This is the last in a series of posts on the 12 Transition Points.

The Universal Experience of Uncertainty

Uncertainty is the initial recognition that we are in transition. It is a universal feeling that we all have regularly, that tells us something is changing. We feel it but can’t put our finger on it. We may not have the skills or the perception to identify how we are in transition. If not, then we can become caught between what has been and what will be.

This is where our fear of change, failure, or difference comes to impact our lives negatively. We should then recognize our uncertainty and push forward to discover what we are to learn from this moment of transition.

The Universal Character of Transition

It is a core principle of the Circle of Impact that we are all in transition. It is not just a way of talking or a metaphor for understanding. It is exactly what we are going through in our lives and work.

A transition can be many things.

It can be a movement between two points of time that we simply call change.

It can be the disruption of our physical space by human interruption or environmental catastrophe.

It can be a change in a relationship that we experience as a loss of trust or betrayal.

Or, it simply can be a change of perspective where we see our life take on a different meaning.

This is the universal experience of transition that feelings of uncertainty expose.

The Universal Experience of Transition

A transition is a universal experience because life is change. Along with it comes uncertainty because none of us know everything we need to know at every minute of our lives. We live with the universal experience of serious gaps in our understanding of what is taking place in our lives at any moment.

The uncertainty that comes with a transition has an alienating feel to it. This is especially true if we are the first to sense a change. It is the exact opposite where everyone else sees the transition, and we don’t. Their change in attitude or behavior may be our first signal that we are missing something.

The experience of transition is growing in importance. Every day I talk with people about the changes that they are experiencing. The uncertain character of their experience affects them deeply. It strikes at their sense of confidence. This is why the Circle of Impact grows in importance with each person who applies it to their lives.

Here is how to begin to find certainty in the midst of uncertainty.

Begin with Your Purpose

Beginning with ‘purpose’ draws a boundary which creates a starting point for being certain. We want to narrow our perspective to know what matters to us in an essential sense. Here’s a way to know what is non-negotiable in my life. We call these values. However, they are more than abstract ideas. They are more ideas that have a concrete reality to them.

Three Steps to Being Purposeful

Step One: Recognize where you are.

  • We are in transition.
  • We are uncertain about where the transition is leading us.


Step Two: Identify the things about which we are certain.

Ask these questions.

  • What beliefs or values am I certain about?
  • Who am I certain I can trust and who trusts in me?
  • What is it that I do each day that I am absolutely certain matters?

When we feel uncertain, we feel anxiety. When we feel certain, there is a release of anxiety, and a peacefulness comes upon us. It is what we feel when we have taken the initiative that made a difference that matters. We feel, at the same time, energized and at rest.


Step Three: Describe the impact that you want to have.

Now you are prepared to be certain about what change you want to create. You are now less subject to change, and more capable of knowing where you want to go and how to say No to the uncertainties that may not lead to your making a difference that matters.

Embrace the Certainty of Being A Person of Impact

All the 12 Transition Points confront us with our self-understanding. When we are uncertain amid a transition, this is a reflection of self-awareness more than the transition itself.

To be a person of impact requires us to grow first in our self-understanding. We start here because the range and complexity of the transitions that we face in our world today can easily overwhelm us.

Therefore, begin small, focus on what is immediately within your reach, and learn to see where your real genius for being a person of impact is found. As always if you need to talk, you can schedule time with me at


Dr. Ed Brenegar is a Leader for Leaders working with individuals, their teams, organizations and communities who find themselves at a point of transition. Ed has developed an innovative leadership model called, Circle of Impact, that clarifies what the impact of their life or the work of their organization can be. From this perspective, impact is the change that makes a difference that matters. Ed. for over 30 years, has inspired and equipped people and organizations to practice this fresh understanding of leadership. All leadership begins with personal initiative to create impact that makes a difference that matters. Everyone within an organization or a community can, therefore, practice leadership initiative. In so doing, they turn what were once leadership-starved organizations into leader-rich cultures that make a difference that matters.

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