Living With Uncertainty


Ten years ago, I got married. I left everyone I knew behind to move to another country where I only knew one person – my new husband. I left behind a successful career, built upon decades of hard work to come a country where no one knew who I was, and where I had to start over. So, just like everyone else, I’ve experienced uncertainty.

Any change we experience in life – a switch in our routine, a new opportunity or a new way of doing things, triggers fear in our brain. If you want to get technical, the amygdala is the reason we are afraid of things unknown to us or outside of our control. Every time you move away from your safe and familiar routines or encounter any type of uncertainty, your amygdala will trigger fear and anxiety. How we deal with it is a very personal thing.

For example, I’m afraid of heights, but I have still bungee jumped off bridges and skyscrapers. I’m an extremely weak swimmer (I failed swim class), yet I’ve been out of my comfort zone on a jet ski (I fell off and sprained a muscle trying to climb back on), and I have been kayaking – where the instructor judged me in a very disdainful manner for briefly freaking out and panicking that I was about to drown. I wasn’t really in any danger of drowning, but when you’re uncertain in life you magnify the slightest risks.

In every case, whether bungee jumping or quitting my job, I learned something that I apply to all aspects of my life. You can call it my “what I know for sure” moment: Life is uncertain, and that uncertainty brings a tremendous amount of fear which will chase you into open and unknown spaces, but with the right approach and an ability to stay focused on seeing the opportunities before you, the experiences you originally greeted with fear can lead to some of the best breaks in life. There is beauty to be found in open and unknown spaces.


Sonia Layne-Gartside is a dynamic and results-oriented global Consultant, Master Trainer, Instructional Designer and Strategist. She partners with leaders to achieve business results by improving the performance of people and the systems they work in. Her work involves developing leaders, creating targeted learning solutions, instructional design, leading change management initiatives, coaching executives, undertaking business analyses and developing strategy. Sonia is the author of the book Workplace Anxiety: How to Refuel and Re-Engage. Her website is



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