Where certainty comes from

From a conference call this morning with friends around some big work.  We spoke about the fact that the work we are in – large scale systemic change – is plagued with doubt.  There is no certainty that what we are doing is the right thing, or whether it will even work.  But the project itself exists in a field of doubt, and as that doubt begins to pervade our core teams, the search for certainty becomes desperate.  People begin to focus on little things that are going wrong and a depreciative world view takes hold.

Doubt hunts us on the trail.  It picks up our scent and dogs our heels ntil we find ourselves running faster and faster away from it.  We expend our energy avoiding it and become exhausted and depleted.

In these moments what is needed is a stand.  We must stop running from it, turn around on the path and face it down.  We need to muster up the courage and confront the energy of doubt unless we wishe to have it erode our efforts from within.

Large scale change is never certain.  Our running from the doubts simply feeds the fear of that uncertainty.  IN the worse case, we become consumed by it and look outside of ourselves for confirmation that what we are doing is the right thing to do.  The truth of it is that the certainty we need is not outside of us.  If it is not within us, we will never find it.  We must generate it in the field of our work together or abandon our work to the poisonous cynicism that wants to consume it in the end.  At some point we choose to confront the predator or become its prey.


  1. This is exactly what I need right now.

  2. “Large scale change is never certain.” Indeed. But small scale change is never certain either. Ever tried to change your partner for example? The clue is that living systems can’t be instructed.
    And when there is doubt in the system you are hosting, it is needed that you see it is from the system itself and not yours. I learned this a lot in the work with systemic constellations, where you can sometimes clearly see that the pattern of the system you work with is spreading into the room. With large scale change, or with Life itself, or in intimate relationships: the only place where we find certainty – or alignment – is within.

    Thanks for all your blogging Chris!