, they're running dynamic businesses

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and they've got goals and ambitions.

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And that is cool.

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And that's what we work on.

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We build this stuff.

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We use psychology, we

use human behavior tools.

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We do all the right things

to help this happen.

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But the reality is, and I'm very

clear with everyone I work with,

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there are no guarantees in life.

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Of course, there's the old adage

of the only two things we can

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be sure of are death and taxes.

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And, old as that statement

is, it's probably true.

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The only one that's really true is death.

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That's the only certainty

we can be certain of.

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And in fact, another phrase which

came up many years ago, which says,

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The only certainty is uncertainty.

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And that was by yours truly.

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So certainty, why do we want it?

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Why do we want to achieve that goal?

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Whether it's financial,

professional, personal, health.

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We want to feel a certain way.

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So when we go under the layers,

again, I'm not going to say

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that wanting goals is wrong.

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It's all good, and we work

with this all the time.

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But the certainty can be a block

and it's a surreptitious one.

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So let's take an example.

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I was working with a client and she was

developing her practice, that she had

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in her business, a consultancy practice.

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And I was brought in to really help her

up level in her mindset as a founder.

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And the founder was coming from

a sort of cell phone to multiple

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staff and the business was scaling.

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And my brief was, help

me do that transition.

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Help me with the psychological tools,

overcome the fears and the blocks.

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It's yeah, absolutely.

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That's exactly what I do.

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I love it.

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But what was really prevalent with

this person was she was really

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craving certainty and it comes out

and it shows certainly to someone

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like me who works with this a lot.

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It comes out in this.

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Need.

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There's a real need.

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There's something quite strong about it.

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Like I need this to happen.

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Not just a want or a desire, but a need.

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And the other tell is that when things

don't go your way, whatever that way is,

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that there's a very strong reaction to it.

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Like it's really particularly, maybe

it's more than perhaps appropriate.

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And there's a big tell there, that

person's need for certainty isn't

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just It's nice to achieve my goal.

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It's, I need this to happen.

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So what happens with this pattern?

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And you might be resonating with

this and I've been here too.

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It's very normal, but what we're

actually seeking, we're seeking

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an emotional feeling, which is

coupled to a belief, which is

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coupled to our past data experience.

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A quick lowdown on how our brain, body,

nervous system, the whole process works.

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When we are young, we are in a very

absorptive learning stage, particularly

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from the years zero to seven.

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That's what we've seen

from human development.

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Years zero to seven, our brainwaves

are often spoke, suggested to be

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in alpha and theta waves, which are

Translate waves that are the waves

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you might be in hypnotherapy or in

a trance, and we're very absorptive.

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The suggestion as well is that

the prefrontal cortex, the smart,

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analytical part of your brain

is not online yet at that age.

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It's just not able to rationalize.

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So we go through life at this young stage.

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pretty much as a very inquisitive

sponge, if you were to use a certain

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phrase that comes to my mind,

but we're just absorbing, right?

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and because we don't have this

power to discern and to have

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intellectual understanding and

rigor, we're very emotionally led.

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So the way this works is whatever

happens in your experience, We code it.

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Neurologically it's coded,

like that's a memory.

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It's coded with a meaning,

semantics, and an emotion, feeling.

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If we have been around stuff, which could

be, danger, threat, whether it's physical,

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psychological, emotional, whatever it is,

at a younger age, we shift the baseline.

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in our stress response.

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We shift the baseline in

our anticipation response.

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And then what we're finding in our

more modern understanding of how humans

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function is that our mind body system

is much more predictive than we know.

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It's really predicting what it's seeing.

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So it's pretty much predicting

if I see Let's say a failure.

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If I see something that says I haven't

got that certain outcome I want that

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means and it has a feeling that is and if

that means I'm not safe I'm not worthy.

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I'm not good enough I'm not loved whatever

that very deep layer meaning and most of

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us don't even know it because it's in the

subconscious strata But you will know the

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feeling because it'll be very visceral

very body and it won't be nice There'll

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be a strong feeling and That's the marker.

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That's the one I'm looking

for when I'm working.

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That's the marker.

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It tells me there's something

deeper at play here.

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Certainty.

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The need for certainty.

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We are hardwired as humans to seek safety.

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Our brain, nervous system, the

amazing system that it is, is

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always looking for threat detection.

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That's what it does.

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Threat detection.

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In the modern world, most threats

are psychological or emotional.

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you might not win a contract,

you may lose money, you may

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lose face, whatever that is.

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And it still triggers the same pathways

in us that make us feel like we want

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to run or fight or at worst, shut down.

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So the need for certainty.

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There's often this very human, let's see,

ego led need to control events outside of

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ourselves, but that's not the end point.

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And this is why I find it super

interesting to get into this topic.

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It's not just about controlling

the events outside of ourselves.

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It's because we want to do

that for a feeling slash reason.

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And if you understand what that feeling

slash reason is, then you start to see

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the cycle and the circle that you're on.

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Back to client with her consultancy,

her need for certainty was

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actually keeping her very small.

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She wasn't scaling in a

way that she needed to.

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She wasn't investing like she needed to,

and she simply wasn't taking the actions.

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Because her subconscious or non

conscious mind, the bit that we can't

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see, was really driving the show.

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And her fear was prevalent and

present and driving her behavior.

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And this is why behavior change

on its own doesn't really stick.

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You've got to get onto the subtext,

the meaning and the emotion.

