What wise words can we offer during these times of such great uncertainty?
Since our founding in 1988, we have invested in the concept of leadership training, because leadership is learned behavior.
We believe all leadership begins with leadership of self.
Most people have some kind of internal dialogue going on, and sometimes there are competing voices urging us to give in to temptation or resist it, to say those words or to keep silent. Right now, you might be tempted to be very fearful, to despair, to think the worst is coming (and it might be, can’t lie).
Yet it is within your power to be a leader of your own self during the twin pandemics of disease and fear. When those terrible thoughts grip you, breathe. If you are breathing, you are alive, and if you are alive, there is hope.
In a CNN interview, anchor Anderson Cooper asked television host Steven Colbert about something he’d said, “What punishments of God are not gifts?” Colbert said he believed it, because “it’s a gift to exist and with existence comes suffering. There’s no escaping that.”
There’s no escaping the terrible turns of life that cause suffering. And we can use our leadership skills to coach our suffering selves into action to mitigate suffering. Here are some leadership-of-self tips:
- Be aware of your own thoughts and feelings, knowing you’re sending messages to everyone around you by the expression on your face, the words you choose, the attitude you bring.
- Be aware of how others are feeling, sensitive to the fact that we cannot know what pressures and fears are driving them.
- Be flexible, because circumstances are changing by the minute, cancellations, disappointments, economic repercussions, surprise closings, unexpected responsibilities and emergencies are a fact of life. How can you become more agile and leader-like in your responses to what’s going on around you?
- Be resilient, if you can be, bounce back as soon as you can from whatever has you temporarily feeling some kind of way.
- Be aware of the interdependence of all of us, and think as a teammate. Think of what your actions might mean to others. Do what you can to keep yourself safe while caring as much for the safety of everyone you encounter.
We are teaching these skills in our FunnyGirls™ program, and the young women who participate are proving that collaboration, agility, self-awareness, resilience, and empathy can be learned behaviors.
There’s no time like the present moment to take a deep breath, think about the gift of being alive, and lead yourself into the next moment, and the next.