The problem is, it’s also indecision time, for a lot of people. Economic uncertainty is clouding our collective judgement, and causing people to freeze in fear. Uncertainty is stopping us from taking necessary decisions to move us through the tough times when nobody seems to know what is happening or what the future holds.
But uncertainty is not a reason for avoiding taking decisions, quite the opposite. Uncertainty must provide the impetus for bold decisions to be made. Uncertainty is challenging but consciously taking decisions transfers control from the challenge back to us and offers a way forward. Its decision time!
For me, it’s time to take some of my own medicine and make some decisions following my return from the South Pole, which marked the end of a period of constant and critical decision-making. It has been over two months since I got back and the highs of that moment are fading fast. An emotional slump has replaced the buzz that surrounded our successful arrival at the Pole, the result of a string of well-made decisions, and the memory of the subsequent homecoming are disappearing into the distance.
But I have been here before, at the emotional slump, where I find myself asking ‘What will I do now?’
It happened when I lost my sight, it happened when I lost my job after the dot com bubble burst in 2001, and it happens when I lose direction after every adventure race.
Following the South Pole I am again struggling to deal with the uncertainty of what to do next. Last year seemed so simple. The immutable goal was getting to the South Pole. There was clarity around what the goal was even if the project was filled with uncertainty about how we would raise the funds to get to the start line in the worst economic climate for decades. We struggled with who should be on the team and the question of whether or not I could realistically get over the terrain, skiing blind. We wondered if we could actually put the project together in time to make it to the inaugural South Pole Race.
Of course things changed nearly every day on our journey to put the project together but we knew the direction that life was taking. The goal was set in stone even if uncertainty peppered the day-to-day operations of the project.
The race itself provided nearly two months of focused effort without any distractions from the outside world. In Antarctica we had a single goal of reaching the South Pole and since we got back life has been so busy with the aftermath that thinking about what’s next hasn’t been an issue.
But now the question is valid. What will I do now? And the answer is, I don’t know! I’ve got to work out what replaces the void left without the South Pole consuming my every waking moment, as it has done for the last 14 months.
Of course, the problem is not a shortage of opportunities – it rarely is – the problem is picking one option and focusing on it. Hanging around in a world of uncertainty isn’t doing it for me so its time to do something about it. I’m once again in search of ‘the feeling’ that I wrote about in the last blog post and it’s getting close to decision time. What do I do now? Another adventure race? Launch a new business? Get involved with someone else’s business? Explore the world of media? Hmmm, what’s next…what’s the new South Pole?
It is the uncertainty surrounding what direction to take that is tough, not the uncertainty of putting the project together. And so, its decision time.