Thriving Through Uncertainty: Practical skills to navigate burnout and decision fatigue

Careers workshop

How would you describe your experience in 2021 thus far? Do you feel tired and scattered in this era of global uncertainty? If so, you’re not alone. The effects of COVID-19 are hitting hard, and sadly they’re unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

The causes of this situation are complex, yet our response can be simple – to deliberately invest in our ability to thrive through uncertainty. This requires a shift in approach and mindset, including focusing less on what to do, such as ‘just meditate’ or ‘plan ahead’, and more on how we make sense of problems and choose our responses. It also has to be practical, and tailored to your unique circumstance and ambition – whether you want to excel in your current role, change careers, juggle multiple responsibilities, stay healthy and safe during COVID-19, or a combination of the above.

This four-part experiential workshop series is an opportunity to tackle this challenge head on, and cultivate your ability for decision making and taking action on sticky and complex problems. You will not only leave having made progress on your unique experience of uncertainty, you’ll also develop your ability to navigate burnout, overwhelm and decision fatigue in 2021 and beyond.

What have past workshop participants worked on?

In this program, you will choose a specific topic to work on. Here are some examples of what past participants have chosen:

  • Improve decision making at work and in personal life
  • Increase confidence and reduce anxiety when taking action
  • Improve response to complex challenges
  • Develop new habits (productivity, health, communication)
  • Navigate career changes and conflicts at work
  • Increasing productivity and shifting towards a growth mindset

The workshop begins March 16, 2021 and ends May 11, 2021.


Early Bird: until March 12th, 2021
UBC Alumni: $75
General Admission: $85

After March 12th, 2021
UBC Alumni: $100
General Admission: $100

Register Online

Questions? Please contact

Course Overview

Workshop 1: Identify and Assess
Identify a situation or challenge that you want to make progress on during the workshop series. Explore two core frameworks that will be used throughout the workshop series – systems thinking and complexity theory. Design a simple reflective practice to bring awareness to what contributes to your specific situation or challenge.

Workshop 2: Designing and Running Small Experiments
Explore how uncertainty, burnout, overwhelm and decision fatigue are complex challenges, and design small, safe-to-fail probes (small experiments) to gain insights and make progress on the specific challenge or situation you’re working on (see “What have past participants worked on?” for examples).

Workshop 3: Self-Awareness and Systems Thinking
Use self-awareness and systems thinking to supercharge small experiments to address the root causes of your challenge or situation and create greater leverage for change and learning.

Workshop 4: Sustaining Change
Refresh and crystalize key insights for your personal approach to change, and check-in on your progress. At this point, you will have made progress on the situation or challenge you’re working on and may find it valuable to adjust your focus or amplify what’s working. The intention is to leave having developed a clear set of practices that you can use for any complex problem you may face in the future.

How it Works

This workshop series consists of four 2-hour online sessions delivered once per two weeks. During class, you will learn new concepts, have opportunities to engage with classmates and the instructors, and participate in reflective exercises.

Dates for live workshops*

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 – 8:00-10:00 am PST
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 – 8:00-10:00 am PST
Tuesday, April 13, 2021 – 8:00-10:00 am PST
Tuesday, May 11, 2021 – 8:00-10:00 am PST**

*You must attend all live workshops as each session builds on the previous one. Due to the nature of the program, there will be no make up workshops and they are not recorded.

**There is intentionally a four week gap between workshop 3 and 4. This is designed to give you time to put what you learned into practice.

Between each workshop you will:

  • Run your safe-to-fail probes
  • Track your progress and reflect on learning
  • Meet with an accountability partner (remotely)

A prerequisite for this program is to watch the webinar “It’s 2021…Now What? Simple Habits to Boost Productivity and Navigate Uncertainty.” This recording includes an introduction to the core ideas that this workshop series is based on.


What is the time commitment?

3-4 hours per week in total. In addition to the 2 hour bi-weekly online workshops, you can expect to invest another 1-2 hours. This includes working on your safe-to-fail probes, tracking your progress, completing reflective exercises, and meeting with your accountability buddy (remotely). Please note there is a four week gap between workshop 3 and 4, and you will be tasked with continuing your small experiments in-between.

What is an accountability buddy?

Each person will be paired with someone from the course who they will work with for the duration of the course outside of the classroom. The main task is to meet once per week (remotely) to share about your learnings and challenges, and provide support to each other. You will also be given discussion questions. Many people report this as being one of the most valuable aspects of the workshop series.

Is live participation required for all workshops?

Live participation is required for all workshops. Each workshop builds on the previous one and there will be no makeup workshops. The workshops are highly interactive and it’s where you’ll get a lot of value out of the program. The instructors will not just be sharing new concepts, you will have ample opportunities to engage in exercises and work with other participants.

What are safe-to-fail probes?

Safe-to-Fail Probes are a proven method for approaching complex challenges. The method was developed by Cognitive Edge, the creators of the Cynefin Framework (a conceptual framework specifically designed to support decision making in complex situations).

What kind of setup will I need to participate in the live workshops?

You will need a place where you’re able to talk openly and be on live video. You will need a computer or device with audio and video capabilities, and a reliable internet connection. We’ll be using Zoom to facilitate the live online workshops.
If you have any concerns about accessibility, please contact

Will I be required to purchase textbooks and/or other materials?

No purchase of textbooks or additional materials are required. You will be sent handouts in a PDF format that we recommend printing before each session. The handout will have space to complete exercises during the workshops.

About the Instructors

Cole Nakatani, BCom’11

Cole Nakatani, BCom’11, is a social entrepreneur and educator with over ten years of experience designing and facilitating transformational learning experiences for hundreds of university students and professionals. Cole co-founded Ideahack Digital in 2011, a web development company and Hydra Learning Labs in 2016, specializing in curriculum design, facilitation, and training. He has worked with Canada’s top entrepreneurship hubs including MaRS Discovery District, e@UBC and RADIUS SFU to deliver innovative educational programs online and in-person.

Cole is a certified Integral Coach® and has worked with individuals in various positions and organizations from startup founders to managers and social enterprises to public companies. A common thread in all of his work is to build new capabilities within people so they can be more productive, deliberate, and engaged in their work and life.
Cole is also a frequent guest lecturer with the UBC Sauder School of Business. He co-founded Commerce 486M in 2014, an integrative capstone course for senior students, and played a key role in piloting and scaling Commerce 101, as a senior student, to be an innovative ‘big picture’ course designed to illustrate the importance of diverse topics in Commerce. Both courses continue to thrive to this day.

Outside of work, Cole enjoys exploring ways to expand his edges, whether it be multi-day meditations and fasting, freediving deep below the surface, or trail running with his flat feet through BCs old growth forest.

Mark McCoy, BCom’06

Mark McCoy, BCom’06, is an unapologetic generalist – social entrepreneur, strategy consultant, facilitator, and coach – with a passion for understanding and working with complexity at the level of individuals, organisations, and large-scale systems.

Mark has led innovation, strategy and execution, and change transformation initiatives in his work with startups, scale-ups, Fortune 500s, and on multi-stakeholder systems change initiatives.

Mark is a certified Integral Facilitator® and recently spent a year on research sabbatical studying complexity theory, systems theory, developmental psychology, and their applications to organisational design and personal development.

Mark is a founding partner at The Adjacent, an Organisational Design & Effectiveness consultancy based in London. The adjacent works with progressive leaders across a range of industries in the public and private sector.

Beyond work, Mark is an avid reader, enjoys biking the streets of Vancouver, New York, and London (or his living room during lockdown), and perfecting homemade pizza recipes.

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