I’ve just finished recording the audio version of another of my books. I’ve been thinking about how gruelling it feels, because the sensation tends to catch me off guard every time, like a mother who forgets how difficult childbirth really was, then opts to go through it all again.

Big milestones in your career, such as writing a book or initiating a large-scale project, are often an exercise in sustained uncertainty. For starters, no one tells you to do these things. You wade out into the mist boldly, with no assurance of success, because you’ve decided that it might be a strategically clever thing to do. It’s a long road and usually a lonely one. You produce in isolation, with no guarantee that any of it is working. And then at the end of a prolonged period of production, you finally show your work to the world: an editor, a professor, a judge of some form.

The degree to which you can continue to forge forward, without external reassurance, may just be the degree to which you distinguish yourself. If you’re in a long stretch of this kind right now, take heart; the feelings of insecurity are normal. And if you are about to launch into such a period, be assured, it will feel difficult and uncertain.

Yet the degree to which you can sustain this uncertainty, bear it and keep going anyway, is precisely what will distinguish you as a top expert.

So feel the existential angst. And forge right on anyway! This strange and lonely period could well be your making.

Douglas Kruger is a multiple award-winning professional speaker, focusing on innovation, agile culture and expert positioning. Books like his, ‘They’re Your Rules, Break Them!’ are bestsellers, informing his conference presentations for leadership delegates. Book him as the keynote speaker for your next conference at www.douglaskruger.com.