Nothing Is Certain

Happy December! We’re diving right in today to chat about the desire for certainty. Taylor breaks down three myths she has identifiied around certainty and offers some alternatives. 

Mentioned In The Episode

Join our Word Work workshop on January 7th! 

Save your seat for Camp Clarity

Join the waitlist for Gateway Coaching

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to Inner Warmup where your inner work begins, my name is Taylor Elyse Morrison, creator of Inner Workout and you, as always are our expert guest. Thanks for being here today. It is the beginning of the last month of 2022. And if you're anything like me, you spend this time of year, navigating the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and also starting to look ahead to what's next, what's coming up in the year to come. Sometimes that can be fun and exciting. Sometimes that can be really stress inducing. Wherever you're at, I hope that this month's content will be supportive for you. We're going to look at this very human desire for certainty, and offer up some alternatives. Before we get into today's content, we've got two announcements, our first workshops of 2023. So we have one called Word Work. This is for you, if you love having a word of the year, a mantra of the year, and you want to come up with yours in community. We'll link to that in the show notes. The second is we're bringing Camp Clarity back. Camp Clarity is our live course, that helps you let go of the need for having a roadmap and build your inner compass in four sessions. It's a little bit different this time around, instead of doing it over the course of four weeks, we're doing it over the course of four days. And instead of the sessions being 60 minutes, they're going to be 90 minutes. This work is so good. And I'm already just excited for the people who will get to start 2023 with me and with the other people in your cohort laying this foundation. So with that being said, we'll get into the content. If you want to learn about either of those things coming up, head to the show notes, we'll make sure that there are links waiting there for you.

Okay, so I'm guessing that you read the title for today's episode. It's called "Nothing Is Certain." And you probably get that intellectually, I get that intellectually. But that does not mean that it feels true. At least for me. It's like I know nothing is certain. And yet I spend, it's kind of embarrassing how many coaching sessions I have spent around some variation of the fact that I want to be certain. I want someone to give me the answers. I want to know what the right step is. That is the right right step. I'm not looking just for an answer, I'm looking for thee answer. And this is as someone who talks to this about other people, who knows that nothing is certain. And yet, it's like, just stuck in my bones, that I should be able to know all of the answers. I hope that's comforting for you, that this is something that I still wrestle with all the time. Because craving certainty, it doesn't mean that anything is wrong with you. It just means that you're human. Humans like certainty. It's something that we want, it makes us feel safe, we sometimes can equate safety, with certainty. And as I've done my own work around this idea of certainty and how it shows up in my life, I've identified three myths about certainty that I want to share with you. Let me know if these resonate, if these ring true as things that you've experienced, or at least that you've observed as part of the human experience. So the first myth is that certainty is possible. You may have heard of this concept of the Dunning Kruger effect, which is normally just used to be like, stupid people don't know that they're stupid, and they think that they're smart when they're really not. That's actually a very shallow way to talk about the Dunning Kruger effect. What it actually means is that, yes, people can overestimate or underestimate their abilities. That's something that every human does, but what we see is that the smartest people overestimate and under estimate within a much smaller range. To put it simply the smartest people in the room, are more willing to admit that they don't know what they don't know. They know that there are pieces of life that are uncertain. And so the truth that I would offer to replace that myth, that certainty is even a possibility is that change is our reality. This has always been true. If you're like me, and you live in a place with seasons, you see the world go through seasons, or you talk to your grandparents. And they tell you what life was like for them. And there's remnants of it that are similar. And there are things that are like, wow, I just cannot imagine that. My grandmother grew up during the Great Depression. And, yes, I have lived through our great recession, and the recession that we're entering right now, but it is not the same as what my grandmother went through. So change has always been part of our reality. But then we have the past two years. And it has accelerated the pace of change, at least for me in my life. Sometimes I just think about things that are so normal now, that would have been really weird even just in like February of 2020. I think of parts of my role, I do a lot of facilitation, both through Inner Workout and with other clients. And those roles were designed to be heavy travel roles. And now actually, most of what I do is over zoom, and I'm meeting with people all over the globe. And they are all used to showing up on Zoom. And there are these protocols and things as a facilitator that I've built out that like I had to learn. I had to learn a whole different skill set. Or another way that I think about changing our reality is I have been with my partner, my husband, since my senior year of high school. And thankfully, we are not the same people, it would actually be really problematic if I was the same person that I was in high school and he was the same person that he was in high school. We would not have lasted for sure if we had been stagnant, if we hadn't changed, if we hadn't evolved. So change is actually the reality of being human. Progress is the reality of being human. And that's not something that we need to fight. That's just something that we can accept. So that's the first myth. And then the truth underscoring it is that certainty is actually not possible. Change is our reality.

