Understanding Negative Capability: How Being Comfortable With Uncertainty is Your Greatest Asset as an Entrepreneur

The atmosphere of collaboration and teambuilding can feel uncertain and ambiguous at times, causing it to be overwhelming and challenging for many people. Which is part of why the discomfort of collaboration can unfortunately lead many people to avoid it all together. Luckily there’s a solution.

There is a concept called “Negative Capability” that was initially coined by Poet John Keats when describing writers like Shakespeare and artists like Picasso who were able to work within high levels of uncertainty and doubt, and even find a way to delight in it and produce incredible work.

Keats used the term to describe one’s ability to accept not having an immediate answer, and being willing to explore how something could evolve before a clear outcome appears.

This concept not only applies to writers and creatives, it applies to business, our personal struggles, and even our collaborative relationships too. 

So we have put together a quick explanation of how negative capability can welcome curiosity, focus, and resolution in your life as a collaborator.

Regardless of industry, this skill can help you boost your team building and collaborative processes exponentially and all you need to do is look within yourself.

What Negative Capability Looks Like In Action:

Negative Capability is the advanced ability to accept uncertainty, mystery, doubt, and ambiguity. Often in entrepreneurship, we lack a template, or instruction manual to follow step by step for our ideas. Yet we still manage to enjoy the journey and many of us even have a tendency to delight & relish in the sense of feeling lost. That’s in essence, part of the experience of utilizing Negative Capability.

To understand a bit better let’s discuss the difference between Passive & Active Uncertainty and how it will shape our understanding of Negative Capability.

Passive Uncertainty:

  1. “Fight or Flight” impacts decision making
  2. Typically comes from a place of ignorance or general insecurity
  3. Supports ‘Decisive Action’ that at times can irrationally and irritably reach beyond fact and reason.

Active Uncertainty:

  1. Uncertainty that comes from being without a template to follow
  2. The ability to delight and relish in the sense of feeling lost
  3. Supports ‘Reflective Inaction‘. Which just means to resist defaulting back to defensive routines when leading at the limits of one’s knowledge.

Negative Capability deals more in the realm of active uncertainty. Which is the uncertainty that comes from lacking a template to follow, and from paving your own way in life with little to no direction to help guide your way.

This type of uncertainty is common in team situations and collaborative environments because there are many minds with many different ideas and perspectives, causing a lot of ambiguity.

As a creator, ambiguity is just part of the game and that’s exactly why it’s important to learn how to cooperate with one another.

Which we can do that by suspending critical judgement until the end result & staying flexible to many possible outcomes rather than being overly attached to an early vision of success.

How Does Practicing Negative Capability Impact Your Life & Work?

  1. You’ll feel less hurried and chaotic.
  2. Increased curiosity & desire to discover truth.
  3. Enriched decision making capacity.
  4. Provides an alternative solution to managing stress. anxiety, and overwhelm.
  5. Establishes a mental foundation for navigating collaborative disagreements.
  6. Reduces pressure of fallout from missed expectations and misunderstandings.
  7. Makes a more flexible environment for communication, opinions, ideas & feedback.
  8. Infuses mindfulness and reflection into the work life processes.
  9. Encourages exploration, experimentation, innovation, and adaptability.
  10. Ensures that you don’t prematurely jump to conclusions that may appear more certain, but are in fact suboptimal.
  11. Helps your team remain focused and excited even when a project may be far from its end goal.
  12. Gives you the chance to appreciate fully and experience wholly the things that to others, often appear to transcend logic.
  13. Unafraid of being wrong or making mistakes because you see these as opportunities to grow and gain knowledge.
  14. It encourages the mindset that there are things that reason, alone, cannot always adequately explain. 
  15. Pushes you to remain flexible to many possible outcomes rather than being overly attached to an early vision of success.

So How Do You Practice Negative Capability?

  1. Disregard the need to analyze and control every detail when working within a team, or collaborative partnership.
  2. Practice regularly thinking and playing with new ideas and perspectives without judgement.
  3. Always tell a story with your ideas and vision, because in reality you are the only one who can actually see your vision. Which means you’ll need to get really good at storytelling and really believe in your story too.
  4. Push yourself to explore situations where you are less knowledgeable, experienced, or comfortable and let yourself sit in that uncertainty. Use this to challenge yourself to adapt, grow, and gain knowledge about something that you may not be super familiar with.

