Certainty Anchors

“The insight phase of the creation process is big, potentially disruptive, and raw, fraught with tragic flaws and wild opportunities in equal measure.”  -Jonathan Fields Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance

In education and society as a whole, we are facing huge shifts. Shifts that are disruptive, chaotic and turbulent. Uncomfortable shifts that often have the ability to upend how we think and do. Shifts that are fraught with anxiety, uncertainty, ambiguity, trepidation as they are most often veiled in the unfamiliar and the unknown. Shifts that make us question our strengths and highlight our weaknesses. Shifts that make us question our skills, abilities and competence.

Shifts that peck away at the comfort and dependability of our routines, rituals, habits that we’ve put into place. Routines, rituals and habits that we count and rely on each and every day.

And very often, we are not only not shielding our people from these shifts, we are asking them to lean into them wholeheartedly. We are asking them to embrace these same shifts that invoke moments of panic, dread and disequilibrium.

Shifts that will continue coming, often with an unbridled fervor forcing us forward into this new and unruly future. Shifts that we have to prepare our people and our educational organizations for…for the changes that they will continue to unleash upon our organizations and across society as a whole.

For which we have to be aware, that we will ultimately suffer in making sufficient progress forward, if we only approach these shifts with an (all risk-no return) proposition.

If we are going to expect people to embrace these shifts, to step wholeheartedly into these unknowns, we are going to have provide some sort of safety net. Some form of respite from the chaos and turbulence initiated by these shifts.

Or what Jonathan Fields refers to as “certainty anchors.” Which he defines as, “A certainty anchor is a practice or process that adds something known and reliable to your life when you may otherwise feel you’re spinning off in a million directions.”

“Certainty anchors” provide some calm in the middle of the storm. A place of reprieve and rest in the midst of the chaos and turbulence.

Or as Jonathan Fields adds, “They provide just enough of a foundation to allow you to free up that part of your brain that needs permission to run encumbered in the quest to create the greatest possible something from nothing. Some of the most creative people in the world are attached to rituals and routines in their everyday lives.”

Change is hard.  It is hard on people and on organizations. Inability to acknowledge this and to provide positive ways (certainty anchors) to pull your people through these shifts, will stifle and stagnate the change processes.

And will eventually wear down your people and your organization.

“There’s something powerful about working hard, then stepping away and doing things that calm your mental chatter enough to create space for the big ideas to arise.”  -Jonathan Fields ‘Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance’


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