Let me offer up another myth to you. This one might hit home for my fellow self aware overachievers, who feel like life is supposed to be linear. We could probably write down what we think a life is supposed to look like. And I'm putting that in quotes, like societally, what is the progress that you're supposed to make? What is the map that you're supposed to follow? And yours would probably look a lot like mine. When I did this exercise, here's what I wrote down. Okay, it starts with like, as a kid, you get good grades. And then you graduate high school. And then you probably go to college. And again, I'm speaking from, like, what I was steeped in, and where I've been because of society, and class and all of these different things. So then you graduate, high school, you go to college, you get good grades, again. You graduate, you get a good first job. Hopefully, you get a promotion every few years, you find a partner. Hopefully that partner has followed the same life pat. So you keep getting promotions, and you keep doing better and better all the time. You two buy a house together. You're supposed to have kids, and you keep getting promoted every few years and your kids grow up and they follow their own version of that path. And then eventually you can retire and do some of the things that you wanted to do but maybe didn't have space for in your life. That is the path that it's not like my parents told me that was exactly what I was supposed to do. But I definitely received the message that that's the path I was supposed to follow. Life was supposed to be linear like that. And any deviation, anything that wasn't as straight and narrow as what I just laid out for you was wrong, was bad. That path is certain and anything outside of it, you are falling short. And I'm not saying you're falling short. I'm speaking to myself. That's what I thought, I thought I was falling short. And the truth is that most people don't follow that path. Life is this beautiful unfolding adventure. This has been one of my favorite questions to ask people for a while. But I've especially enjoyed asking it while I've been interviewing coaches for Inner Workout's sister company, Gateway Coaching. And I like to ask people like, how did you come to this work? I used to ask it when I worked in corporate and I would get to work, get to meet new people or get to talk with people higher up than me. And there was always some type of winding path. What I'm finding for the coaches on Gateway is, it's like unpredictable in the best way. There's one woman that I just interviewed who is a professional musician who has played with the Boston Symphony. There's another coach that I interviewed, who's retired military. There's someone else who, like started her path with a degree in kinesiology and has picked up all of these things and is now adding coaching into her toolkit. These people all have versions of the same profession now. But their way to get there was completely different. And that's the norm. I encourage you to start asking people that question. How did you get here? What brought you to this work? And every answer that you get for that will hopefully be something that encourages you, and reminds you that there isn't one way to get where you're going, there isn't even one place where we're all supposed to be heading. So life is not linear. It's actually this winding and unfolding adventure.

And then I've got one more myth for you. This one, if I could pay to just like have this one cut out of my brain I would. The myth is that certainty gives you more control. And I am really guilty of playing into this. I crave having the answer first, so then I can figure out what's supposed to be next. And when I'm doing that, when I'm so focused on getting that answer, I'm focused on what's outside of my control. I'm giving away my power to other people who I think might have the answers. This might be people, literally a person, a teacher, but it could also be a way of thinking, it could be a meaning making system, anything that I'm so obsessed with. So I keep like putting my hand in a fist, like I'm grasping on to it holding on for dear life, please give me the answer. When in reality, my fist shouldn't be clasp like that, it should be opened, open to receiving, open to hearing what is coming from within. And the truth of the matter is that certainty, it doesn't give us control. Us seeking an answer from someone else, is not the same as us actually having the answer. I can make something up, you could ask me a question about astrophysics. And I can make something up, I could give you an answer. I could tell you really convincingly my theory. But that doesn't make it 100% right. That doesn't mean that I can guarantee that this is how it's going to be even when we look at like science and what happens. We have these theories, and then we test them and then we learn more, and then we tweak them. And then we, like our knowledge continues to expand. And when I'm so focused on trying to control the situation by getting this one right answer, I'm limiting myself. I'm also limiting the people that I'm seeking the answers from. If you're wondering if you are getting into this mindset where you're really grasping certainty, see if any of these sound familiar. It might sound like I need to know more. I need to know more. I need to do more research. I need to keep Googling, I need to talk to more people, I need to listen to another book, I need to know more. It could also be like I need to follow someone else's path, I need to see how that person did it and then I can just reverse engineer exactly what they're doing and it will work for me. That's looking for certainty too. Again, not that it's bad to learn from people who have been where you're going. But when you try and make that as like the singular source of truth that will give you all the answers, you're just setting yourself up to be disappointed. Another sign of holding on to this idea of certainty is thinking it's just better to stay where it's safe. I don't know what's going to happen next but I know what's happening right now so I'm just gonna stay here, not move, not make too much of a fuss. That'll keep me safe. I'm wondering if one of these resonates for you. Whether it's a myth or one of these statements. Maybe it's the myth that certainty is possible, or that life is supposed to be linear, or that you have more control if you can just keep searching for certainty. Or maybe it's one of those statements, I need to know more. I should follow someone else's path. It's better to stay where it's safe. Which one of these resonates with you? And where in your life are you resisting this feeling of uncertainty? Is there a place where you can feel that grasping where you're just desperate for someone to give you a path and tell you exactly what to do? Where are you resisting uncertainty? I'll give you a couple minutes here to reflect and then we'll come back together to close it out. You're learning about this idea of certainty and that it doesn't totally exist, it isn't completely accessible to us but that doesn't mean that we don't try and seek it out. So sit with this for a few moments: where in your life are you resisting uncertainty?

Thank you so much for taking the time to reflect with me. I hope this was a useful way to get the wheels turning as you prepare for the year to come. And if you know you want to start your year with some perspective and not holding on to this idea of certainty, I hope that you will look into Camp Clarity. I would love, love, love to have you for those four days and four sessions. So you can find all of that information in the show notes. I will be back in your earbuds next week. We are continuing this conversation, there's some more great reflection to come. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you as always for your expertise. Take care.