It pays to pay attention to themes and patterns that keep popping up. Over the last week, a handful of powerful conversations have popped up around how we show up during uncertain times.
What are today’s “uncertain times?” Turn on the news, and they’ll tell you all about it, stacking up stories about interest rates, global wars, financial slowdowns, supply chain issues, and labor shortages… There’s a lot out there to feed your fear and cause you to lock up. In uncertain times, it may feel like the best thing to do is hunker down, get tossed about, and try to just ride out the waves.
That’s what fear would tell you, and it may be how you feel. We get it. That said, those conversations from the past week would challenge that thinking…
On a webinar panel last week with Authentic, the topic of uncertain times came up. From a marketing perspective, when things feel uncertain, businesses generally look for areas to pull back and sit tight. Marketing tends to be one of the first areas where businesses cut.
During that webinar, though, that thinking was challenged. In uncertain times like these, when all of your competitors are pulling back, and their marketing is getting quiet, there is less noise in the system to compete with. In essence, you need to be less loud to get heard. There is a massive opportunity for brands to step out and build awareness in this environment.
This doesn’t just apply to your marketing. We had a similar conversation with a leader in the business coaching and leadership space who echoed that sentiment. This period of uncertainty is the perfect time to expose some of the gaps in your business. At the same time, and possibly even more importantly, it’s the perfect time to expose your competitors’ gaps. Again, as they’re braking hard, you can step on the gas. This is a season where brands pass one another.
When fear sets in, and the environment shifts, opportunities show themselves, and you get to choose… Will you pass or get passed?
That’s the moment we’re in right now… a time filled with opportunities. Uncertainty and opportunity go hand in hand. They’re like the cousins at the family reunion who would never hang out, but on that one sweltering Sunday in August under the picnic shelter, they have some things to connect over as they enjoy a plate of potluck.
Feel like you’re at that family reunion potluck right now, in the midst of all the uncertainty? Here are three things we can all be considering…
- What do I know to be true today? We’ve talked about the power of neutral thinking in past blogs. Amid the uncertainty, neutral thinking is essential. Ask yourself what the facts are, and work to separate the facts from your fears. They say FEAR can be defined as False Evidence Appearing Real. Sometimes, all of the noise we hear on the news or listening to the wrong voices can create false evidence. Separate what is false from what is really true.
- What uncertainties are we facing today that we can control? Of all the uncertainties that exist in the market today, there are only a handful that you have any control over. Get laser-focused on those, and control what you can control. For the rest of the things you can’t control, let go of them. Set them down, and focus your energy on the areas where you can create and maximize your impact.
- What opportunities exist because of the uncertainty? This question may take a little more thinking to answer. Often, the best answers to questions like this one come from having conversations with other people who will help bring you outside insights that you can’t unlock on your own. Call some people up and set up some time for an “uncertainty” conversation where you can all help one another think differently through this time.
Here’s one last take on the concept of uncertainty. The world has always had uncertainty. World Wars and the Great Depression brought uncertainty. The Dotcom Bubble, the 2008 housing market crash, and COVID all brought uncertainty. Embrace the fact that we’re all on a roller coaster and buckle up – even this season of uncertainty that we’re in today will be followed by more uncertainty.
With that in mind, we need to decide how we’re going to show up in the uncertainty.
In times of uncertainty, double down on these three things… Identify what is true. Control what you can control. Look for the opportunities and enlist the help of a strong circle of opportunity-focused friends. Uncertainty will come and go, but we get to control how much we’re tossed around by the waves.