In business over the last year there has been quite a bit of uncertainty. It can be hard to lead forward when there are so many things that are unknown or constantly changing. Sometimes we want to wait until the dust settles and then regroup. That challenge is, the dust isn’t settling, so leading forward regardless of the dust storm is imperative! Whether it is you as a leader or the people around you, it is easy to get caught up in a negative spiral of paralyzed thought, questions and stress. How do you cast hope for your business and team when you are not sure what is the best direction and are negative messages and fear around you?
#1 PRESENCE: Be here now
By focusing on the present, you will find it easier to take a step back and act as an observer. What can you do right now? What is the opportunity or the challenge that needs your attention today that makes a difference? (This is not about the fire drill, but strategic activity that can be done today. ie. communicating with your team, reviewing your numbers, making decisions, planning your time, etc.) Take time to practice mindfulness in the moment. This is important to be in touch with the present.
Where are you at? Where is your team at? Where is your business at? (“At” means thoughts, feelings, emotions, activity). Stop an appreciate what is good. Notice the small things to help slow you down from the negative momentum and spinning that can happen when we feel we have to move faster but are unclear where to go or what to do. Be still. Find activities that help you center your mind (walking, reflective music, mediation, yoga, workout, etc.). This all helps to be more in tune to your thoughts, feelings and intuition.
#2 UNDERSTANDING: Look for ways to show compassion and empathy
Even if you are not stressed, the reality is many people are. There are different complexities going on for people in addition to work and business. Some are juggling kids at home, extra family needs, even dealing with an exposure and navigating quarantining and staying healthy… all create extra stress!
Spreading hope needs to start somewhere. Begin with the one person you can control, yourself. By looking for opportunities to pay it forward through random acts of kindness, you then become the impetus for others to do the same. Smile at someone. Notice your teams great work and be generous with compliments and gratitude. Do something to brighten other’s day – a card, email, flowers, candy, etc. Your compassionate heart and ability to walk in another’s shoes will be the guide to those around you.
It starts a ripple effect that helps the mood and energy to shift. People start to feel a little better or hopeful and then notice what is good. This puts them in a happy mood which affects others positively. It really is a culture impact that is needed. As leaders we have the ability to affect that, even when changes and pivots with business are not as clear.
#3 ACTION: Work in your strengths and do something
When we feel overwhelmed, discouraged or uncertain it can create a lack of hope and result in stagnation and hiding from the world. We might stay in the office, avoid talking to people, use email to communicate, etc. Notice how you might want to busy yourself for the sake of an easy distraction or avoiding tough decisions. Get your mind back into an action mode by reviewing your strengths and learning about them. Allow yourself to reflect on what you CAN DO verses what you CANNOT DO.
As you are reminded about who you are, you become motivated to BE who you are. When we use our strengths, it creates natural joy and momentum. As you learn, allow it to create ideas that flow into action. What can you do with your strengths that will move things forward for yourself, your business, and your team? The goal is to find a positive action and embrace it, whatever that might be.
Waiting allows things to pile up, creates more indecisions and unknown and increases stress. Make a decision and start moving in that direction. Even if you have to edit or adapt, that is the name of the game in this next decade, so be in strategic motion. Your leader intuition knows what is key activity that plays to your strengths and is important to do.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the negativity of the world around you and suddenly feel like the sky is falling and your business is vulnerable. Only by actively seeking hope will you find your NORTH, your direction, your momentum and activity that will make a difference. By practicing these three steps regularly, you’ll find yourself able to look and move forward to each day, no matter what’s going on around you!