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Embracing Uncertainty – Being ‘Out of Control’ As A Leader

Womenlines takes pleasure to share about Leadership Coach Sally Anderson as a guest influencer for Leadership at Womenlines panel from New Zealand. Sally has privately coached key influencers internationally: CEO’s/executive teams/C-Suite forums/entrepreneurs/celebrities/politicians/millionaires/billionaires over 20 years. This week Sally is sharing insights about how to embrace uncertainty-

The leadership landscape globally has changed since COVID for ‘uncertainty’ is our new normal. This personally excites me for the base premise of the co-creative leadership curriculum I have developed is all about embracing the unknown realm as much as the known realm. Some leaders will relish the new terrain, some leaders however will struggle with ‘embracing uncertainty’ for it is foreign territory for most.

Your ability to evolve as a leader is directly proportional to your willingness to embrace uncertainty and trust the unknown realm – Sally Anderson

Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later – Bob Goff

When NOTHING is sure, EVERYTHING is possible – Margaret Drabble

Being ‘out of control’ as a leader is counterintuitive for to reach and attain a leadership position you have demonstrated your ability to control many multi-faceted dynamics. Everything has a contextual element – empowered control v disempowered control – if you control too much you impact the experience of flow (disempowered control) v unless you control and learn to navigate the terrain of what it means to be a leader you will not be effective (empowered control). 

I am pretty clear that advocacy for ‘being out of control/embracing uncertainty’ for a leader is not part of the traditional leadership landscape. Think about it. What we can access within the known, the human realm is limited, yet what we can access within the unknown, co-creative realm is limitless. Being ‘out of control’ has a very negative connotation. Don’t get me wrong ‘control’ is a very powerful, necessary trait as a leader. I believe an ‘evolved leader’ is a conduit, and if a conduit is blocked then the flow is not possible. What furthers flow or impedes flow is a redundant conversation if the conduit does not acknowledge they are one, or if the conduit is blocked in any way.

Leaders are used to being in control. Its part and parcel of their role. A high percentage of leaders are frenetic in their energy given the workload they have to manage and the people they need to lead on a daily basis. There is a lot to DO resulting in stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. A leader interested in evolving in their leadership capability will not excel from the same paradigm that does not offer solace from the treadmill. 

With C-Suite clients whom I have coached in the past, I have recommended that they take half a day off out of their workweek and go and play golf as an example. The reaction a lot of the time is almost like I have ‘murdered their mother’, the suggestion in itself is threatening for if they were to let go of EVERYTHING they need to DO in a given week, what would happen??? Sometimes in leadership, you are FAR MORE EFFECTIVE when you create the space for new things to come in. Miracles, flow, inspiration cannot be accessed when one is holding on so tight or in frenetic energy.

In closing…

I have written two books, the first was entitled ‘Freefall – Living Life Beyond The Edge’ – there are a lot of people in ‘Freefall’ right now. Here is an excerpt that I felt might be of interest to those struggling with dealing with their paralysing fear, and or navigating uncertainty and the unknown realm…

To visually express freefall, I use the image of a white feather against a black background on the cover of the book because access to the light is through the perception of what is dark. The imagery invites us to go to the places we don’t want to go because this is how we liberate our soul. When we do this, we realise there is nothing frightening there at all

  • A feather is soft and gentle with many dimensions of intricacy.  Feathers fall gracefully and effortlessly. Freefall can either be a helter-skelter, terrifying experience or a graceful way of being with all that is
  • A feather travels in the air to many destinations, totally trusting the unknown. Once we let go and trust the unknown we experience true freedom
  • A feather floats in silence, which is one of the most powerful forms of communication
  • A falling feather dances with gravity. It doesn’t buck reality but goes with the flow of the real world
  • Feathers give birds the gift of flight, and the flight is about freedom without constraint as we pursue a clear sense of purpose
  • A feather is light but has a design that’s scientifically complex and a form that’s truly beautiful. We too are complex in design. Once we embrace what we perceive to be dark about us, we experience everything as light
  • A falling feather is a wonderful metaphor for life. Once we give ourselves fully to our life, we are propelled wherever we need to go 
  • It takes courage to embark on a journey without knowing our destination. But if we are honest this is exactly how life is. We really don’t know where it’s going, much as we try to control, mash, pummel and force it into a certain shape

Recommendation for the week: Think less and feel more, more heart / less head – the unknown is where the magic lies!

Sally Anderson

Sally Anderson

CEO/C-Suite Leadership Coach

Sally partner’s CEO’s/C-Suite Leadership Executives/Key Influencer’s Achieve Unprecedented ‘Sustainable’ RESULTS!


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