We’re continuing to hear from many of you that there is still uncertainty and distress in your lives that makes it difficult to show up as leader in both your professional and personal life. We want to remind you that you’re not alone in this.

To support you today, we’re resharing an article from the Harvard Business Review that talks about how our brains react to the many levels of uncertainty and unpredictability we’ve been living through.

This article can be a helpful reminder of the ways uncertainty may be taking a toll on you.In the article, Our Brains Were Not Built for This Much Uncertainty, by Heidi Grant and Tal Goldhamer, (September 22, 2021) the authors said,

You may already know that threat leads to ‘fight, freeze, or flight’ responses in the brain.

You may not know that it also leads to decreases in motivation, focus, agility, cooperative behavior, self-control, sense of purpose and meaning, and overall well-being.

In addition, threat creates significant impairments in your working memory: You can’t hold as many ideas in your mind to solve problems, nor can you pull as much information from your long-term memory when you need it.

Threats of uncertainty literally make us less capable, because dealing with them is just not something our brains evolved to do.

Many people we’ve talked to resonate with parts of this quote . . . and are relieved to know that they are sane! Stressed, yes, but also sane.

We’ve found that there are several things you can do immediately to care for yourself and those you lead. Look through the suggestions below and see what might work for you.

Change how you talk with yourself.

When you lose focus, get snarky with a family member, or feel like you’ve lost your memory, be sure to speak to yourself with kindness and respect.

Instead of angrily saying “WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?” ask yourself, “What has happened to me that’s creating this reaction?” Then listen to yourself with compassion.

Change how you talk with others.

When someone is behaving in ways that are frustrating or disappointing, become more compassionate towards them by asking yourself, “What may be happening to them during this time?”

If it’s someone you’re comfortable asking, you might say “What’s happening in your life as you deal with the craziness that we’re living in?” And then, listen closely.

Connect with your values and priorities.

Throughout your day, spend some time connecting with your values and priorities.

Remembering how much you love your work, or appreciate your colleagues, or are passionate about art, can help you reconnect with yourself.

Nurture important relationships.

Identify the people who you can talk to openly about these times and how they’re impacting you.

Brainstorm ways to get more predictability in your own world even though this big world is ever-changing.


When our brains are working this hard, they use up more of our resources.

Take a few minutes every hour or two to breathe and look around, walk outside and survey the world, take a nap, or get more sleep at night.

Rest comes in many forms and all of it will make you more capable and resilient. Not magically overnight, but over time you can see and feel a difference.

Take some time this week to practice one or all of these suggestions and see if you find that you’re able to act with greater compassion toward yourself and toward others.

Remember, we can only do what we can do. We can add predictable patterns to our days, treat ourselves with kindness, and connect regularly with people who we delight in and delight in us.

Let us know how you’re doing. We’re here for you.

If you’d like support
showing up for yourself or others,
contact us today.