Living with uncertainty in a maybe world

Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.‘ ~John Allen Paulos

In April 2012 I left the security of a substantive contract as a midwife, to focus on completing my Diploma in Holistic Life Coaching topped up with some locum midwifery practice.  Prior to that, in November 2010, I’d resigned from a well-paid senior post to return to clinical practice.  I decided life was too short to take the pressure the post was having on me any longer, took a pay cut and returned to shift work – I wanted to keep my working life a little simpler and less stressed.

My husband and I have been planning a move back to my home country of England since we returned to New Zealand in November 2010, and that’s been the goal we’ve been focussing on.

That dream is almost coming to fruition now …

Being brave or stupid? Embracing uncertainty

In 2002, after a nine-month sabbatical to Gisborne, NZ, I was a week away from returning to UK.  I was consumed with fear for the future – I had little to go back for – no job, no home, no car, no money, but I did have my family.  A book caught my eye while shopping in Dunedin at a midwifery conference, called ‘Embracing Uncertainty’ by Susan Jeffers.  I recall it helped me enormously to let go of expectations and start to live in a ‘maybe’ world.

Maybe I would get a job when I returned, maybe I wouldn’t.

Maybe I’d have to live with my parents for months, maybe I wouldn’t.

When I went to NZ people said I was brave – I wondered if I’d just been plain stupid!  However, that first trip was a turning point in my life and I haven’t looked back.  In January 2005 I returned and gained my NZ residency, and in August that year I met my husband – he’d lived in Gisborne all of his life.

Now we’re both returning to UK to live ‘indefinitely, and Susan’s book has once again called to me.  As we plan our projects for work and home to the nth degree, I know it doesn’t mean it’ll always work out how we would like it to.

Contingency planning is vital, but it’s also empowering to just go with the flow and stop being attached to a certain outcome.  Now that’s a big challenge when the outcome we’ve been dreaming of for over two years is returning to UK, getting Barry’s UK residency visa, and buying another narrowboat to live aboard for ‘the foreseeable future’.

But I believe that we need to trust ‘life’, that what happens daily is for our highest good, and if we can keep an open mind and adjust our plans when things don’t work out quite as we’d imagined, then amazing opportunities for growth can occur.

I’d love to hear how life has given you opportunities for growth …

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?


I’m currently in the midst of many momentous changes in my life – personal, physical and professional, and have just re-read a book that conveys messages to me every time I devour it – ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ by Dr Spencer Johnson.

One of the many thought inspiring quotes in the book is ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’ 

Change can be scary, it entails moving away from the familiar, comfortable place we know, and have known, for a period of time.

Of course without change there’s no growth, and if you keep doing what you’ve always done you’ll keep getting the same results (and eventually you’ll run out of cheese –which is a metaphor for whatever you’re clinging to!).  For some people that’s how they choose to stay stuck – they don’t desire to move forward and prefer to live in that comfy closet, however uncomfortable it becomes – they are the ‘Hem’ of the story, unable to see the bright side or possibilities of change.

My question would be ‘What do you need to let go of, and what do you need to hold on to?’, in order to feel that you are making the most of this precious thing called ‘life’?

We all have our particular personal dramas or stories from the myriad of experiences that have helped to shape who we are, what we react to and how we behave.  Some of these are helpful.  However, most of them aren’t, and they’re the ones that rule our unhelpful patterns and beliefs.

As Eckhart Tolle says in ‘The Power of Now’:

“Many people are in love with their particular life drama.  Their story is their identity.  Their ego runs their life.  They have their whole sense of self invested in it.  Even their – usually unsuccessful – search for an answer, a solution, or for healing becomes part of it.  What they fear and resist most is the end of their drama.  As long as they are their mind, what they fear and resist most is their own awakening.”

One of the many beauties of Holistic Life Coaching, that I’ve personally found, and experienced with clients, is being supported to recognise when you’re living in and acting out your drama.   By raising that awareness, you can choose to let it go and move on in spite of the fear you may feel, knowing there’s plenty more cheese out there if we can shift our mind-set and be open to change.