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Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Uncertainty can poison your mind

January 12. 2014 11:28AM

A LOT of things that are uncertain in life and business.

From the future of the company you work for to your job security to the longevity and tenure of the people you have built strategic working relationships with, the list is long.

I could spend time talking about all of the things that are uncertain, but what good would that do? If I listed all of the things you have no control over that could have a serious impact on your life and career, it would do nothing but cause you to worry — and that's something we need to work on completely avoiding.

A lot of people I know get very worked up about uncertainty. A handful of people I know work for a company that recently announced they were looking for prospective buyers to take over the company. This in turn caused people within the organization to go into panic mode and start a flurry of chatter about the potential repercussions of the company being sold.

As I was speaking to them about the news and listening to their concerns, I asked a simple question. Is your company being sold something you have any control or influence over? The answer was, of course, no. So then why worry about it? Why let the news poison your mental attitude and cause concern and worry? Not letting yourself get concerned or worried is easier said than done, but it's important to learn how to control your mind and not let negative thoughts take over.

Here's the reality. There are a lot of things you have complete and total control over. You control how hard you work. You control your professional growth and the time you invest in bettering yourself and improving your skills. You control the personal and professional goals you set. You control the reputation and personal brand you have worked to establish over the course of your career.

And those are the areas where you should direct your effort, energy and thoughts. Never mind the things around you that you can't control. You could walk into your office tomorrow and learn the company is closing. You could walk into your office tomorrow and learn the company is being taken over by a larger organization and they are getting rid of everyone. And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Now don't get me wrong, it's equally important to be realistic and have a plan for change, if it is forced on you. You just can't let the possibility consume you and dominate every thought you have.

The most successful people I know are those who don't get wrapped up in uncertainty. They have the ability to clearly separate the things they can control and the things they can't. This skill allows you to channel your time and energy and focus on what you can actually control and influence.

So when you come across uncertainty that causes you to have fears and concerns about the impact it will have on you, ask yourself these questions. Is this something I can control or influence? If it does happen, what is the best case scenario? What will I do if the situation becomes reality? And leave it at that. Create a mental box in your mind, put those thoughts in the box, close the cover and get back to focusing on the things you have control over.

Trust me, you'll be much better off.


Christopher Thompson ( writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News.

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