You can learn something for your professional career from the Oreo Mystery Flavor. Last fall Oreo announced a contest where the cookie brand offered everyone who submitted the correct flavor on their website could earn a chance to win $50,000. But in order to win the prize, you had to be willing to try a cookie where you didn’t know what the cream filling tasted like. You had to be comfortable with not knowing what was in between.
So much of professional life is spent in between. There is the beginning—the entry into the workplace, the start at a new job, the launch of a new business. And there is the end—the person you want to become, the successful outcome of a new venture, the retirement from working. But there is so much uncertainty between the start and the finish. And the only way you can win the prize is if you are willing to embrace that uncertainty. It is important to get used to being comfortable with not knowing what’s in between.
Here is the process to implement if you are to embrace uncertainty and become comfortable with not knowing what’s in between.
1. Choose wisely (but make a choice)
It’s important to collect all the information you can before making a significant decision. But after you get all the input you can, you have to make a choice.
Getting stuck at the moment of decision will hold you back. Trying to make the perfect decision will prevent you from making a decision. (TWEET)
Don’t be afraid of what’s in between. Weigh your options and make your choice.
2. Accept the outcome
Too often people can be afraid to make a wrong choice. But that’s part of the process. Making mistakes is how humans learn. The key is to accept the outcome.
Don’t waste valuable time beating yourself up over a wrong decision. Applaud yourself for making the decision. See it as the courageous move that it is. And retool based on what you now know.
Even if you’re not sure if you like the taste of what’s in between, don’t let the uncertainty stop you.
3. Move forward
Even when you make a wrong decision, just keep moving. As Henry Ford said, “failure is the ability to begin again—this time more intelligently.”
By doing all you can to make a good decision and then deal with the outcome, you will be more prepared to move forward, regardless of what happens. Make a mind shift so that you can switch gears as you go forward.
You can learn to survive and thrive in the midst of uncertainty, as long as you resolve to keep going—even if you don’t know what’s in between.
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