During the first 40 days of the COVID-19 outbreak and the self-isolation orders that shook our economy, I realized I was not so good at allowing myself to be vulnerable. I was not so great at feeling safe and trusting the systems I have always worked in. I was good at tamping down and stifling my own fear. I was also good at being strategic and making lot of to-do lists and doing what was on them and more. I got really busy, but I was not working my way through and out of the problems. I was in denial, although it did not show like “classic” denial and anger. I was in survival mode, and like so many of us in positions of leadership, I forgot to connect with who I was being.
Everything I planned for right after the Big Reveal of our new brand was suddenly getting flushed down the toilet. And to make matters worse, I couldn’t find any toilet paper because everyone was losing their minds.
What I needed to do was exercise an act of more authentic courage and bring my fears to the table. I needed to value what fear has to offer me and then also check in with whether I was being driven by fear or by purpose. I learned I am not as open and accepting of myself as I am with my clients, but it took me a while to see all of this as being the core of my problems and what was really my biggest challenge to re-emerging after the initial jolt of the outbreak and shut-down and social-distancing.
Bottom line: I create a safe place for others to create, share, explore, practice, grieve, innovate, and just be themselves. I forgot to create a space for me to do those things during the initial days of the pandemic. Sometimes I thought I was, but I really wasn't--I was distracted by fear and stifling my fear, and really fooled myself. I think I am back to being myself, and I am going to share a few quick notes about what did and what did not work for me. Maybe some of these ideas will help you see and know what you need to do for yourself as you re-emerge into the world and activities that share a space with COVID-19.
The first thing I needed to come to terms with is, “Why am I good at helping others through what I am going through?” and at the same time, “Why am I not good at helping myself with this?”
Here is what I know: I am really good at creating an intimate and safe place for our clients, talented and accomplished executives, to talk about what is not working for them. I have no judgments about whether they are being or doing right or wrong, my relationship is simply to the truth of what is so. They share what they are afraid of, they share their purpose, their struggles, and their inner knowing. Our clients share what they want to create in their lives, their businesses, and in this world. I get to learn their sacred thoughts, ideas, plans, and desires and keep them secret. I am inspired, awestruck when our clients step into leading their transformations with:
- their individual purpose
- a vision for the future
- openness to every possibility
They absolutely and courageously accomplish what they set out to do. I get excited knowing that I am a trusted partner and give structure to how powerful leaders change this world and this economy for the better.
I don’t give many people the opportunity to give me what I give them. I have not let people in that easily. That is what I realized I was doing wrong. I needed to ask for help. I needed to process grief, anger, and fear. I needed to test some ideas and “think out loud.” I needed to trust others with the things that were scaring me the most, and the thing that scared me the most was the thought of letting everyone down, including myself. I encourage you to find a friend, a coach, a partner that you can and do trust deeply. Once I connected with people I trust and let them into what I was challenged with, they helped me see who I was being. I could navigate back to myself. What I began doing from there turned into gold. That is the first step: start opening up.
This is a powerfully positive story. More to follow…next week, I will post about what happened when I opened up. It is a powerfully positive story. Until then, Stay Well, Enjoy Today, and #NeverStopConquering !