Business

Finding the Good in Uncertainty [Column]



Uncertainty can be scary. As humans we tend to find comfort in predictability and are wired to fear loss. When something happens that disrupts our world, it can be terrifying and shatter our confidence.

In times like these, the most valuable action we can take is to reframe our situation. Instead of wallowing in the “woe is me” mentality, be transilient. Transilient is a term I recently heard on a Podcast. It’s looking for the emerging possibilities and quickly moving in a new direction (to transform and be resilient).

I realize this is difficult for many people. In the heat of the moment, bad news feels bad! And yet when faced with uncertainty, it helps to remind yourself of the Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Look at the bad news as putting your hand on a hot stove. It is only helpful for a split second as a warning. Acknowledge it and move on.

One of the biggest applications of transilience is when you lose your job.  Coming from a banking background, I know all too well what losing your job means, especially when it is the result of an acquisition. I watched it happen with 20 acquisitions, the last of which I put my own name on “the list.”

At the time, I was only 45 years old. I had no idea what I was going to do next but had every faith that an opportunity would present itself. And it did. I ended up launching my business and the rest, as they say, is history.

The same thing happened to Dr. Kryn McClain, the President of Paragon Behavioral Services. She was mentioned in a previous Reading Eagle article and when I reached out to her, she immediately agreed to share her story.

Back in 2017, she returned from maternity leave to shortly thereafter find her position had been eliminated. She was shocked. All prior performance reviews were positive and there was no “why” provided. She went through the normal grieving cycle: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.

Dr. McClain was truly transilient because she moved through her grief within the ten-day’s notice of termination and decided to venture out with her partner and start a new business. They were determined to create a company that cared for the caregiver and treated employees well. And that is exactly what they did.

The biggest challenge to taking this big step was internal; having the courage to sign their first office lease. But with an amazing personal and professional support group, more than four years later, Paragon continues to be successful.

When asked what advice she would give others Dr. McClain says “If you have a business idea — do it. Start to share it with others and seek out the many resources available to new businesses.” Then get to work.

Dr. McClain shared “Starting a business was hard. Working for someone else was hard. I got to choose my hard.” I couldn’t have said it better.

When uncertainty presents itself, it’s okay to acknowledge feelings of loss, fear, or frustration. Those are real feelings. What doesn’t serve you well is staying in that negative mental space. As quickly as possible, ask yourself important reframing questions such as, “What can I learn from this,” “What is the opportunity which is now available,” or “What does this free me up to pursue?” Embrace a transilient mindset. Then go for it!

Joni S. Naugle is the founder and president of Naugle Associates, LLC, Reading, where she works with clients on leadership, strategy and organizational effectiveness. She leads two Vistage executive peer groups, is a Certified Positive Intelligence Coach and is certified in Patrick Lencioni’s The Working Genius Assessment.



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