Managing Uncertainty

Recently I’ve worked with a lot of people with strong Achiever talents.  Naturally driven and hard-working, people with this particular CliftonStrengths theme thrive when they have a clear picture of a team’s or organization’s goals.  They can easily see the next milestone and are always striving to reach that milestone so they can move on to the next.  They can even help set the pace for their team through their own energy and by monitoring the team’s progress.  But what happens during times of uncertainty?

Many of the people I’ve coached with high Achiever talents work in the education field, where the pandemic has led to daily, sometimes hourly, changes.  Adjusting to sudden moves back and forth between in-person and virtual learning, changing quarantine guidelines, and being tasked to take on new (and sometimes unrelated) responsibilities, while being short-staffed and under-resourced has taken a toll on the entire system.  For those with high Achiever, these changes have been especially frustrating because they are regularly being asked to take on new assignments and set aside the milestones that keep them motivated.  

Two things have been particularly helpful for people navigating times of uncertainty and change, especially those with high Achiever talents:

  1. Reframe Success–When there is a chance that goals will shift or even change completely, it’s important to be clear on what success looks like from one day to the next rather than setting your sights only on long-term goals.  The beauty of Achiever is that every day feels like starting at zero with opportunities to fill your own bucket with each accomplishment.  Use that by reframing your thinking to what it will mean to be successful each day.  
  2. Celebrate Success–Those with high Achiever can have a habit of running to the next step without recognizing what has been accomplished.  This means when goals keep shifting, they can feel as though their efforts were in vain.  By taking the time to celebrate what you’ve done under your current set of circumstances, you will recognize the significance of small steps and better appreciate your accomplishments. 

While we are hopeful that the pandemic will end soon, we are all also probably familiar with Greek philosopher Heraclitus’ saying, “The only constant in life is change.”  In times of uncertainty, knowing your own strengths and how you can use them to adapt will help bring a sense of stability to your own life and those you lead.

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