Are we in week thirteen? Or week fourteen? I feel moderately confident it’s week 100. But really, who knows? And does it really matter? Because for many, ticking off the days isn’t the wisest choice. All I know for sure is (yes Oprah!) this is F’d up!!
Full disclosure, my mood is a little on edge. I’m on day four of a migraine attack and it is forcing me to pull all of my tools for self-leadership out of the toolbox.
Because, let’s face it, in the last few weeks most of us are experiencing a foundational shakeup. Regardless of your age, economic status, geographic location, ethnicity, religious affiliation, level of enlightenment, COVID 19 has shaken the foundation of some, if not all, that you have learned to lean on, trust and come to expect from life. And then more importantly, more foundational to society, the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement picked up energy that will change (God, please let us change) our very essence.
Yup, like I said, this is F’d up.
Since this started we have been forced to reevaluate our relationship with food, friendships, finances, fitness, fun, family - our foundations, our fundamentals!
So, what are we to do as we create new foundations, new constructs to provide us mental stability, hope and purpose? How do we ensure we do not become reactionary but rather stay visionary?
We go to the toolbox of course and start some deep reflection. Here are some of my favourite items in my toolbox:
Vision: Your vision is your GPS. It’s about creating the impact you want rather than letting experiences impact you. What kind of impact do you want to have? Picture it, feel it, focus on it. Vision isn’t about what the environment will let you create, it’s about wanting something so bad you create it IN SPITE of the environment.
Wake: How do you want to feel as you are in action? How do you want others to feel as a result of your actions? What is your intention?
Action: Aligned action, not just action, is about employing conscious choice. Will the actions you choose move you toward your vision and what wake will you leave as you create your vision?
School bus: At any given moment, on any given day, who is driving your bus? Let’s face it, we all have multiple personalities in our head. Well, they are really just versions of ourselves. Who is driving your bus at this moment? Is it your professional, calm, collected, rational self or is it your temper-tantrum throwing, irrational 4-year-old self? And how is that affecting your vision and wake?
WWMOD: What the heck does that mean? For me it means, when I am not feeling my best, I ask myself what would Michelle Obama *do? Because for me she emulates grace under pressure, intelligence, strength, kindness, authenticity and and and. I often ask my clients to pick someone whom they admire, to list those qualities and in times of need, ask yourself what would x do? *Among my client list Michelle Obama is picked most often as a person who is deeply admired.
Ritual: Create new rituals that will grow your commitment to your vision. Willpower wanes and ritual serves to strengthen our commitment to that which we wish to create. Rituals are actions that are going to help you through the hard times, times of doubt and overwhelm, which brings us to the next thing in our toolbox…
Gratitude: Practice gratitude every day. Make it a part of your daily ritual. First thing in the morning, when you wake up, thank the universe, God, your family, yourself, etc. and do it again at the end of the day before you go to sleep.
As I said, these are not all the tools in my toolbox but they are definitely the tools I use most often. When you started on your leadership journey no one ever promised the ground would be smooth the whole way. As we move toward our purpose, as we passionately create our vision it is wise to expect obstacles and it is beyond wise to prepare and fortify yourself when facing these obstacles (and man is this pandemic one mother of an obstacle).
So set yourself up for success, GET A TOOLBOX!