Once upon a time, back when I was about 32, I thought I knew how my life was going to turn out. I had just been promoted to full partner in a busy OB/GYN practice in San Diego, where I planned to work for the next 35 years before I retired on my big phat 401K and settled down on the beach to paint for a few years before I died.
You know what they say about the best laid plans.
Now, after a series of massively life-altering events, I know better than to think I can predict my future or anyone else’s. But I have to admit that I sometimes crave the illusion of certainty I once had in my younger years.
The past few weeks have been particularly uncertain for me. After my literary agent charged me with writing the one book I would be willing to speak on stage about for the rest of my life, I finally wrote what feels like my magnum opus. The working title is The Prescription: Heal Your Thoughts, Cure Your Body, and it’s all about Owning Pink to me. This book teaches you how to perform miracles by changing your thoughts, diagnosing the real reason you’re sick, and developing a treatment plan that will activate your self-healing superpowers and help you heal yourself. It’s all about the law of attraction as it applies to health. And it’s aimed at helping you do for yourself what I help patients do when I work one-on-one with them – write The Prescription for whole life health so they have a plan for how to be not just well, but vital, in all aspects of their lives.
If you’ve ever tried to write your magnum opus – or even if you’ve just dreamed about it, you probably have some idea how scary it can be to let anyone else read it. But the only way you’ll spread your brilliant vision and change the world is to put it out there in the public eye. Which means that at some point, after gestating, birthing, and breast-feeding your little baby magnum, you have to let it go out into the world.
Which is what I did this month.
On September 12, my agent sent my book to a few special hand-picked publishers we deemed perfect fits. And then the waiting began. Days turned to weeks, and all was silent.
I was seriously considering picking up a drug habit – maybe ecstasy. Perhaps ‘shrooms. A little Xanax. (As someone who couldn’t even take Vicodin after my C-section because it made me puke my guts out, this probably wouldn’t go well.)
Often, in uncertain times, it’s tempting to numb out. I could have turned to drugs. Or drank too many margaritas. Or zoned out on television. But instead, I decided to do a 2 weekgreen juice detox cleanse and take Jonathan Fields’ full-of-awesome advice about how to transform fear, doubt, and uncertainty into fuel for brilliance.
Uncertainty As Rocket Fuel For Genius
Because I was so distracted, I spent the past couple of weeks in the art studio, painting my heart out. And painting stirred up some stuff in me and led me to write a manifesto – Jerry Maguire style until 3am – called “How To Change The World” (I wrote it to help visionaries in service to the highest good spread their message.)
Turns out Jonathan was right. The uncertainty of waiting for an answer from publishers led me to paint in a style I’ve never painted in before, write about ideas I’ve never articulated before, and climb out of my comfort zone into some really freakin’ awesome and innovate creative spaces.
And that’s what Jonathan’s new book Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance is all about. If you’re just getting to know Jonathan, here’s the kind of guy he is. When I asked him to give me the #1 tip for making peace with uncertainty, Jonathan said, “85% dark chocolate.” Which I promptly took him up on. And he was right. It helped. But he’s not all shits and giggles like that. This book is heavily researched and totally practical in how it guides you through the process of not just making peace with, but embracing, uncertainty.
The Uncertainty Of My Book Deal
After two weeks of hearing almost nothing, the phone finally started ringing and editors are interested in publishing my book. Awesome editors. Editors who get it. But the book deal shenanigans are still unfolding. I still don’t know what tomorrow will hold – and I probably won’t know the outcome of this particular uncertainty for a another week or so.
But I’m choosing to live in the moment instead. Right here, right now, all my needs are met. Everything is right with the world. I’m safe. I’m surrounded by people who love and support me. And there’s no need to think about the future, since the only thing certain in life is uncertainty.
The day before Jonathan’s book launched, he tweeted, “I am present. I am present. I am present. I am hungry. I am present. A latte’d be nice. I am present.” Seems like a good mantra to me.
Jonathan says, “Certainty is one of the biggest dream-killers on the planet.” Uncertainty is not just useful when you’re creating and innovating – it’s essential. Make uncertainty your BFF. If you can stand it, invite it in for tea. Hang out with uncertainty.
And if that’s not enough to help you chillax and feel calm in the face of uncertainty, read his book. (Buy it here.) It’s chock full of practical tips to help you transform uncertainty into creative fuel for innovation, brilliant ideas, and the kind of greatness that certainty crowds out.
Just to give you some highlights, try this at home.
How To Embrace Uncertainty
- Reframe. Take any negative stories you write in your head and give them new endings. Don’t let the Gremlin chatter of fear rule your life.
- Optimize your workflow. When your professional life is the same every day, it’s hard to innovate. So change it up.
- Surround yourself with uncertain people. Create a culture of those who support, encourage, and promote risk-taking and uncertainty. When others are leaping off cliffs, you’ll feel braver when it comes time to jump headfirst into the great unknown.
- Develop personal practices that help you feel calm in times of uncertainty. Meditate. Light candles. Go out in nature. Exercise. Practice mindfulness. Whatever works.
You’ll have to read the book to find out more. Or listen to Jonathan and I talk about making peace with uncertainty on the teleseminar we did together.
What about you?
How are you dealing with uncertainty? Do you let it make you crazy, or are you able to face it down, stay calm, and let it catalyze the kind of life you could only dream of living?
Tell us your stories of how you’ve dealt with uncertainty and how it’s changed you.
Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.com, Pink Medicine Revolutionary, motivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.
Learn more about Lissa Rankin here.