Are you certain that your business is going to be a success, whatever? Do you have general certainty in your life about different outcomes and, if not, what does that mean for the actions that you take or don't take? How does it affect you when you feel uncertain? Today's episode is all about the power of certainty in decision-making and I can't wait to share some of my thoughts with you. Let's dive in.
Welcome to Action Taker Tribe. I’m Jo Ingram and today it's all about the power of certainty and decision-making. For me, it's a topic that's really close to my heart, because I went through a big experience when my twin daughters were born.
The process to bring them into the world created an amount of certainty in my life that I've been able to draw on ever since.
After my first daughter was born, I was left feeling very, very uncertain - uncertain that the world was a good place, uncertain that I would ever succeed. I had nearly died in childbirth, my husband at the time had left me when the baby was eight months old, and I was reeling from the physical and emotional effects that all of that had on me. I doubted whether I was on the right career path. I didn't know whether I wanted to return to work. I didn't know how I would pay the bills. I just didn't know anything for the future. This had come as a shock to me because before this experience I had lived my life with a certain amount of certainty. I trusted myself and my abilities academically. I'd done really well. I moved to Tokyo after I graduated and had a phenomenal experience teaching English and traveling the world after that. I trusted and believed with all certainty that I would get a great job upon my return to London, and indeed I did. I got a great role in advertising, went on to meet my then husband and felt very comfortable and certain that I would just move forward in marriage, home ownership and start my family.
Although some of that did begin, certainly at that point after my daughter was born, my world fell apart. I went into therapy to deal with PTSD and the aftermath of that awful birthing experience. As a single Mum of a baby, it was a tough time. I just did not know what the future would bring, but something along the way did change, and that was that I became certain that I would complete my family. I had decided that having just one child wasn't how I saw my future, and even though I didn't have a partner, I just never doubted that something would change in my future and bring my family into my life. I envisaged it would be a larger family, but I didn't know how. What I did was just sink into all the things that I needed to do at that point and took it one step at a time.
At that point for me, it was about understanding what had happened in the hospital and what had gone wrong, and I pursued that with a passion. I became a real medical expert in prolonged second stage labour and started to really get into that space, because I believed knowing more about it would lead me in the right direction. At the same time, I started to think, well, how could I complete my family? I had had a hysterectomy at only 29 years old. I didn't know of anybody that had had a baby through surrogacy, but I zeroed in on that as the solution. In the UK it wasn’t something that's very common, but I knew that it was in California, so I set my sights on traveling in that direction and completing my family. When I met my now husband Ivan, who came into my life when my daughter was about two years old, it was already a seed that was planted in my mind that this was how I was going to complete my family. He had no children and was very open to having a family with me, both the daughter I already had and future children.
Together we embarked on a journey that meant seven years later we flew out to California and met our twin daughters for the first time - they are now 10 years old. I know I'm going back a bit in time, but I feel very strongly that if I hadn't had been certain that my family was going to be completed, I don't know if I'd have even started on that path, because it wasn't easy. It's easy to tell the story now, but my goodness, the ups and downs…from the time that the volcano in Iceland exploded and the ash filled the sky meaning all the planes were grounded, at just the time that my IVF meant I had to fly out to California and have my eggs retrieved was terrifying at the time. Indeed, the skies cleared, and we flew – it was just one of those things that happened.
The babies were born very prematurely at 29 weeks and we were terrified what the outcome would be. Yet here they are today, thank God, with full health. They're taller than average and above average academically, which for premature babies is not a given. I appreciate that every single day. Although I couldn't possibly have certainty about how each of those events would unfold, I was certain that it was my destiny to keep moving forward along that path. Now, whether or not it was my destiny, or whether I created my destiny through my sheer certainty, is anyone's guess, but the certainty aspect was incredibly important.
That's what I'm talking about today because certainty is knowing something without conscious reasoning – it’s just knowing that it's going to work out, that you're going to get there, that you're going to succeed and achieve your goals.
I can see the difference that certainty or lack of certainty causes people when they are building their businesses. When I talk to people who have immense certainty in the outcome, they find it easier to take action. Certainly, the opposite is true too. When I talk with clients who lack certainty about their own success, they feel really fearful about taking action. They doubt themselves. They worry about each and every action to the point where procrastination literally prevents their progress. There is such an element of trust that's involved with certainty and when we talk about trust, I feel like we really move into this area of trusting the universe - that idea of manifesting. Sometimes I wonder whether the certainty I felt about my twins coming into my life was, in a way, me manifesting it. Is it possible that I felt so strongly that it was going to happen, that the power of attraction brought it into my life? Well, sure. If you believe that it's absolutely possible. And as I learn more about it, I am of the belief that that's an absolute possibility. At the same time, I also trust myself - that believing it allowed me to take those actions because I trusted that if I kept moving forward, just one step at a time, the outcome would happen for me.