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You get that and then you understand,

ah, this is why I won't take risks.

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Oh, this is why I'm stuck in this

position and I keep repeating the problem.

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It's because we got to go

into that sort of subterranean

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layer of meaning and emotion.

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But when we get that, then

you're really onto something.

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Then you're onto understanding

the need for certainty.

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is driven by this.

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So then you can start to become

conscious of what was previously

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unconscious and you can start to

move into, let's say a space of not

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untotal uncertainty, but you're okay.

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there's space.

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there's a buffer.

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And this is what I've worked

with with this, client.

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I gave her a buffer.

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We helped to have a buffer of yes, of

course, we've got goals and objectives,

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but if there's a buffer it doesn't quite

work out or something comes in, then.

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I'll be okay.

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And that I'll be okay.

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Well, I mean, that's

autonomy all over, isn't it?

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It's beautiful.

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It's powerful.

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The need to control the need for

certainty actually makes us very weak.

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We're very at the forces of, the market,

clients, the weather, pandemics, whatever

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is coming on that we don't even know.

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And we cannot even see.

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So if you are struggling, with something.

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You're stuck.

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You're not moving forward.

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You are not taking action.

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Are you really caught and bound by this

pattern too, about the need for certainty?

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If so, then I invite you to

take a deeper look inwards.

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Where's we don't need to do psychological

archeology as we call it, go back, but

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it does help to understand its origin.

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But I think the most important thing is

what I see is understand its meaning.

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When you understand the meaning of the

event, When you understand the meaning

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and the feeling about what do I believe

and feel when I'm uncertain, then you

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will start to see the driving force.

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And you can't beat it, so there's

no point trying to beat it away.

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But the more you bring this in, the

more you face fear and allow it to be,

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the more fear can translate into focus.

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So we're going to try and get rid of fear.

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We want to bring it in

closer, but be with it.

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And understanding is one of the best ways

to steady a heightened emotion state.

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Bring understanding, a bit of

rational rigor and understanding

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what's going on here.

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And that allows enough buffer,

as we've said, to help you be

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more okay with the uncertain.

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So, my dear listener, if you're feeling

that you need certainty, it's normal.

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We all crave it.

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But actually the sweet spot, if you're

going to do cool stuff with your life,

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is to be okay with some uncertainty.

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And I almost guarantee some of

the most uncertain things in your

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life have probably been the best.

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It could be you met a partner.

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It could be that you had, your child,

it could be that you got your dog, or

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it could be that, you know, you lost

a business and you set up a new one,

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which was amazing, or lost a job and

you got a better one, you know that,

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I've been here a million times, and you

go, ah, I never saw that coming, and

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yeah, actually, it was a good thing.

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So to embrace uncertainty is to

understand what drives the fear.

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And the meaning.

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When you get that clear and then you can

work with the buffer to be okay with a

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little uncertainty and that becomes a

very powerful mix for great results both

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in your personal and professional life.

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So my dear listener, I hope if you

have been feeling uncertain about

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it all, you are clearer now and can

take some of those steps, put them

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into action and see what happens.

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And as always, do let

me know what happens.

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If you have questions, please reach out.

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If you have results.

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do let me know.

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I love to hear what happens with you.

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The point of sharing knowledge is it gives

people the gift to do things themselves.

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So I really hope this

gift is something for you.

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So until the next time, take care.

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Outro: Thank you so much for listening.

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If you enjoyed the

episode, please subscribe.

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And if a friend would benefit from hearing

this, do send it on to them as well.

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If you would like to get in touch

yourself, then you can go to my website.

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Which is Sal Jeffries dot com,

spelt S A L J E F F E R I E S.

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Sal Jeffries dot com.

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Hit the get in touch link and there

you can send me a direct message.

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If you'd like to go one step further

and learn whether coaching can help

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you overcome a challenge or a block

in your life, then do reach out and

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I offer a call where we can discuss

how this may be able to help you.

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Until the next time, take care.

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About the Podcast

Mindset, Mood & Movement
Human performance podcast for life and business
Feeling stuck, stressed and exhausted is bad for you, your health and your business. But it doesn’t have to be like this.

Sal Jefferies is a coach who helps founders overcome anxiety, build confidence and become healthy. This podcast will help you feel calm, confident and strong in life and business.

Sal has a unique coaching philosophy which integrates psychology, emotional regulation and embodied action. This podcast aims to share knowledge, skill and strategies from these 3 interwoven areas - mindset, mood & movement.

Each fortnight, Sal will be in conversation with a guest from a specialist field of human performance and behaviour. The week in between will be Sal's own shorter episode where he's goes deep into various topics - all created to give you the tools to become calm, confident & strong.


About your host

Profile picture for Sal Jefferies

Sal Jefferies

I believe in helping people become free - free of anxiety; to be authentic; to not worry of what others think of you. Free to create, to love and free to be calm, confident and strong.

I understand what it’s like to find life difficult, to deal with challenges and to feel lost; that’s why I over the last 15 years I have immersed myself in yoga, psychology and human behaviour. I have been on a journey of deep change and growth and I know at the core of most life choices is the desire for freedom and peace. I work with people who think deeply and feel deeply and looking to change, evolve and grow.

I don’t take myself too seriously and I bring a light and positive energy to my work. When I’m not coaching, I love reading and learning about anything to do with the human experience. I am also super active and movement is a big part of my life - running, swimming, strength training, doing yoga or enjoying being out with my dogs.