Being a leader is an incredibly important job — tough yet rewarding, imperfect yet empowering. And, right now, it’s more than a little nerve-racking.

If you are in a leadership position during these tough times, you know exactly what I am talking about. There are so many unknowns. So much uncertainty. You may have started to question yourself about whether you’re doing the right thing.

With all of the uncertainty around reopening as well as the future of the economy, it’s a heavy load to bear — especially if you have people looking to you for answers when you just don’t have them. The thing is, you don’t need to.

Whether you have a team of employees or you’re a leader in your industry or community, here are some of my best tips for leading through uncertainty. But above all, remember this: You don’t have to be perfect.

1. Stay true to your core values and mission.

It’s tempting to focus on the news cycle or countless discussions in your industry’s Facebook group, but it can also make you feel overwhelmed by all the fluctuating, and often conflicting, advice. One of the best ways to break the spiral is to go back to your roots: specifically, your brand’s values. If you keep those close, you will always do the right thing for your business.

Think back to what got you started in this business in the first place. It’s the equivalent of taking a step back to live in your Why. One of the simplest ways to do this is in writing. Write down your core values and/or the vision statement for your business. Then think about how that can guide you through the toughest of times. You can also bring it to your team to discuss it together. This will center you and allow you to make the best decisions for your business moving forward.

2. Communicate with full transparency.

This is probably one of the most important steps in leading in the midst of this pandemic — especially if you have a team of people working with you.

Communication is the foundation for any solid relationship. During difficult times, you almost have to level-up on your communication. You need to be more vulnerable and honest than ever about what is really happening in your business.

What is the plan moving forward? What are the road bumps? What is the best possible solution for us as we stand here today?

These conversations will bring you and your team so much closer and it will allow them to truly trust you and your decisions moving forward.

3. Create mini-plans of action.

This is such a good one when you are feeling a little out of control, a bit stressed, or like you lack focus.  Creating what I call “mini-plans of action” will help simplify things for you.

Example: You have a list of 20 things to do this week but you don’t know where to start. I would suggest categorizing each thing you have to do into a group in terms of what’s most important and least important. Then you can create mini-plans of action for each group.

List out what you will do and how you will do it. Seeing it on paper or even in a note on your phone or your computer can make a world of difference.

4. Stay focused on the big picture.

Oh, this one. Staying focused on anything can be tough right now. If you’re anything like me, you start five tasks a day and somehow complete only one. And that is absolutely okay.

But one of the best ways to keep moving forward is to stay focused on the end goal. Doing this allows you to avoid getting distracted by things that really don’t matter. That could be the news or the media. It could be social media. Or the people you surround yourself with. Each of these can drain you of your energy and your focus unless you set boundaries.

While it’s important to follow along with what’s going on with the pandemic, protests, and economy, you need to moderate how much time to dedicate to those aspects so that they don’t derail your day. Don’t allow people, places, or things, to take you away from the big goal you’ve been working toward for so long. 

5. Be sure to also take care of yourself.

You have to stay positive and clear-headed so that you can make some really tough decisions for your business and your future over the next few weeks and months. Remember, you are the one that sets the tone for your business. You are the one that is steering the ship. That means that you will need time to rest and process, and you need to prioritize that time.

Add self-care to your calendar if you need to. And be sure to take a step back to live in your why — even for a minute each day —to keep you centered and grounded.