When your brain is saying, “Danger, Will Robinson”

There was a clear theme running through my conversations with clients this week.

See if you can guess what it was.

👉🏻 One CEO had hired a new COO. Would they work well with other members of the leadership team? Be respected by country managers?

👉🏻 Another CEO had to let go of a senior VP and take over their responsibilities. How much extra work would this create? Would this affect team morale?

👉🏻 A third founder is pregnant with her first child and wondering if her team is ready to handle clients when she leaves to give birth in August.

The common element?

Uncertainty.

It’s the nature of the world we live in, of course. But for entrepreneurs, the ability to embrace extreme uncertainty is critical.

And yet,our brain does not like uncertainty.

It triggers our most primal survival instincts.

As soon as there’s any ambiguity — the CTO says, “You’ll see what I mean…” — our brain sets off the threat response: “Danger, Will Robinson!”

And it goes on a quest for certainty:

  • Rushing to make a decision (“fight”)
  • Searching for more information (“flight”)
  • Avoiding action (“freeze”)

Doing what you always do gives psychological “relief” in the moment.

But it also produces mediocre results and creates an insidious ripple effect as people around you imitate, or react to, your behavior.

So how do you “embrace uncertainty” when your brain is freaking out?

By creating a sense of control — from a place of intentionality, not reactivity.

That’s what I did with each client. Here’s the process:

  • Pinpoint the fear. (It’s usually one or two things, not 17.)
  • Identify options. (There are always at least three.)
  • Clarify the next step. (Not the next 10 steps.)

Then we come up with a plan to monitor the situation and course-correct.

Now, instead of being driven by fear, they head into meetings with a clear head.

They know exactly what to say (and not to say).

They’re feeling calm and in control.

And, more than anything, that grounded presence is what inspires teams to walk through fire for you.


When you’re ready to level up your leadership, here’s how I can help :

I offer a cohort-based course that helps founders turbo-charge their leadership communication skills. Learn about Evolving Faster HERE.

I offer 1:1 executive coaching engagements. Schedule a call to learn more HERE.

Let’s work together to make your vision a reality.

With a strategic game plan and some discipline, it’s simpler than you think.

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