In our last blog “Leading and managing human transitions through disruption and adversity,” we described the importance of leaders and managers becoming more generous, tolerant, caring, empathic not only with themselves, and also with others they interact with. Describing how many leaders and managers have been emotionally hijacked by the often-dire consequences of their own particular series of downturns and stresses, causing them to unconsciously resist, or react against the current Covid-19 range of crises. Failing to realise that this not only wastes their energy and drains their resilience, it also inhibits them from embracing and evoking both a “being” and a “doing” perspective in effectively leading and managing change in transitioning people from the old to the new. Where it about acknowledging people’s core survival needs whilst at the same time, letting go of the need for control. By cultivating mental toughness to lead and manage their people compassionately, creatively, and courageously to be resilient and successfully traverse the wilderness between the “now” and what could be a more desirable future.
Mining decades of stability
In the face of the massive disruptions and adverse environment, leading and managing change requires a lot more than the obligatory change management strategy, process, and team. It requires leaders and managers to strategically mine and evoke their previous decades of stability to unearth their deep wisdom, knowledge, experience, and inner strength, and bring these elements to the present.
By leading and managing change in ways that celebrate the freedom of non-resistance, embrace flexible and open minds, and empathic and compassionate hearts to effect courageous and confident choices about how to “be” in order to know what is the best thing to “do” next.
To support and enable people to safely and creatively transition through three key phases; letting go of the old, wondering, and wandering through the wilderness of “not knowing” and embracing a “beginner mind” to emerge and co-create what might and could be the “new”.
Embracing the freedom of non-resistance
Despite having an online global learning and coaching practice, and having my own stresses and range of survival challenges, I have been using my time, to wander and wonder in the wilderness. by investing in a number of innovative and timely online app-based learning, mindfulness, and meditation programs. With the aim of helping me deal with my own range of reactive responses whilst emerging creative and inventive ways of better helping and supporting others when leading and managing change to transition through the disrupted world.
One of the programs was generously given as a free six-week virtual learning opportunity by Shirzard Carmine, of positive intelligence. It aimed at developing mental fitness as a measure of the strength of my positive mental muscles (Sage) versus the negative (Saboteur). Whose measure of your Mental Fitness is called PQ (Positive Intelligence Quotient). I am also still participating daily in a very different free program, called 40 days of Calm and Resilience, presented by Calm in the City. Which is a not-for-profit community initiative, aimed at engaging with city communities to bring calm into the heart of the city. Finally, I am eight months into a healthy lifestyle paid program from an app called Noom, whose aim is to make the world a healthier place, body, mind, and spirit.
Learnings from the wilderness
Here are some of my key learnings from wondering and wandering in the wilderness of “not knowing” and embracing a “beginners mind” that I can happily share with the ImagineNation™ community:
- Learning how to be present and hopeful, positive and optimistic, calm, and resilient reinforced the importance of being able to consciously and safely hit my pause button to retreat from reacting to the crisis. By stepping back into the present time to be with “what is” really going on for myself, my partner and my clients, rather than constantly staying in action and doing things to try and “fix” everything.
- Reflecting on my decades of stability and creativity by stepping into unearthing my deeper wisdom, knowledge, experience, and my inner strength, and bringing these aspects of my being into the present. As valuable deep-rooted inner resources, they helped me cultivate the mental toughness needed to calm my mind and endless negative self-talk, to bring more hope, possibilities, and opportunities for a more sustainable, abundant and equitable future into being.
- Reimagining how to better live my values and passionate purpose by courageously stepping up towards being a better person, partner, consultant, and coach and being open to reimagining, reinventing, and pivoting my business focus yet again.
- Allowing whatever is happening to flow through me, even when its unpleasant and uncomfortable, by stepping out into the edges of the social field, as calmly as possible, to explore new creative, inventive and innovative solutions for providing value to people, in tough times, in ways they appreciate and cherish.
Cultivating mental toughness
Whilst this certainly hasn’t been an easy or comfortable learning journey, it has been worthwhile being able to:
- Expose, confront and overcome many of my previously unconscious and resistant demons,
- Let go of a number of old stories and untruths,
- Learn distinctions about the critical role and importance of the “soft” being states, mindsets and behaviours and how they integrate with the necessary “hard” being states, mindsets and behaviours.
All of which are required to cultivate the mental toughness required to help myself and pull others out of their paralysed, overstressed, anxious, or apathetic state, when leading and managing change and riding the wave of disruptive change in the transition from the old to the new.
Constantly reinforcing that it’s a fine balance for managers and leaders, to find the equilibrium necessary to be both “soft” and “hard” in helping themselves and their people compassionately, creatively and courageously successfully traverse the wilderness between the “now” and pull them toward a more desirable future.
This is the second monthly blog in a series of three blogs, themed of Leading and Managing Human Transitions through Disruption and Adversity. Check out our upcoming Making Innovation a Habit Webinar on this subject.
Find out about The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate, and deep personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 8-weeks, starting August 25, 2020. It is a blended learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles, and applications of a human-centered approach to innovation, within your unique context. Find out more.