OK, I tell leaders to be real with their people, so I’m going to be real with you. Last week wasn’t good.
I got stuck and felt pressure to reach out with some advice and guidance for you but I didn’t have any answers and I fell silent as I watched a packed calendar, and the life we all knew, evaporate overnight.
You know me as a positive, forward-looking guy but I had to allow myself to go through a funk.
Now, I’ve come out the other side. I have a sense of clarity and energy. I’m here to serve. I don’t have all THE answers — no one does — but I’m committing to you that I’m here for you.
I will share my expertise to help you grow through this and I will reach out to my tribe of leaders to collect ideas and bring you information that will move you forward in a positive way.
If you are in a funk, know this: you aren’t weak, you aren’t selfish and you aren’t alone. You’re human and now is a time to be exceedingly human. It’s OK.
Here are five things that helped propel me toward clarity. These are things you can try. See what works for you. I’ll be sending more soon.
Take control of the things you can control because it will make you more resilient to that which is out of your control.
That’s a basic tenet of energy management and it has never been more true than it is now. Our world got rocked and I believe in my bones our world will recover, providing we build resilience, stay connected and get creative.
1. Stay informed — in a healthy way.
I’m limiting myself to two news briefings a day. I watch and read enough to keep my family safe and informed but that’s it. Don’t wake up and check the news. Don’t live on Twitter. Don’t watch the news right before bed.
Pick two points in your day. Consider limiting yourself to one or two reliable sources so you don’t find yourself going down the rabbit hole. Whatever your system, I strongly encourage you to check the news in ways that won’t disrupt your sleep, your digestion or your family.
2. Double down on breathing.
We can all benefit from calming our physiology down right now. We are under stress and our bodies are in a state of fight, flight or freeze for a higher percentage of the day than we are used to — a higher percentage of the day than is healthy.
When you are on high alert, reacting to everything, deep breathing and meditation slows you down instantly. It is a no-cost, do-it-anywhere-anytime stress remedy that is undervalued and I’m telling you, now is the time to value and notice your breath.
3. Find things you are grateful for.
Some people might think it’s pointless or even insensitive to feel grateful when families are separated, jobs are disappearing and losses are so very real. But tapping into gratitude isn’t sticking your head in the sand.
Gratitude is a source of energy that fuels forward-thinking. Try this. If you find yourself stuck in anxiety loops, focus your mind by listing three things you are grateful for. For me, today, it’s computers in the home, a home gym, and a backyard that is my sanctuary. Find your things. Let them change. Find more. Feel the benefit.
4. Stay connected, be playful and get creative!
There’s part of us that never wanted to stop playing. Now’s the time! And get creative about how you connect with people.
Last week my core group of buddies booked a happy hour on Zoom. Like thousands of others, we sat in our homes, enjoying a drink and making each other laugh online. My son Oscar and I invented a game we can play on the driveway — picture tennis played with pylons and a hoodie for a net, sort of. It was a hell of a lot of fun.
Use this bizarre time to look at the world creatively. There are problems you can solve and value you can add. I believe that people tapping into their creativity will be a key benefit of this tumultuous time.
5. Now is the time to lead.
As a leader, you have an opportunity and a responsibility to be a voice of realistic optimism. Stay open, stay vulnerable and stay confident. I understand that you don’t have all the answers, no one expects you to, but your people need to hear your voice and feel your commitment to them.
It’s natural to want to hunker down and protect yourself and your immediate family. I get it, I’m there too. But I encourage you to look up to see what your people really need from you now. What time, energy, ideas and resources can you share to support those around you?
As I said, I’m going to use this email and my social channels to get good ideas and information out to people.
I’ll be reaching out too. I have clients who are experts at leading virtual teams, for example — I see myself as a conduit here. I’m in a unique position to connect people and ideas. If you have expertise that can help this tribe, let’s talk. I’d love nothing more than to have my inbox full of your ideas and suggestions this week.
For now, take good care of yourself and the people around you. And just so you don’t forget…
Take control of the things you can control because it will make you more resilient to that which is out of your control. You’ve got this!