I’ve spent most of the past few days with my guts vibrating.
My husband and I are buying a house — and selling a house. We’re moving from our favorite part of our favorite city, in the middle of everything, to nearly 10 acres in a town we’ve never spent time in. We moved here for the neighborhood and community. We’re moving there for the property alone.
The process of buying & selling has been an endless shit-parade of surprises, miscommunications, incompetence, and mad dashes for paperwork and extra funds (as part of the former 3).
So I’ve been thinking a lot about uncertainty. Because I’ve been living it:
We don’t know for sure that everything will go right with the new place till we get the keys.
We don’t know for sure that our sale will go off without a hitch, until we hand over our keys.
We don’t know for sure that we won’t regret handing over our baby, our beloved 1740s house, to someone else.
We don’t know for sure that moving to the country will do what we hope for us.
Neither of us have ever lived in the country.
It could all be a terrible mistake.
But we’re doing it anyway.
There’s an old acronym everyone should know: FUD. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Wikipedia defines it as a “disinformation strategy.” Usually it’s an active thing: Somebody deliberately attempts to sow FUD among a group of people — customers, for example.
But the truly scary thing is… your brain will use FUD against you.
With every decision, every choice, every fork you take in the road towards the future, potential you’s die a little death. Those potential you’s are willing to fight back, to fight for survival, to fight for the status quo. So FUD is a naturally occurring internal phenomenon.
I’ve seen FUD stop people in their tracks. They give up on their practice, their work, their business, their dreams. They let FUD talk them out of writing, sharing, pricing, selling, launching…
FUD is a powerful feeling.
But just because you feel something doesn’t mean it’s true.
Whenever I feel FUD, I let myself feel it, then bring my attention back to the facts of the matter: We did our homework.
We planned. We discussed. We reviewed. We weighed. We looked at what we might lose if we did — and what we would absolutely lose if we didn’t.
So yeah, some days I’ve felt absolutely certain about changing our lives: Blow it up! Move to the boonies! #hermiting forever! Of course everything will work out fine!
Other days, I’ve looked at Thomas (or he looked at me) and asked, Are we SURE we want to do this? What if it goes wrong?
The answer, of course, is: Nobody can know the future. But you can prepare, you can do your homework, and you can make your best guess. With confidence. At least, with confidence on some days. And on those other days you can still prepare, do your homework, make your best guess, and do the work anyway. Because even if you don’t feel it in the moment, you can trust yourself.
FUD is a fact of life. It’s common to feel FUD every time you try something new.
But you don’t have to listen to it.
You don’t have to it sabotage you.
Do your homework.
Then, when the FUD bubbles up, let yourself feel it, then turn your attention to all the things you’ve done to prove to yourself that you’re making the right choice.
And keep on stacking those bricks.