How Being in the Unknown is Helping Me Grow

Allison Burney

Why is waiting so hard?

I always thought I was pretty good at waiting.

I would characterize myself as a fairly patient, relaxed person. I always thought I was the laid-back type, who just sort of goes with the flow and doesn’t get too caught up or stressed out. My employers have always referred to me as somebody who adapts easily, learns on the fly, and is creative and capable of problem-solving under pressure. Flexibility and willingness to dive in and “figure things out” as I go have always been some of my strengths…or so I thought.

But that was before my world, as I knew it, was turned upside down.

Recent events have really thrown me for a loop, and I’m starting to see parts of myself that I haven’t yet been acquainted with.

The Surprise Call

A little under two months ago, I got a call that left me…well…speechless.

My bosses had recently decided to step away from the business I’d been working at closely with them for the past 15 years. They wouldn’t be involved next season, even though they’d already asked me to commit to being there.

On top of that news, I learned that the new General Manager of the place was going to be…me. (Only if I wanted it, of course).

The panic and fear began to rise up inside me instantly. My thoughts and emotions ran wild for the next few days, while I waited to hear of any new developments in the transition.

On top of being shocked and scared, I was angry. I felt blindsided by this sudden decision, like they’d kept a massive secret from me that I deserved to be in on. More than that, I felt totally unprepared and betrayed.

In my mind, I hadn’t learned enough to be capable of taking on this new position. They hadn’t properly trained me on this stuff. I didn’t know what they did, or what I was now supposed to be doing in their place. I was feeling the pressure of trying to fill their shoes, without knowing how to.

I was overwhelmed, frustrated, and hurt.

Let It Out

Of course, instead of opening up to them and talking about how I was feeling, I held it all inside and let it bottle up for the past two months, becoming more resentful and frustrated by the day, until it all finally fell out in a recent meeting.

And when I finally did allow myself to be vulnerable and open up, they just let it be.

They didn’t try to change it, or change me. They didn’t try to talk me out of my feelings, or tell me I was wrong. Instead, they just spent time with me to honour and acknowledge the thoughts and feelings I was having.

Most of all, though, they helped me see what I couldn’t before — that right now, there really isn’t that much to do. All I can do is what I can do, and what I already know to do. That’s it.

It’s all still in process, and it can’t be rushed. This transition is a living, breathing thing. It will grow and evolve as time goes by, and when the time is right, decisions will be made to move it forward. The people involved can’t be further ahead in their process than they are.

The nature of this business — and of life — is constant evolution.

The Best Advice of All

They left me with some other words of wisdom, too.

They told me to write the following words on a sticky note, and stick it to my bathroom mirror:

Every day, in every way, life keeps getting better and better.

I don’t know if it’s true. I don’t know what effect it will have on me, or on my life — but I trust them. When they share things with me, I listen. When they say it has helped them, I believe it.

So I did it, too. And now, every time I go into the bathroom and stand in front of that mirror, washing my hands or face, brushing my teeth, or brushing my hair, I see it. I read it, and it sinks in a little bit more. Every day in every way, life keeps getting better and better.

I look at that note, and something inside me shifts. I feel better, almost instantly. Seeing that message lifts my spirits and reminds me to trust.

I don’t know if it is really working. I don’t know if my life will get better and better. And the thing is, I can’t know. There is no way that that’s possible for me.

All I can do is continue to read the note every time I stand in front of that mirror.

The Unknown

It all comes back to being in the unknown.

So many things are unsure at this moment. There are so many factors that haven’t been worked out yet. There are many ideas and possibilities and opportunities in the pot right now, with nothing firm to stand on but my belief that it will be okay.

The question is, can I be okay with that — with being in the unknown?

Can I take this whole transition day by day and moment by moment, instead of jumping ahead and trying to figure out a future that hasn’t arrived yet, and therefore doesn’t yet exist?

Can I stay grounded, stay real, and just do one thing at a time, as it is presented to me?

What if all I can do is wait?

I saw a quote on Facebook the other day that read, “Maybe it won’t work out. But maybe seeing if it does will be the best adventure ever.”

I like how that sounds.

I’m going with that.

Photo: Author screenshot

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Writer & proofreader. I love travel, reading, coffee, and exploring nature. On a mission to keep learning, growing, and enjoying this adventure we call life.


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