Uncertainty, Change and Making it Up as You Go

"....and what is missing is the world of the present, where every body is living it's small, short, surprising, miserable, wonderful, blessed, damaged only life." -Wendell Berry.

Since becoming self-employed a couple of years ago I have learned a lot about running a business: marketing, wholesale, production, time management, and the list goes on.  I have also learned a lot about myself, and have been forced to step outside my comfort zone and push myself.  It has been an amazing roller coaster of self doubt, growth, challenges and failures.

Being self employed is so different from a 9-5 job.  There are obvious pleasures (setting your own schedule, unplanned trips, afternoon naps, the satisfaction that comes from doing something you love) but there are also many challenges (uncertainty, lack of a steady income, working all the time, even when you're "not working").  I wouldn't trade it for the world, but there are definitely times when I wish I could just clock in and clock out at the end of the day, and pick up my check once a month.  

The uncertainty and generally messy sense of "making it up as I go" has been a particular challenge for me.  I am learning (again and again and again) that I want structure and a plan, and cling to ideas of how I "should" do something.  I also crave praise and someone to tell me that I'm doing a good job (I cringe as I write that, but it's true).  I can't stand not knowing what "the plan" is, which is a hard way to be in a world that is full of constant change.

This fall business was particularly slow for a few months, and that sense of uncertainty crept in.  It took all I had to not be a constant bundle of anxiety and stress (and sometimes I was:).  I scrambled and hustled to figure out how I could adapt in order to cope with some changes that were causing this drop in business, and worried that I was "failing" somehow, that I wasn't trying hard enough, or even that my work was total crap.  

I can't say that I've reached some place of total zen when it comes to uncertainty and change, but I can say that I am becoming more aware of my own habits, thoughts, and worries.  I am learning to be ok with small uncertainties, and to believe that it will all work out one way or another if I want it enough (and work for it).  It is a huge exercise in faith, and requires that I set aside all of that crippling self doubt and believe in myself.  You have to start somewhere right?

How do you deal with uncertainty and change?  With self doubt?  Especially those of you that are also self employed, I'd love to hear your stories.