QUESTION: How do I plan for the future or even know what to do in the next few weeks, when so much is seemingly out of our control and we have no way of knowing what will unfold during a time of change?!
ANSWER: Take charge. Show up fully. Help others. Lead. You cannot fail.
Read those last three words again.
A couple of months ago I was sharing with a friend of mine how much was at stake for the organization I’m leading. The cancellation of concerts had been devastating, musician’s livelihoods were now at stake, and finding a path forward was critical to the community we serve. I was feeling the weight of the moment and said, “on behalf of others, I cannot fail.”
She looked back at me and repeated the same words with a completely different meaning: “You cannot fail” (as in: it’s impossible to fail).
The caveat? We must be fully present, showing up as our best selves, clear on how to create the sustainable impact we are meant to achieve, in ways that empower and connect, enroll and engage, and knowing that things are likely to not go as planned. That’s a BIG caveat (and why I created The Career (Life!) Breakthrough Academy).
Here’s an exercise that can help.
While none of us have experienced a global pandemic before, it’s been interesting to observe that the strategies I use as a professional Interim CEO to lead an organization boldly forward are the same strategies I use to coach individuals in their self-described crossroad moments.
When we’re in a time of upheaval, transition and change – even when we initiate it – it’s normal to:
- Take action based upon what may be our limiting beliefs – what we are assuming is possible or not, or what our industry or others expect of us – and then adjust and adjust and not achieve what we really want/need,
- Wait until more is known, or until something we believe must occur first happens,
- Become paralyzed, depressed, hopeless.
The reality of course is that none of these choices create the possibility for your true value to be revealed and our impact to occur! In fact, in many cases, they set you on a course to repeat mistakes, continue “downward spiral thinking,” create scenarios that don’t provide impact, and inadvertently dis-empower you by blaming internal and external forces as the reasons for being stuck, unhappy, unable to succeed.
Instead – no matter what your specific scenario – try this exercise from SHIFT: Strategies for Times of Change
Create Your “2-steps to Take Charge” Framework –
use intention strategically during times of transition and change.
Taking responsibility for our own actions is always a great strategy. Leaders who bravely allow themselves to be vulnerable enough to know that right now it is not about being perfect or having all of the answers. You are setting the intention to deliver your mission in new ways – in never-before-thought of ways, perhaps! You are setting an intention to enroll and engage us in the journey, to inform and connect, help us see the possibilities and thus help us know how we can help you help others.
So, before you schedule a meeting or set a course of action, take some time to collect your thoughts and mindfully determine what you want to occur – and why. Instead of wishing and hoping for the outcomes you want (or believing it’s just not possible), take a minute to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What do they need from you to achieve the goal, and why? Then and only then can you take the actions that will help people move forward.
STEP 1: Before every meeting, conversation, cover letter, interview, eblast or decision, ask yourself and/or your leadership team:
- What do I want people to know and understand (and why)?
- What do I want people to feel (and why)?
- What do I want people to do (when, and why)?
- What do I want to learn (and why)?
STEP 2: Then, reverse-engineer the resulting strategies needed to achieve the desired outcomes you identified. With your intention set, only then can you determine the resulting language, actions, structure, agenda, strategy, methodology, visual aids, information, etc. for yourself that will create the possibility for achieving the outcomes you want. No more blaming “dysfunctional boards” for not stepping up to help or being frustrated with how an interviewer did not ask you the right questions or offer you a salary in alignment with your value!
Want more exercises like this? Visit my BLOG ARCHIVE HERE!
Remember: You are in charge. Show up fully. Help others. Lead. You cannot fail.
To your success!
Next Chapter Coach
Creator of The Career (Life!) Breakthrough AcademyTM