Remember this tool when leading through uncertainty
Our understanding of leadership has changed dramatically in recent years. We used to collectively believe that leadership is about having the answers. More and more of us now know that leadership is not about having the answers, leadership is about service and allowing the best answers to be found. Leadership is about personal accountability, curiosity, deep listening, adapting, serving, finding mutual benefit, integrity, communication, kindness, respect, vision, and commitment. Leadership is a way of being.
When we're faced with uncertainty, it's easy to fall back into the old notion that leadership means having the right answers. Answers make us feel safe and when we're uncertain, safe is what we want most. Unfortunately, this is the exact wrong way to navigate an unknown situation. The results will nearly always be subpar, if not a total disaster.
When we seek safety, we seek the known. Very often though, what we know is not going to get us through uncertainty because, by it's nature, we are outside the bounds of what we know.
Today, I find myself facing another significant uncertainty. My beautiful mare Dancer is sick, very sick. I've done all that I know to help her and now it is time for the vet to step in.
The challenge now is to walk through this health crisis with my head on straight. To be a leader to my herd, I am responsible for their care. Isn't that true of any health crisis? The vet is an expert, an expert who I feel deeply grateful to have available just like any doctor. Whether the health crisis is happening to our animals or our own self, we all will face more than one in this lifetime.
It is tempting at times like this to turn over responsibility to the experts. It's times like this we can think, "I don't have the answer, so I must not be the right one to lead here!" Yet, at the end of the day, the accountability rests with me and abdicating that is not good leadership. Isn't that true when we're facing the oncologist too? The goal as leader is to keep your head clear and heart open, so that the expertise and information can be fully absorbed. From there, it can inform our best thinking.
I've recently been enjoying a book called More Time to Think by Nancy Kline. In it, Kline provides a well considered and researched framework for creating powerful thinking environments. One core belief that she holds (which I resonate with entirely) is that YOU are the best source of answers to the questions that YOU have. If given a safe and loving environment, information, and time, you will find the best possible solution.
Thus, there is good news here. I will have the answer regarding how to best care for Dancer. What I need are these three things: 1) an excellent thinking environment, 2) information (veterinary expertise, personal experience, experience of others), and 3) time.
So, to navigate the uncertainty, the first step is to create a sense of safety. Here is my tool in times like this:
THE SAFETY TOOL
Place a hand on your heart and one on your belly. Breathe naturally. Close the eyes and bring the inner gaze upward, as if looking at a distant sunset. Visualize the inhale as love and light. Visualize the exhale releasing tension. Remain doing this for as long as needed until the mind clears like a snow globe.
From this place, I can take in the information and unearth the best possible solution. To learn more tools and step more fully into a new way of being, come to our next 2-day Live Your Gift Workshop - May 27&28