So said Anatole France, French writer and 1921 Nobel Prize winner for Literature. How true.
Last week’s EU referendum has thrown us, and the world, into a long period of seismic change and nerve-wracking uncertainty. I feel like a part of me has been left behind and now I have to change the way I see this country and my future.

Our natural human tendency is to resist change because it brings with it uncertainty and most of us don’t like uncertainty. The stockmarkets most definitely hate uncertainty and so do most businesses because it makes long-term planning far more challenging. Of course, the world cannot stay the same, we have to move on and embrace change. If businesses didn’t adapt to the changing times they would go out of business. Similarly for us as individuals, we can choose to do things in the same way we’ve always done and miss out on innovation, or we could welcome change and enjoy our personal and professional development. Some people call this the growth mindset.


As I mentioned above, I want to share 10 idioms related to the concept of change and uncertainty. I’ve used the situation of the last week in the UK and its effects on the world as examples of how you would use these idioms in context.

1. Vote with One’s Feet
As we saw last week, 52% of British voters chose to leave the EU. By making that historic decision to leave the EU, they voted with their feet. In other words, they decided to do something different. In business, you could have a similar situation with shareholders deciding to vote against the Chief Executive – therefore voting with their feet.

2. Wake -Up Call
That result was a decisive wake – up call for David Cameron when he realised how badly he had misjudged the mood of the nation. This prompted him to resign as Prime Minister because his wake-up call made it clear that things would have to change within the Government.

3. Turn Back The Clock
And while there have been calls to have a second referendum, we have to accept the democratic decision. We cannot simply turn the clock back/turn back the clock. What is done is done.

4. Move the Goalposts
One of the most disturbing elements of the post-EU referendum has been the way the Brexit campaigners have moved the goalposts. During the campaign, they claimed that the UK would save £350m a week by being out of the EU and that the money saved would go back into our National Health Service. The day after the result, they claimed that they had made a mistake and should never had made the statement!

5. A Leap In the Dark
So now we find ourselves having to make a leap in the dark, in other words, we’re jumping into the unknown. We have no idea what’s going to happen because the very people who campaigned to leave don’t have a plan for this country.

6. Up in the Air
Everything is up in the air. We have no effective leaders in Government, no one wants to make a decision or has the courage to make one. We are in a state of confusion.

7. To Be At A Crossroads
We find ourselves at a crossroads not knowing which way to turn. It is quite unbelievable and shocking. Where do we go from here?

8. Uncharted territory/waters
We are most definitely in uncharted territory/waters. We find ourselves in an unfamiliar/unknown situation. We’ve been in the EU for 43 years and we don’t know what life is going to be like outside the union. This makes markets and businesses nervous.

9. Go back to the drawing board
The truth is that we’re probably going to have to go back to the drawing board and start again with new trade agreements, new legislation and so on. Some experts say this that could take years and millions of pounds. Fabulous!

10. New blood
This whole situation requires new blood in the Government. We need new people with fresh ideas and perspectives to help us through what is going to be a roller coaster ride.

And there you have it, my dear readers. I hope I’ve given you a sense of how to use the above idioms in the context of the theme of change and uncertainty.Please share the post with your colleagues if you think they would find it helpful.

I am starting a one-minute video series on Business Idioms on Instagram. If you happen to be on that medium, please be sure to check my Instagram account out and tell me what you think. The videos will be shared on my Facebook Page and Twitter Account too.

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Ciao for now