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Women Lawyers Division

Brexit and the positives of uncertainty

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Rachel Brushfeld , career strategist and coach at Energise LLClub and EnergiseLegal shares her thoughts on the positives of uncertainty following the Leave outcome of the UK referendum.

While on holiday in Sicily recently, I awoke to hotter than expected June air and the smell of smoke. Mount Etna the volcano erupting I thought.

It wasn’t.

My husband and I headed to the shop in the resort for fresh bread and there very close, beyond the fence was fire. The resort staff had fear in their eyes. Breakfast would have to wait. No need to use the toaster today.

Returning quickly to our apartment the phone rang. ‘Down to the beach now’, the voice said. We left immediately, without taking even water or a book.

At the beach we joined other holiday makers, standing on the sand, their faces covered with towels

From the beach, we could see fires getting closer, large trees ignited in seconds. We were not certain that they would be contained, whether we could return to our apartment that day, or indeed at all. Uncertainty cloaked the air like the smoke. Water was handed out and cloth to put over our faces. Parents with young children looked worried. Later we were told it was no longer safe to stay at the beach and we must move to the pool area higher up.

Our uncertainty about what was happening was magnified as the updates were given in Italian and German, but not English, and we were the only English! We finally returned to our apartment 8 hours later, our short ordeal, captives from the wild fires over.

I faced a day of uncertainty due to the fires in Sicily. The Leave decision means people in the UK face two years plus of uncertainty. Many people, businesses and the city dislike uncertainty. How do you feel about it?

One of the things I love about my portfolio career is its uncertainty. I have been self-employed for nearly 20 years with the occasional certainty of a contract, which I sought if I was going abroad for a month at Christmas. In the main, I have little certainty and I love the fact that it is always changing and I can influence its shape myself.

Uncertainty doesn’t have to be negative, it is how you choose to perceive it.

Positives of uncertainty

  • The feeling of surprise
  • Reduced chance of complacency
  • Extra vigilance and awareness of trends and their impact
  • Not boring
  • A sense of curiosity about what is around the corner
  • Focus on living in the moment and being present
  • Appreciating what you have now rather than thinking about what you might have in future
  • A sense of wonder and possibility
  • Being nimble and agile to respond to what changes
  • Being adaptable
  • Focusing on what you CAN influence not what you can’t
  • The liberating feeling of creating your destiny and being responsible for your own outcomes
  • Taking a creative, enterprising solution focused approach
  • Growing resilience
  • Adopting the attitude that you can and will work it out as you go along, rather than everything having to be perfect and certain

All these positive aspects of uncertainty are also a characteristic of having a portfolio career.

A portfolio career is like having ‘career insurance’, peace of mind for uncertain times. I love my portfolio career and helping people to create theirs. I have an ‘inner turbo boost resilience button’ which is activated when the going gets tough – I access extra resourcefulness to overcome challenges and see uncertainty as an opportunity not a threat.

Uncertainty does not have to be your foe, it can be a friend. A portfolio career is perfect for uncertain times, now more than ever.

Rachel Brushfield is a Talent Liberator, a career strategist and coach with 30 years’ experience specialising in Inspiring Portfolio Careers.

Visit the home page of Energise LLClub to download two free reports. The Personal Skills free report helps you to discover what your transferable skills are and Discover Portfolio Careers explains what a portfolio career is and whether it would suit you. To take stock of your career in our uncertain times, book on our Taster workshop on Saturday 9 July 2016.

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The Law Society’s Women Lawyers Division supports and advise all women solicitors and aspiring women solicitors, from trainees to retirees, no matter their area of practice.

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