This week I want to focus on my inner thoughts and how I am trying to stay grounded and lead while the world around me is changing at an unprecedented pace.
These days, my thoughts are sometimes harder to organize. Things are moving so fast I am forced to think in bite-size chunks. There are days I feel as though I don’t have time to plan and think, as I am spending most of the day, like many of you, acting. Acting on things as I understand them today, knowing full well they could change before the day is over.
Acting on things doesn’t mean I don’t make time to plan and think. It means I have to more directly capture my raw thoughts in the moment, instead of trying to organize everything before I speak.
I have found being deliberate about tactical and strategic decisions brings me a sense of calm in a world that is far from it. For now, I capture everything I am thinking in raw form — no editing and no judgment. I list it all and then I go back and focus on organizing it. If it is urgent and requires immediate attention, I do the best I can in the moment with the information I have and then I move forward with a decision. If I’m being honest, it’s a little unnerving. It has forced me to reflect and think about how I adjust my leadership style to fit this situation.
One of the first things I locked in was a daily meeting and more frequent communication with my leadership team. Every morning I send them a message. In that message I am trying to make sense of the new normal, provide direction and most importantly provide connection and space for all of us to talk openly and honestly about our fears and our hopes.
Don’t hide from your raw truth — capture it and share it
This blog has been a great outlet for me to share the things I’ve learned in life and leadership over the past 5 and a half years with you. We have a great process. It includes genuine content, brought to you by me or a myriad of guest bloggers we have been fortunate enough to have contribute. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know each post goes through a fair amount of editing before publication. However, we don’t live in an edited world — that has never been clearer. And I thought this week I will give you a peek inside my brain — unedited and unfiltered. No need to be scared (well OK, maybe a little). But I think sharing what I’m about to share will help everyone realize you are not alone.
We are all human — leaders are no exception. We have hopes and dreams and fears and concerns. Facing them and capturing them is the first step to conquering fears or making dreams a reality.
So allow me to share with you my thoughts as I went into this past weekend and began to plan for the upcoming week.
There is no guide or playbook for what’s going on in the world right now. There are no real best practices because we have not seen this kind of external change before. We are all trying things on and seeing how they fit. My approach has been to document everything I am thinking and feeling to see what emerges. So here it is in raw form, my journal entry from this weekend:
We have been working remotely for over two weeks.
My team and I have found many new ways to stay connected.
I may even suggest we are more connected today than we were pre COVID-19.
I am so proud of the way we have come together.
I love that no one has time for BS.
But it is still scary.
Am I doing everything I can as a leader?
Change is impacting every aspect of our lives: work, family and community.
Am I being supportive of my team, our customers and my family?
Because of social media, the news is always on 24/7 and it’s global.
The news moves fast and in many directions — often conflicting.
Times are uncertain, fear is in the air.
I had to stop watching the news.
It was making me less certain and more anxious.
It was no longer informing me, it was stoking me.
I am better than that, I need to get focused.
It is one thing to be aware; it is another to act like I can control the news or the path of the virus.
I cleared my head and separated the things that are not within my control.
I turned my attention to what is within my control.
What do we control in these uncertain and emotional times?
How are we reacting to the circumstances?
I have chosen to focus my time and attention on hope and the future.
I am knocking down my day to day with the context of the promise of the future.
A focus on meaning.
What gives me meaning in my life?
The possibility of a better tomorrow.
What will define “better” for me, my family, my team, my company and my customers.
There will be a tomorrow.
What can I do today to make tomorrow better?
I can think in terms of the positive. That is within my control.
I can think about our potential as humans and society.
What can I be as a leader?
Focused on the future.
A future not yet clearly visible but clearly holds the promise of a better tomorrow.
My bet is on us!
In times like this — times that are wildly uncertain and scary — humans come together and lead with resilience. It’s when compassion for each other takes a front seat in any situation. It’s when we find solace in community and keep reaching for a brighter tomorrow. It is well within our reach. Don’t let the fear get you down. Sometimes sharing it is all it takes to find the hope hidden just beneath it.
What is your raw truth? Your hopes or your fears? Whatever they are, know this one thing — you are not alone. As the late great John Lennon famously said, “You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one.” Stay safe and healthy. Be well my friends. There is a light at the end — let your truth guide your journey.