It's important if you're going to step forward like that to have a vision - to be really clear on what you want to create, because having certainty means that you know what you want and knowing what you want and having that vision is absolutely fundamental to having certainty. When I was working in my corporate job not too long ago, and very unhappy that the career path that I was on just didn't light me up and I didn't feel a sense of purpose, I knew that I needed to pivot. I knew I wanted to do something heart-centered, but at the time I didn't know what that was, and I was frustrated. I worked with my life coach at the time, and she asked me to look back on a time when I did feel certainty, and because of that certainty I was able to achieve those things that were most important to me.
Of course, my surrogacy journey was the first – and biggest - thing that came to mind and I created a mantra. I realised that for me, I made the impossible possible. Back then when I started to speak to people and say that I wanted to complete my family by surrogacy they told me I was crazy. Seriously. ‘How are you going to do that? You don't know anyone that's done it. You don't have any money to do it. You just haven't got a clue. Why on earth would you think that you could do that?’ The empowering statement for me, that I make the impossible possible, allowed me to create certainty around my career choice for the future. I didn't know the how, and that's an important element I'm going to come to again in a minute, but I knew that I could achieve it.
Certainly, if I could complete my family, I was sure that I could find my purpose; my purpose in my career, how I could help people and get paid to do it. I knew that the answer was out there somewhere. I just didn't have it yet.
I think by knowing in my heart that the answer was out there, and I would achieve it, allowed me to make decisions and keep stepping forward, even when I didn't know exactly how it would unfold.
Being open to the how doesn't mean that you're not certain; you can be certain that you will be a success, or that you'll build your business. You don't need to know all the hows.
Being certain doesn't mean that you know every single thing that's going to happen and every right decision. You don't need to. What you need to do is just take the next step.
Being certain also doesn't mean that you're not adaptable. We have to be open to change. We can have certainty without absolute clarity. You can feel certain and still need clarity on all different things. You can be certain that your vision is something that you are stepping towards every single day, whilst you're still trying to find clarity on the details.
Something really wrapped up with certainty is decisiveness. Are you someone who easily makes decisions, or do you find yourself often in procrastination? Both Bob Proctor and Napoleon Hill talk a lot about the power of decision-making. They say that successful people make decisions and stay on course. They found in research that the highest earners are people that make decisions more easily. We also know that as a society, we want leaders who can make decisions. Being somebody who can make them isn't something that necessarily we're born with, but it's something we can develop. The word decision has roots in the Latin word for incision, which means to cut off from.
Tony Robbins talks very eloquently about burning the boats – that when there's something you want, sometimes you just have to make sure that there's no turning back, because while we still think that there are other routes open to us it's easier to be indecisive. When you say ‘I'm building this business and I'm not giving myself an option to quit building this business’, then you're burning your boats and you're moving forward. You're not going to look back. It means you may not know how, but you're moving forward whatever. It's a drive and a power that comes behind you. It's the idea that where there's a will, there's a way and that's exactly what happened during my surrogacy journey.
No matter what barriers I came up against – and there were so many on just the IVF journey, let alone the actual birth of the twins and traveling out to California for the event, which we missed because they came so early. I credit my success in a large part to the fact that I overcame every barrier. It wasn't that it went smoothly. It wasn't that there weren't major problems, but every time one came up, we found a solution. Goodness knows we didn't know how for some of them, but yet, in retrospect, it unfolded for us. Even the stressful elements were part of our story. We're part of something that we can feel proud of.
So please know that even when things don't seem to be going right it's still part of your story, and by overcoming those blocks and barriers you're going to get stronger - it's going to help you continue to make positive decisions, even when things might feel difficult at the time.
So, as you're building your new business, if you're feeling wobbly, uncertain about whether you're really going to achieve the success that you want – perhaps you're overcome by analysis paralysis and you're frequently procrastinating - think of the times where you have overcome difficulties and prevailed in your life.
Think about your vision for your business and feel excited. Feel compelled to find a way to make it happen. Get obsessed and enjoy the process, knowing that if you continue to keep stepping forward, you can't fail to achieve success – and, if you do find it hard to make decisions, practice!
Research shows that people that practice making decisions and make decisions more frequently, find making them much easier. It's okay to be wrong. It’s OK to adapt. In fact, it's a more positive thing to do than to be stuck in indecision, not taking any action.
I'd like to invite you this week to create more certainty about building your business. What's one decision that you just haven't made? Choose that this week and make that decision, take the first step on that path. You have it within you. Find the certainty and know that you can do this.
Thank you for listening in and supporting my podcast. Please do subscribe and share it with anybody else who's building their business for the first time that would find this useful. Have an action-filled week. Take care now. If you find what I have to say helpful, but you're not yet on my mailing list, jump into the show notes and click on the link so you can receive my emails.