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Caitlin: (00:01)
Hello everybody. Happy middle of the week. Happy Wednesday. So good to see you. Thank you all for being here. Hi Andrew. Make sure you guys are saying hello. Even if you’re watching the replay. I really love to know that you’re here. It’s, you know, that you’re watching. I’d love to hear your questions and your feedback and this stuff only makes sense if I know that it’s of use to you. So, so let me know that you’re here and let me know if this is helpful. Today we’re going to be talking about uncertainty, really the art of uncertainty. So what to do when you don’t know what to do. And so, uh, today’s going to be one of those, one of those shares where I talk a little bit about myself as well because uncertainty is definitely the greatest battle I’ve been facing personally for the last, honestly, three years.

Caitlin: (00:57)
Um, so, you know, I’ll start with just this kind of acknowledgement that I think that society wants us to always have it figured out, right? Like, we’re supposed to be able to present a story of ourselves and a story of our lives and our decisions and our plans that seem like we’ve got it all figured out, that we know exactly what we’re doing, what we want, where we’re going, how to get there, that, that, that make it waves. And that whenever we don’t have that, um, we often feel bad about ourselves. Like something’s wrong with us. Like something, you know, why can’t I figure this out? I should be able to know what I want or I should be able to know how to get it or whatever. And um, it’s often a point of societal shame to not know what you want or not know how to get it or not know when it’s gonna come if you are getting it right.

Caitlin: (01:54)
Um, we like to hear instead of this is what I’m doing, this is when my results are going to come, this is what they’re going to look like. And we praise people for that. We said, wow, you’re such a bad ass. You’ve got it all figured out. Right? But the reality is that, you know, even for the people who’ve got it all figured out all the freaking time supposedly, right? Um, there’s, they don’t really, because life could change in an instant. They could lose somebody that they love, uh, that night and every plan would change, right? Or they could slip and break their leg and every plan would change or they could fall in love and every plan and intention would change. Right? So we make these awesome plans for our lives and there’s, there’s importance in making plans, but the facts of the matter is that, you know, in all truth, we don’t know what’s going on.

Caitlin: (02:48)
What’s Andrew saying, Andrew saying some level of uncertainty helps develop avenues of possibilities that leads to more confidence. Yeah. Andrew, that’s definitely true. And I’m going to get to that. And, and, and really that’s such an important point cause we’re going to be talking about a lot like relishing the benefits of uncertainty and what you’re talking about, allowing it to open your mind to greater possibilities is definitely one of the benefits of uncertainty. But before we go there, I want to talk a little bit more about, you know, I’ll talk a little bit more about why still uncomfortable with uncertainty, right? So as I shared, number one is that there’s this societal bias for people who have it all figured out. But where that actually comes from is an inner imperative based on the chemistry of operates. So your brain hates uncertainty, there’s a psychological term for it called, I think it’s aversion to uncertainty or aversion to ambiguity.

Caitlin: (03:47)
Ambiguity. It’s been studied for years and years. And what they say is that your brain has the same exact reaction to fear as it does to uncertainty. So what that means is that, you know, if you are getting chased by a lion and you feel freaked out because of that, or if you’re about to give them a huge presentation or apply for a job that you really care about or go on a date with somebody you really care about or whatever, anything that might bring up fear. It’s the same level of vulnerability. It’s the same physiological reaction that you feel in your body as when you’re dealing with uncertainty, right? Because uncertainty for many of us actually translates to to fear because we don’t know what the outcome is going to be and because we don’t know what the outcome is going to be, we don’t know if we’re prepared for that outcome.

Caitlin: (04:37)
And if we’re not prepared, we start getting all kinds of self doubting. What do I need to do? How do I need to change? How do I need to skill up, level up, change up, build myself, whatever, whatever. Right? So we, we deal with uncertainty as a fear and that happens on a biological basis. Your, your Amygdala, which controls the fear center of your brain and says, you know, a racing heart or a tight throat into your body when you’re experiencing fear, um, that is the same exact experience that comes up when you’re dealing with uncertainty, right? And it’s not just in these like shorter instances of maybe not knowing what to wear tonight or not knowing how this first year, first date on this app, this app at this person is going to go, or whether or not you’ll get the job, but bigger things of uncertainty, right?

