In 1999, Julie Benezet was the new Director for a fledgling dot com called Amazon.
Her challenge was to figure out how to lease just the right real estate and buildings in just the right places, to help the company survive and thrive.
She had no idea how much space they were going to need, how many books they would be able to sell and ship, and how they will survive from day to day.
Now, she is on a mission to help people deal with the stress and anxiety brought on by the chaotic world. She is the author of the highly regarded book, The Journey of Not Knowing.
Part of the unknown is asking and being prepared not to know what people are going to say.
We need to learn how to be OK with the discomfort of that. This is true even if you feel like it is your job to be super-confident, in-charge, and in control.
You run the risk of missing what is actually going on because, at the end of the day, we live in a world of constant change. We are totally out of control. I mean, look at the madness of politics right now. We’re out of control!
But we have an opportunity to learn.
Julie’s ideas are refreshing and offer a badly needed roadmap about how we all can survive and thrive the problems we face and create a better future for ourselves and the people who rely on us.
Ten Ways to Overcome Uncertainty
- Embrace the Fear. Treat the scariness of the new as an asset, not a liability.
- Dream Up a New Plan. Pursue your dream to make things better.
- Jump In. Dive in and learn about the people your dream will touch.
- Take It Easy. Get comfortable with your discomfort with risk.
- Relax. If you feel uncomfortable, you are on the right track.
- Face Forward. Confront resistance to change, yours and others.
- Stay in Tune. Watch out for self-sabotaging defensive behaviors.
- Identify Your Purpose. Use it to fuel your journey through the discomfort of the new.
- Be Open to New Knowledge and Learn from Others. See every twist and turn of the journey through the discomfort of the new as a learning experience. Recalibrate as needed.
- Be Persistent. Never lose sight of the belief that the journey through the discomfort of the new can lead to something wonderful.
How to Lead in the Face of Divisiveness, Adversity, and Uncertainty
Julie identifies seven ways for leaders to face the future in a world of divisive politics, shifting expectations, and constantly looming unknowns:
- Your job is to lead your people into the future, not to stay stuck in the present.
- Embrace the fear of the unknown. Look upon the scary issues as an asset, not a liability.
- Define the purpose that will drive your people and organization through the discomfort of not knowing the outcome of new ideas.
- Accept failure on the way to success. Learn from every difficult lesson along the way.
- Recognize that human beings are messy. Learn to work with the difficulties they experience and help them overcome the challenges being faced.
- Be open to new knowledge and be critical of your self-knowledge, knowing that the right information can be hard to attain.
- Know when to move forward, even when you realize there is more to know.
Julie focuses on helping people deal with:
- The fear and discomfort with the high level of uncertainty arising everywhere, from the post-election anxiety we are all feeling to the devastating fires and the relentless changes occurring in our places of work, communities, and personal lives.
- The interpersonal behavioral nonsense we are seeing and how it applies to individuals, families, organizations, leaders, executives, and their followers.
- Why the way people are coping with chaos is not pretty or productive, and how they can change the game to make things better for themselves and others.
Her new book, The Journal of Not Knowing is a standalone workbook that guides readers on a mission of self-discovery using the principles of her highly regarded book The Journey of Not Knowing: How 21st Century Leaders Can Chart a Course Where There Is None.
Julie Benezet spent 25 years in law and business, and for the past 16 years has coached and consulted with executives from virtually every industry. She speaks and writes on leading and living in the 21st Century and decoding human behavior in the face of change. She earned her stripes for leading in the discomfort of the new as Amazon’s first global real estate executive.