12 Ways to Confront Doubt with Certainty

Ignorance never doubts. Times are always uncertain.

Uneasy leaders understand:

  1. Decisions impact others.
  2. Circumstances change.
  3. Failure is possible.

Boldness without doubt is tragedy waiting to happen.


When stakes are high, explore your doubts. Courageous leaders ask, “What if I’m wrong?”

Burying doubt, when you feel uncertain, closes minds.

12 ways to confront doubt with certainty:

  1. Go with your highest points of confidence, even if they’re low. Accept that confidence is never high in turbulent times.
  2. Focus on behaviors more than results. You can’t predict results. You can control behaviors. 
  3. Make short-term decisions. If you have reasonable certainty that you aren’t doing harm, keep going.
  4. Run a pilot program.
  5. Seek advice from someone who has already done it.
  6. Answer what-ifs, don’t just explore them. “This is what we’ll do if….”
  7. Express doubts and concerns in private with your inner circle.
  8. Explain how you’re preparing in public.
  9. Adopt a ‘learn and grow’ approach.
  10. Be decisive – stay open.
    • We’re taking action based on what we know.
    • If things change, we’ll reconsider.
    • When we know more, we’ll adjust.
  11. Admit mistakes and press forward. Pretending you were right when you were wrong makes you look like a fool.
  12. Make a list of everything that could go wrong. Write the likelihood that your concerns will happen. Expend energy on the big rocks.
    • Income will fall below expectation – 20%.
    • Personnel issues will get worse – 60%
    • You could lose your job – 5%

Things don’t go from uncertain to certain. They go from uncertain to less uncertain.

Which of these suggestions seem most useful to you?

What might you add to the list?