Caitlin: (05:23)
So one of the things that I’ve been struggling with a lot in terms of uncertainty has been, where I’m going to live, uh, in my life. Right? So I, as most of you know, I got married two years ago and ever since I got married, both of us, you know, we always knew that, my partner’s going to come to New York after we got married cause he didn’t live here before, but that this was not our final destination that, you know, in, in, in a broad scheme, New York is not great in alignment with our personal values and we want to cultivate in our lives. And so we’ve been having a deal with this question of where to move, when to move. Um, and, and it’s been so challenging because my partner came here and he didn’t get a job for months and months and months despite his best efforts and all this other stuff.

Caitlin: (06:16)
He had moved to the country. So it’s hard to get a job in a new country, in a new city without a track record. Right. And so he was struggling to get it. And so we didn’t know how much money we were gonna have. We didn’t know if he was going to get a job that was going to let him travel or if it was going to actually make him stick here. We didn’t know if my career was going to take off in certain ways as it ended up doing that made me stickier in New York. Right. We had all of these questions and we also didn’t know where we wanted to move. We had a broad idea that we wanted to move to a place that was more community focus has much more access to nature, kind of city living, but more lifestyle approach to wellness.

Caitlin: (07:03)
In reality. We didn’t know though what that meant. Is that another country? Is that Bali? Is that, you know, is that Austin, Texas? Like where are we going? What are we doing? We didn’t know any of these answers. And I think for me personally, my favorite anti-anxiety strategy, my whole life had been pretending to be super certain, right? Being like, this is my plan, this is the path and this is what I’m doing and all this kinds of stuff. And that always felt so comforting to me. So to not have the answers, to not know where we were gonna go or what we were gonna do or what we even really wanted was really deeply unsettling. And the more that I just kind of let these unsettling feelings just kind of like happen inside of me without facing them directly, they just got worse and worse because I started being like, okay, well what if I want to start to have a family?

Caitlin: (07:57)
I can’t if I’m going to move, I better plan soon because you know what of my biological clock runs out and like all this crazy, crazy overthinking because of uncertainty. Right? And again, I know because this is my line of work, that this is natural. All the overthinking is part of the anxiety that comes as a natural physiological and emotional response to uncertainty. And yet still I didn’t stop it in its tracks. I just kind of let it fester for a little if I’m being really honest. And so eventually it got to this point where I realized that like I was reflecting on the last six months of my life and I was thinking about like what’s been the highlight of my life? And I realized that in the last six months I’ve been so immeshed in planning the next step and trying to think about like what’s next?

Caitlin: (08:50)
And like figuring out when are we gonna, when are we going to know about his job and what are we going to know about my income? When are we going to know about what kind of cities? And I was so in meshing kind of plans for the future that I literally had no idea. But the highlight of my last six months was cause I wasn’t present in my reality here in New York. And that’s a vulnerable thing to admit as a life coach and that’s a vulnerable thing to admit as a human that not only am I uncertain about my future, but I’m also incredibly, I also was using that as an opportunity to rob me from the present. And so the moment that that kind of realization set in, I was allowed, I allowed myself to sink into the uncertainty in a really deep and heartfelt sense.

Caitlin: (09:35)
And so if you’ve been hanging out with me for a while, you know that I teach and preach that all of your answers reside in this kind of intuitive intelligence in your heart. And it’s a matter of learning how to access and work with that. Right? And so, so I wanted to share with you what, you know, this quote that really resonates with me that gets my head in the right space of how of the art of handling uncertainty. And how I started to change my approach to it. So, um, it’s a quote by Rilke and poet. Um, and he says, be patient towards all of the unsolved questions in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. And he says, do not seek the answers which cannot be given because you would not be able to live them at this point.

Caitlin: (10:27)
And the point is to live everything. And so, like I said, I was unable to be living everything. I wasn’t living my life here. I wasn’t living the future that I’m going to cause I couldn’t figure out what that was. So I was just not living anything at all. Right. And so Rilke’s point to live everything really helped me change the way that I was dealing and with the uncertainty of my life. And so the first major change that I made was to just really change from expectations to plans. So what that meant was I said, okay, well I want to be able to figure out where I’m going to be in six months so that we have a little bit more stability and a little bit more grounding. Here are the questions that I need answers to, number one, money, number two, where I want to live.

