By: Joe Carella, Psy. D., Licensed Psychologist Certified CEO Effectiveness Executive Coach
Dr. Bill Anton, his blog, encourages loving parents to allow their children to “learn to tolerate the discomfort of being uncertain.” Parents who read his blog are likely to consider this advice to be ludicrous. After all, popular thought has encouraged to provide structure and protection from the unknown. I hope that parents allow their initial emotional reaction to pass and consider the wisdom of embracing that which makes us uncomfortable. Those parents who allow themselves to control less and engage more with that which we genuinely experience are far more likely to develop mental models that allow their true self to grow and develop. They are then in a position to encourage those around them to achieve more than they thought possible themselves.
I was reminded of this when I listened to a leader who spoke about her unwillingness to allow others around her to fail. As you can imagine, she was perceived as lacking trust in others and described as a micro-manager. She and her team achieved relative short term success but she was frustrated with her constant feeling of resentment toward others. As she spoke I was reminded of an executive who challenged her team to “seek ambiguity” and “cherish uncertainty.” By contrast, her teams described her as an inspirational leader who allowed them to truly discover how the best of themselves.
Though uncomfortable and scary, try doing that which makes you uncomfortable and seize the unknown to know yourself more fully.