Practicing Being With Uncertainty and Fear

When faced with the option of taking action despite uncertainty vs. inaction, which do you choose?

As lawyers, we’re trained to analyze every potential consequence of each action before we can take even a single step.

I too struggle with this and it’s something I’ve worked on.

Mindfulness practice is hugely important and beneficial for learning to be comfortable with uncertainty. By definition, being mindful means being in the present moment and catching ourselves when playing the 1,001 ways in which this thing can go wrong game. 

Few years ago, I had a vague yet persistent sense that my mission in life is to bring mindfulness and meditation to the legal community. I suppose some would call this a “calling.” Yet, I resisted. Actually, I summarily rejected the idea.

There were the practical questions:
—What lawyer is going to be interested “mindfulness?”
—How are you going to pay your bills?
—What are you going to tell your parents!?!?

The Value of Tiny Steps

Despite the fear, uncertainty and doubt, the idea simply would not leave me alone. It became something of an obsession. I didn’t have all (or most) of the answers. I didn’t have an actionable, 28-page business plan.

Yet, everyday, when I sat down to meditate, there was an inner-mentor and she gently persisted. Then one day, I had an idea. What if today, I can just take one tiny step?

So I did. I emailed the program director at the local bar association where I was the chair of the bankruptcy section and asked if I could offer a program on stress reduction and mindfulness.

She said “no.” I was devastated.

The next day, I wrote a short blog post on how mindfulness helped me to navigate a very contentious hearing.

I simply committed to taking ONE tiny action towards my bigger vision. Everyday. I didn’t have to have it all figured out. I didn’t need to do it “perfectly.”

Over the months and years, those tiny steps added up.

We often dismiss the value of taking small steps, persistently over time. Yet, that’s the only way I know to accomplish anything truly big and meaningful.

I’ve been experiencing a new set of uncertainty and having to relearn the lesson of getting up everyday and doing the next thing that is both necessary and obvious.

Focus Less on Results

When the bar association director said “no,” I could’ve simply quit. I could’ve told myself — See? You tried and failed.

This is why when you’re pursuing your dreams, it’s important to focus less on the outcome and celebrate your efforts.

If I only focused on the results — getting the “yes,” I would very quickly become discouraged. I wouldn’t have been able to build a thriving consulting and coaching business teaching mindfulness and meditation to lawyers.

What is your ONE thing? This might be a vision, a goal, or an idea that simply won’t leave you alone. It can also be the one challenge or obstacle you’re struggling with.

Remember: Value action over perfection.

Wishing you success and joy.