Caitlin: (11:24)
Number three. And I went through all of those and then I just said, okay, well I’m going to make plans to get answers to those questions, right? And so I went ahead and I scheduled every single month traveling to different cities so that I could learn about what cities I like to live in, right? I, I had to make plans on, okay, well within these cities, let’s say my husband never gets a job or he doesn’t get one for three years, which was probably not going to be the case. But even if is what’s still a possibility for me, right? And I make plans about how to start to get answers to my questions and I dropped out of the expectation of needing to know or needing to get those results or those answers immediately. And I just created those plans and followed through with them. And so slowly but surely those plans brought me into a knowing I went to Denver and boulder and I and I felt out those cities and I was like, you know what?

Caitlin: (12:25)
I love that here, but this is definitely not for me. There’s not enough diversity here. There’s not enough. There’s a few things that really did resonate with me in terms of longterm living. That was really helpful. Right. It also, you know, boulder was a disqualifier in terms of, you know, my, the kind of precarious income situation that I had with my husband. So I was like, great. All right, cool. So, so I’m learning just based on my plans. I don’t have an expectation of when the final answer is going to come, but I’m allowing myself to learn by having plans of slowly gathering more information, which will allow me to come into a place of sound judgment inside. So that’s the first step. I mean, so how can you replace your plan? Your expectations of I need to know the answer, I have to get the answer.

Caitlin: (13:08)
It has to come now. It’s supposed to come tomorrow. I should already have this too. With what plans can I put in place to know for sure that I’m getting closer to my answers. Sometimes that’s developing a habit. Sometimes that’s going out and just finding information that sometimes it’s visiting places, sometimes it’s having conversations with people, but you can always make plans to help you advance into more information. Right? So that’s number one. The second thing is to trust your ability to cope with whatever the freak comes your way. Right? And so like I realized that when I was freaking out about, oh my God, well what if I don’t know where to move? What if I never figured out what if I liked it and that and what if he does get a job here and then we’re stuck in New York and, and I actually don’t want to be in New York.

Caitlin: (13:53)
And it was just this crazy, crazy sense of feeling like doubting my ability to just be happy and cope with whatever came my way. Right? And if I look at my own life, I mean hell, Caitlin, right? I moved to India all by myself and figure that out and started a bit of business that took off and you know, scale the world and I dealt with devastating think depression and anxiety when I was 14 years old for for almost a decade. Right? I’ve dealt with the, the loss of deep, deep friends, right? Yeah. I have dealt with circumstances that are tremendously more difficult than what I’m dealing with now. And so I’ve dealt with heartbreak and so and so have you. Right? Of course. So have you, I don’t reflect this because I know it’s unique to me. I reflect it because it’s a universal principle.

Caitlin: (14:43)
We’ve all had to live a lot of life. And so the uncertainty of the circumstances that I have, like, oh, what should I be here? Or should I be in Seattle or should I be here? I don’t know, but I can trust myself to figure it out and make the most of it any way based on my track record. Right. And so can you, Hey Jim, nice to see you here man. Hey Jamella, thank you so much for saying this is practical. So good to know what’s helpful for you. Um, and also I love seeing you on these lives. Uh, and so, you know, this is, so what I started to do is just really kind of say, okay, you know, how can I actually expect myself no matter what the [inaudible] the answer is to be happy, to be capable of making myself fulfilled everywhere I go anded I allow myself to be like, all right, well if it’s New York, this is what it’s going to look like.

Caitlin: (15:30)
And if it’s somewhere else, this is what it’s gonna look like. And if we have this much money this was going to look like, and if we have this much money, this is what it’s gonna look like. And I just started coming up with solutions, right? Rather than staying in the confusion of like, well, what if, what if, what if? What if? And I said no more. What if it’s just how can I, if those are the circumstances, right? And your, again, the intuitive wisdom of your heart always knows these answers. You just have to ask yourself in a way that’s filled with deep confidence in your ability to figure things out rather than doubt in your ability to make things happen. So that’s the second thing. Um, and then the third thing that I really wanted to say is, and of course this is what I was sharing, I missed out on so much was appreciate the uncertainty, right?