Negative capability is a universally accessible mental tool that can help us all grow and continue a smooth transition into a more flexible and collaborative work culture. 

2020 absolutely catapulted this transition far ahead. Which is exciting, but now that the chaos is winding down we are able to continue the transition more mindfully and make sure that all of our collaborative efforts prove to be impactful and well thought out.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic or how to overcome your own collaborative roadblocks:

Reach out to us anytime, or read the book linked below that was used as inspiration for this post!

Concept of “Negative Capacity” excerpted from book: HBR Review : Guide to Managing Strategic Initiatives : Lead with confidence, overcome roadblocks, and put strategy into action.

Mastering Collaboration Without Hesitation

When evaluating collaborative environments, we see that if we are able to combine the right people, with the right skills and values, and the time to build trust and communication, teams can accomplish truly incredible things.

Collaboration is a hot topic, and is hugely important to the success of so many initiatives. Yet, there is still plenty of hesitation around collaboration, so we want to address it head on.

Collaboration isn’t a yellow brick road to success. You will most certainly have to navigate some hurdles along the way. Many of us have overcome a fair share of hurdles to embrace collaboration in our own professional or creative lives.

Collaboration comes naturally to some, and naturally more challenging to others. 

We each face different hurdles when it comes to mastering our own collaborative contribution. Yet, there are some difficulties that all individuals and teams regularly face when striving to cohesively work together.


Fear is pretty relevant in all areas of business but especially when it comes to collaboration. We don’t often express our fears around working together, but our actions often prove the fears to be true. Fear of collaboration is an unsubstantiated fear, but it still has a negative impact on the effectiveness of countless teams.

Many fears around teamwork and collaboration are rooted in fears that our environment won’t value our ideas, visions, and opinions.

Fears are very personal, and take personal initiative to overcome them. When you shift to embrace your fears and contribute confidently within your team, you can open up a whole new world of possibilities.

Common Fears Around Collaboration

  • Fear That Someone Will Take Your Idea
  • Fear That Someone Will Make Something Better Than You
  • Fear That You Will Fail or Be Wrong
  • Fear That You Don’t Know Enough to Contribute
  • Fear that You Will Take the Blame if the Project Fails
  • Fear That Our Knowledge and efforts will be less valued than others.


We can begin to welcome and empower collaboration by changing our mindset. 

Our ability to work coequally within a team can be disrupted when we are so set in our own perspective, that we cannot even recognize someone else’s viewpoint in its entirety.

As humans we can easily think that we are the best, and that we know best, when in reality we may not. Which can cause us to hoard our knowledge, ideas, and skills from others.

A common misconception about collaborating is “if I collaborate or discuss their ideas with someone, the other person will steal my ideas and run off into the sunset with them!”.

While this “could” happen, it probably won’t. Because, even if someone does run with your idea, they could never bring it to life in the special way that you can.

This is why we have brand loyalty and are able to enjoy brands like Nike, Adidas, Reebok, and more all within the same “ business sphere”. Each coexisting to provide the most value and best products for their customers in their own unique ways.

Yes, they are competitors, but they each have their own audience and loyal brand supporters. This seems to be working out just fine for each of them, so don’t worry too much.

Remember nobody can do you (or your ideas), like you can.

Don’t hide yourself and hoard your knowledge from the world because that really serves no one, not even yourself.

Team Culture

The culture and organizational structure in which your team operates can have great impacts on its collaborative success. When a company’s culture is rooted in fear, competition, or politics then the potential for effective collaboration will be limited. 

Fear based work cultures are most harmful to employees and their quality of work. This type of culture isn’t conducive to the sharing of ideas, and often leaves employees feeling alone and invaluable in many collaborative settings.

It’s been proven that when a team focuses on tackling a “common enemy” or shared challenge outside of the organization, it helps bring the team closer together and motivate them to work harder and more cohesively.

One of the biggest signs of fear based work culture is competition within the team itself.

Competition should only ever exist outside of a team. Competition within collaborative environments tears teams apart and makes accomplishing success more challenging.

Lastly and maybe most importantly, commit to recognizing contributions and celebrating successes within your team. This ensures that everyone feels valued and supported within the team, and those team members will be more likely to maintain or improve their contributions in the future with confidence.

