Tag Archives: Uncertainty

“Nobody knows”

Sometimes the certainty we’re looking for just doesn’t exist.

We have come to expect absolute answers.  Every question has a definitive answer.  Every search produces results.  We expect to have something solid to work with, something precise.

We find it difficult to accept that sometimes the best answer even the most expert of professionals can provide is “I don’t know”.  They may not be willing to be pushed to guess, or they may realise that suggesting there is more certainty is not fair, sets unrealistic expectations, or lays the foundation for surprises in the future.

In some situations, uncertainty or ambiguity can be exciting, creating suspense, adding to the outcome itself.  In others it can be frustrating, often for the same reasons, but within a different context or frame of reference.

In many cases, time is the catalyst as more information becomes available, or the question itself crystallises.

Patience is the key.  If you can, enjoy the anticipation.  If not, make sure you’re asking the right question, sit tight and, if necessary, work with what you do know.



Sometimes you may feel you lack direction.  You have no target, nothing to work towards.  Often this can happen with little warning, for no obvious reason, and for no fault of your own.

These situations don’t happen often, but they are unsettling and frustrating when they do.

When they occur in the workplace you are unlikely to be on your own.  Others will be feeling the same uncertainty or level of frustration.  You may look for guidance or leadership, but neither are forthcoming.

Often they occur because the organisation goes into a holding pattern, waiting for direction from above.  It may last for a finite period, but that period is unlikely to be well defined and rarely within your control.

It’s no time to be precious or make a scene.  The more prudent approach is to recognise the forces in play, keep your head down and wait it out.

Take control where you can.  Set personal goals to create distractions elsewhere.

These situations are inevitable, they offer little upside.  Live with them, get through them and move on.