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Uncertainty Fatigue

Below is a brief editorial from professional trainer, Toby Causby, on uncertainty fatigue.

The Circle of Agency is the mental, emotional, and physical space within which we have the power to act.

During stressful, challenging, and difficult situations, it is so easy to get distracted by things outside our circle of agency — outside our ability to act.

As we continue to navigate these days (and weeks and months) of increased uncertainty, it is important to identify the places and spaces in our right-now lives where we have complete agency, where we have some agency, and where we have little to no agency.

If possible grab a piece of paper and a writing utensil. Draw a big circle. In the center of the circle write “complete agency.” Just inside the edge of the circle write “some agency.” On the outside of the circle write “little to no agency.”

Now imagine yourself standing on that piece of paper.

When I find myself spinning out, shutting down, or feeling overwhelmed (all symptoms of uncertainty fatigue), it is a pretty good indication that I am spending way too much time standing outside my circle of agency.

Example from my right-now life:

I currently have little to no agency when it comes to the development of a safe and effective vaccine for the coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID 19.

I currently have some agency to encourage others to limit high-risk behaviors, to practice social distancing, to become hand-washing pros, and to wear masks when around others.

I have complete agency to limit my participation in high-risk behaviors, to practice social distancing, to become a hand-washing pro, and to wear masks when around others.

I have learned (and I am reminded all the time) that the closer I can stand to the center of my circle of agency the more stable my life feels and the more prepared I am to meet the challenges of my day.

Working with the circle of agency won’t make all the uncertainty go away. It won’t abdicate us from our responsibilities. It won’t magically make everything ok.

It can help us better identify places and spaces where we can experience a bit more certainty. It can help us make better choices as to where to invest our attention and energy. It can better prepare us to meet the challenges of the day.

If you would like to read more from Toby Causby, click on the link below.
Toby Notes Archives