Caitlin: (16:18)
As, our poet Rilke said that love the questions themselves, right? So what, what, what questions was I asking? I was asking what places are going to make me flourish? Wow, that’s such a cool question to be asking. Well, what is flourishing? What does it mean to me? How can I flourish in this very moment? I love that question, right? What other questions was I asking? How much money are we gonna make? And then I started loving that question. Well, who cares? Right? Like, what’s that? Hey, Aparajita good to see you here. Um, and, and so I started asking myself the loving those questions, right? Like, well, how much money is it going to help? Well, why is that important to me? How is this going to affect my life? Right? What do I think about money? I just started loving the process of those questions.

Caitlin: (17:04)
And then I started saying, well, considering I can’t have the answer right now, it’s not coming. It’s not showing up. It’s not here. Right? And as Rilke said, it’s because I’m not ready to live those answers yet. Right? And so, because I know that those answers are not here and they’re not going to be here for a little while. That’s okay. I’ve just decided to appreciate the deep vulnerability and uncertainty of what is, I don’t know how long I’ll be in New York. So I am savoring every damn moments with the people and places I love most of them here. I don’t know how long I’m going, you know how much money I’ll have next year if it’s going to be more or less, and so I’m just savoring every penny and enjoying it. Is that right? I don’t know. So many things and one and the final part of appreciating the unknowingness is that I realized that when I started sharing this vulnerability with people being like, I have no freaking clue what I’m doing.

Caitlin: (18:01)
I’m like, Oh, where do I go? What do I do? How should I prop up? Blah, blah. Right. Like when I started dealing with, with that question and sharing that openly, every single person I shared it with said, you know what? Me Too. I have no freaking idea where it’s not about where they live necessarily, but there’s some shared experience there. They’re showing like, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get pregnant this year. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to stay with this person long term. I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to forgive my father. I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able, whatever it is. Right? And like I don’t know if I’m ever going to get healthy. I don’t know. We don’t know. And I think that once again, right, coming back to this being the center, that the pathway of the heart, right?

Caitlin: (18:44)
This is what we’re doing. We’re doing heart-centered, that deep connection of vulnerability of saying, while we both don’t know, allow both confused while we both need a freaking hug to comfort ourselves right now in these moments of deep uncertainty, that relishing in the deep connection of that vulnerability made it even richer, made me even more grateful for this time in my life. So I really want to encourage, urge you to do the same thing, right? To think about how can this vulnerability and this uncertainty be shared with other people rather than kept inside. Cause I need to manage this image that I’ve got it all figured out and I got all the answers. No you don’t. Neither do I. Neither does anyone. I promise you. If they say if they show up that way, it’s a farce. Right? And so none of us have all the answers to just relish the deep connection that is actually only available in vulnerability when we have it all figured out.

Caitlin: (19:41)
When you’re perfect, when you’re on top of the world, when you got everything going according to plan, nobody wants to be your friends cause you’re intimidated as hell. Right? And so and so again, that comes back here to say, you know, when we’re imperfect, it’s not only or when we don’t know what’s happening, right? It’s not only an opportunity to love those questions and just to kind of live in the moment moment with joy and appreciation for what’s here because we don’t know where we’re going or what’s happening next. But it’s also a deep, deep opportunity to share your heart and create meaningful connection with another human being who’s probably going through the same thing. That is always the gift of uncertainty. So I hope this was helpful for you. Bye. As Andrew was saying, trust yourself. Not all avenues we hope to happen happens.

Caitlin: (20:28)
However, life guides us through change. Exactly. Andrew, like that’s the point, right? It’s like, of course we can trust ourselves. Of course, we can believe that. Whether it we get the job or we don’t get the job, or whether I move to Timbuktu or whether I stay in New York whole life, right? Or whether you, we make twice as much money next year or lose all our money cause the recession hits. We will trust ourselves to be happy and to figure it out and that that is the key to being able to calm that anxious physiological response that happens when you start getting in a hurried mind. Do you know the answers? Love the questions of the questions. All right. My loves. Thank you so much for joining. I hope to see you very soon. Namaste