Tips To Master Collaboration Without Hesitation

  1. Make a safe space for the wisdom and feedback of others.
  2. Embrace the uncertainty of collaboration by giving everyone permission to fail.
  3. There are actually no foolish Ideas. Many of the greatest ideas began as foolish ideas.
  4. Prioritize acceptance over agreement. Acceptance is always the best way to come to a fair and effective agreement.
  5. Collaboration thrives when every person involved can contribute with acceptance, clarity, and support.
  6. Collaborative ideas are collectively inspired, and they stem from something much greater than ourselves. Avoid becoming overly attached to your ideas when collaborating. They are not yours to keep so it’s okay to release them and see what happens.
  7. Recognize efforts regularly & celebrate success as often as possible.

Come work on your collaboration and networking with a community of likeminded business owners and entrepreneurs at our weekly BOSS Board Meet Ups! More Info Here.

If you would like to learn more about Project 3810, our community, and how we are equipped to serve you, click here.

Finding Balance In The Hustle and Grind

Finding Balance In The Hustle And Grind

It’s a common misconception that being more busy often equals more success. Humans have a natural inclination to compete. Which is partially how the modern hustle and grind culture was born. 

Hustle and grind have taken over the way in which we work, and it’s still a hot topic whether or not that’s a good or a bad thing.

Guilt for grinding too hard. Guilt for not grinding hard enough. These are opposite forces that pull us. That opposing pull is because these two sides are interconnected and interdependent.  

Balance isn’t getting rid of one extreme or the other. Balance as I see it, is letting these opposing forces guide us as we navigate our life and work so that the scales don’t tip too far in either direction. 

With that definition of balance in mind, I think we can all agree that it’s good to live the most balanced life that we can, in whatever way that means the most to you.

So how do we find a balance within the extremes of the hustle and grind culture that we have grown so accustomed to?

1. Find Your Own Grind

Everyone is different. We each vary greatly in things like personality, discipline, mental stamina, creative inspiration, passion, motivation, adaptability, etc. and each of these play a role in shaping the way that we “grind”.

A healthy and balanced grind for me, may leave you feeling drained, frustrated and burnt out by the end of the week. Or for example, let’s say that you are passionate about something and could easily hustle 14 hours a day for it, yet someone else may hustle for 4 hours a day towards their passion and be equally as satisfied and/or successful. 

One of the best ways to ensure you are following your own grind is to be internally driven, not externally motivated and you can do this by simply following your passions and intuition and staying true to your core values

Find Your Rhythm & Flow

Make the commitment to get familiar with your natural work and rest rhythms, and then find a flow with them rather than feeling pressure to grind all of the time even when it may not be in your best interest.

Once you are clear on why you hustle and what you want in this life, you can begin to fall into a natural rhythm that your grind can align to.

This rhythm is how we work, how we interact, how we prioritize, and make important decisions. This is how people will know if they can work well with us or not. It’s also how the universe aligns complimentary people and opportunities with you, and deters the wrong people and opportunities away from you.

If we disregard our natural rhythm, we run the risk of aligning ourselves with the wrong people, the wrong opportunities, and even the wrong grind. 

Hustle culture often puts us in a position where we grow accustomed to operating on autopilot, causing us to disregard what may actually be most healthy and practical for our own lives. 

This is why knowing your rhythm, priorities and values are super important. 

When those things are clear to you, they will be clear to others and the universe will be able to work for you, and it won’t always feel like it’s working against you.

2. Hustle For The Right Reasons

Avoid burnout, confusion, and resentment by being crystal clear on why you are hustling in the first place.

If you are just hustling for the sake of the hustle, then you probably  won’t reach success that’s fulfilling or sustainable long term.

Hustling for the wrong reasons is like hustling for a lottery ticket. You won’t even know that it’s going to work, and statistically it’s just more likely that you won’t win.

If you hustle for the right reasons though, you are not only more likely to come out on top but you’ll also more than likely be happy with the view.

When we grind for the good, we have our values, priorities, and goals clearly aligned and our hustle follows their lead. Which in turn let’s life put people and opportunities along our path that are a healthy match.

That’s really the key. Because the relationships that are built around our passions are what help us expand, reach new heights, and make a real difference.

It’s also why it’s so important that we grind for the right reasons and stay aware of ourselves and the impact that we want to make in the world before we go hustling our lives away working towards a thing we may not even want.

