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Melissa Ng


July 7, 2013

Uncertainty Bubbles

July 7, 2013 | By | 22 Comments

When you’re getting into or doing something new, different, or scary, there’s no doubt that the uncertainty can feel uncomfortable…maybe even unbearable.

Uncertainty can turn everything you thought you knew completely upside down and make you doubt your every thought and move. Hang around with uncertainty too long and you might never take action. It’s often partnered with those nerve wracking question you’re all too familiar with:

“Did I make the right choice? Should I do this? Should I have done things differently?”

At the same time, uncertainty can sometimes bubble up new questions, insights, ideas, and perspectives. Looking back, I know it has for me, although I didn’t think so at the time. For instance…

Considering a Lumecluster website redesign after only just launching in February riddled me with anxious uncertainty.

At first, I thought it was just my perfectionist tendencies kicking in again. I know I usually over analyze, second guess, and pretty much waste an unnecessary amount of mental energy only to come back to my same old, original conclusions.

Only this time, I didn’t.

In fact, no matter how many ways I went about it, I just felt like Lumecluster was wearing all the wrong clothes. Clothes that I put on only because it’s what I saw so many of my peers wearing. Clothes I figured I could just get used to.

But it nagged at me because I knew it didn’t highlight my best—my illustrations.

I let this drag on for a good (awful) three months. This probably sounds silly, but I felt strangely bothered and angry with my website. I didn’t even want to look at it.

I didn’t even want to draw.

Losing touch with my love for drawing was a stab to the heart I couldn’t bear. Thankfully, this unsettling thought was just enough to get me moving again and really clear my mental clutter. Now that Lumecluster is looking like a happier place, you’ve got a much happier Melissa…and hopefully better art.

So, what do you think about the new site design?

And how do you feel about uncertainty? Has it helped or hindered you in any way recently? Let me know! 😀


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  1. I’ve had the same struggle with redesigns. For me, there are so many moving parts – and most I mess up. I’ve spent many days in tears. I’ve wanted to walk away and give up. But if you love what you’re doing – you just can’t give it up. You just keep going until you get it. And then the trend changes or you get bored and you start the process all over again 😉

    The blog looks great!

    • Thanks for your thoughts Carole! Looking back, I can say I’m thankful for those moments when I stumble. Definitely forces me to think or rethink what I’m pursuing and why I’m pursuing it. Let’s keep on learning to love the process more together ;D

  2. Nicole Stanley

    I’m currently struggling trying to find a new web designer bits completely hindering my progress…until I realized I must stop over analyzing this and get active in creating alternative means for people to shop in the meantime.

    • I know what you mean (and I’m a total master at over analyzing everything). It’s frustrating when we can let one issue seemingly bring everything else to a standstill. Sometimes, all it really takes is to just say “enough is enough” to ourselves and just get to it…at least that’s what it took for me.) As one of my fav bloggers James Altucher would say (btw, I’m paraphrasing and feel free to correct me if I’m butchering this), we need to stop our minds from time traveling to the past and the future. Be in the PRESENT because the world (and our life) will be a better place for it. I tell myself this almost everyday now 😉

  3. Sadly, I know exactly what you are talking about Melissa. You are not alone! You nailed it with your paragraph about your sense that Lumecluster was wearing all the wrong clothes. I totally hear you – we’re told that there are certain rules to follow with website layout, how to grab people’s attention, what you should and shouldn’t have on your site, how often to post new articles, etc. etc. But these rules just strangle our individuality and have the opposite effect to what they promise us. Good for you working through this uncertainty and trusting your instincts 🙂 And great job with your website design… I love it!!

    • Thanks, Ruth! Great point. It’s sometimes hard to listen to that gut when it feels like everyone has an opinion about how they know you better than yourself. And it’s easy to forget yourself, throw away your self-confidence and be swept up by other people’s “expert” opinions. Glad we’re in this journey together 🙂 Thanks again for your thoughts 😀

  4. Totally been there … wanting to change something but not wanting to deal with the uncertainty of the outcome. (In fact, went through the whole redesign thing back in December when I finally pulled the trigger.)

    Uncertainty is okay. I do pretty good with uncertainty. What isn’t good is the fear that can overcome uncertainty. If we have the courage we look that beast in the face and say, “Bring it on.” What’s the worst thing that can happen? Usually there is tremendous growth behind that opportunity. If you calculate the risks and it seems the ups outweigh the downs … and it’s a good choice, go for it.

  5. I wanted to add: the important thing to do is make some sort of decision about uncertainty … even if it is as simple as “I will re-evaluate in one week.” The thing is to get it off of your mind … otherwise it will haunt you. Make a decision after careful deliberation. That in its self can calm your worries.

    • Yes, keeping the steps clear, simple and actionable is probably the issue most of us struggle with, haha. Too often, we seem to build up the expectation behind the changes we want to make to such high levels that we frighten ourselves away from taking action. Thanks for the great reminder!

  6. Liz

    This post is so reflective of the process of change and how we can distance ourselves from our own quest for change. I just read Seth Godin’s blog and I quote, “People don’t like changing their rhythm. If you adopt the rhythm of stability, then change is a threat. Adopt the rhythm of change, though, and you’ll get restless right on schedule.”
    Congratulatios, you’re right on schedule!

    • Thanks, Liz. Love that quote! And Seth Godin! ;D

  7. For years I have kept in the background and spent a lot of time alone because, as I see it now, I have been able to control the situation. It’s easy to control things when there is just you, and that brings about a certain level of certainty and safety.
    Uncertainty has over the past several years kept me from taking action. I am a musician and for some reason I have a pretty deep fear of sharing my music but at the same time I have this incredible passion to play music. I have spent a lot of time collecting information, organizing myself, practicing, preparing, etc… now I have nothing else to prepare and so it seems like the only thing left for me to do is act!

    • Just curious, do you dream of one day playing/sharing your music for the world or do you love playing just for yourself (and maybe loved ones)? You’re not alone when it comes to these kinds of fears relating to public presentation (musician or not). My company is a music center so we often dive into this discussion with our teaching musicians and students 😀

      • Yes Melissa I do plan on sharing my music with a larger audience. It’s been fun playing for myself but if I am honest it is not entirely fulfilling, to me anyway. It has taken me a while to get to this point. For years I have tried to understand myself, and this issue has been the catalyst for me to delve deeper into my own issues. Ironically, I am not really afraid to give a speech or play some instruments in front of/for others, but something about singing causes this fear to come up. Anyway, I am about finished listening to this fear and I keep moving forward on the path to healing. Thanks for letting me share.

        • That’s great to know. Looking forward to hearing more about your journey and your music, Brian! 😀

  8. Hi Melissa, I’m currently looking for faith in what I do, package it into a workshop and set sail around the galaxy with it. I typed into this thing called Google and found you. Thank you for the words of inspiration and the desktop picture “unearth the heart in what you do” which now occupies my desktop.

    • Thanks, Samuel. Glad I could help in some small way 🙂

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