Effects Of An “Unbalanced” Grind

  • 1. Decreased Focus, Creativity, and Efficiency 
  • 2. Lack of Enjoyment or Fulfillment in Your work
  • 3. You Often Feel Insignificant When You Aren’t Working 
  • 4. Unclear Work & Life Boundaries
  • 5. Exhaustion and Inconsistent Sleep
  • 6. Inability to Prioritize Time For Yourself or Time With Others
  • 7. Can Lead to Chronic Health Conditions
  • 8. Can increase stress, anxiety, and depression

Advantages Of A “Balanced” Grind

  1. Welcoming to Healthier Relationships & Opportunities
  2. Evidence of Balanced Priorities and Time Management
  3. Improved Productivity, Innovation, and Creativity
  4. Less Frustrated, Stressed, and Irritable
  5. More Understanding and Patient
  6. Enhanced Mental & Physical Health
  7. More Comfortable Saying No or Taking Time Off
  8. Increased Priority to Self Care Activities 

Each person focuses, flows, and views success differently. So what is balanced to me may not feel balanced to you and that is okay.

Even though hustling is good and respectable, it’s even more important to learn how to develop a balanced and fulfilling hustle that enables you to work for your goals and even allows your goals to work for you too.

Achieving a work life balance doesn’t have to be so difficult to achieve. It just takes patience and time to understand yourself, in order to be confident to grind in accordance with your natural rhythms. 

5 Reminders for a Healthy Hustle

  • Always allow yourself time to rest and time to enjoy life as you hustle and grind. 
  • Ensure that you enjoy your time when you are grinding by grinding for the right reasons.
  • When we grind for the wrong reasons we risk burnout, unaligned choices, resentment, and regret.
  • Avoid burnout and confusion by being crystal clear and confident about why you are hustling in the first place.
  • Balance won’t look like a balanced scale all of the time and that’s okay. Follow your natural rhythm and find your own flow.

If we normalize and encourage a healthy hustle, we can continue to grow our capacity to do meaningful work, make stronger connections, and be more successful in our endeavors in the future.

How Professional Communities Make Work More Fun & Effective

Professional Communities

One word that has been used a lot in 2020 was “unprecedented”, which last year absolutely was in many ways. 

Presented with a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, intense social division, expansive economic strain, and a deep desire for change, it’s safe to say that we are all eager to move on towards a brighter future.

Plus, as businesses across the globe aim to innovate and adapt to these new challenges, we have been pushed to change the way that we work entirely as well.

Though through it all, we have learned and grown so much. 

We have learned to effectively work together even while separated, we’ve rearranged our priorities to be more productive and more fulfilled, and brands have grown more innovative in their solutions to a vast array of challenges. 

Yet even with infinite innovation, challenges will always remain in the world of business. This is why it’s more important than ever that we work together.

As more and more people start to nurture and grow entrepreneurial ideas, the need for support and community grows as well. 

Coworking spaces, mentorship arrangements, and incubation programs are known to be super beneficial communities for growing your business successfully, plus they are pretty fun too.

How a Professional Community Can Make Starting Your Business More Fun & Effective

  1. Provides the opportunity to collaborate: Having a group that you can reach in order to discuss challenges, work towards solutions, and create impactful projects can help you move forward faster and more effectively.
  2. Gives you the feeling of being part of a team: Starting and scaling a business can be lonely at times, so having a group that you can connect with is priceless.
  3. Adds productive socializing into your working week: Word of mouth is still the best marketing tool around. Whether attending an incubator event or working in coworking spaces, this type of community can offer valuable networking and socializing time to your schedule. 
  4. Access to Extra Brain Power: Being within a community that’s filled with like-minded individuals that are eager to connect and bounce ideas around can boost your success potential in unbelievable ways.
  5. Provides the opportunity to establish new relationships: When working as an entrepreneur or solopreneur it’s easy to stay in your own little bubble. Causing us to miss out on lasting connections. This is why having a community that can challenge you to grow both personally and professionally is so important.
  6. Gives you other people to celebrate your wins with: Lonely success is still a success. Though honestly, it just feels better to have people celebrate your successes with you.

Professional communities like co-working spaces, coaching programs, collaborative environments, and incubator programs offer us the chance to grow our professional and personal lives cohesively.

“Business and personal successes are really very intertwined and the things that make us successful in one, also make us successful in the other.” – Vicki Langford, Director Project 3810