Chaos theory


Sometimes you see change coming. Now and then, you might even be the one who plans or instigates it. Other times, it comes for you, whether you’re ready or not.

Over the past two weeks, change has come for all of us. Little changes, which have evolved daily into bigger and bigger changes, and then more reboots from there. We’ve had to get nimble, and flexible. We’ve confronted our attachments, neuroses, and fears. We’ve hoarded canned goods and toilet paper, avoided doorknobs, and read more news updates than we had in the whole year prior. We’ve been faced with the need to accept what is, and make decisions from that place, instead of from fantasies about how we wish things were instead.

We’ve had to get real about the realness of uncertainty, and the futile illusion of control. We’ve had to (re)learn how to breathe, and how to ride the waves of circumstance as they knock us out of the inertia of everyday routine life.

What does leadership look like in this uncharted space? You might be a little familiar with it, actually.

Leadership in the midst of uncertainty takes the ability to be creative, steady and grounded, even as the terrain rocks beneath you. It requires the ability to say “Yes, and…” when the assumptions you’ve based your decisions on change, and then change again. You’ve got to hang on for dear life to your calm and your cool, and get re-collected over and over again.

In other words, you need mindfulness. You need the practice that keeps you grounded and calm, so you can motivate and innovate your way through the wilderness you’re standing in. You work through that in your practice so you can use it in your life outside of your practice. That’s why it’s “practice,” right?

In other words, you’re ready for this.

Whether you’re leading a company, a small team, a family, or a nation, pushing forward through uncertainty is part of the gig. It was in the job description, whether you read it or not. The current moment just happens to be one that’s throwing everyone for a loop.

Hear that, though? EVERYONE.

Nobody has this one in the bag. Nobody knows for sure how and when we come out of this. Chances are really good that we do, though. Humans have a pretty solid track record so far of not just making it through challenges, but celebrating their victories in style over boozy brunches and IG dance parties.

For now, use your tools. Breathe, root down into your deepest truth, and remind yourself that fear is a terrible place from which to make decisions.

The bad news is, nothing lasts forever. The good news is, nothing lasts forever. Be here now, for this moment is yours, and will be for you exactly as you want it to be.

“Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.” ~Hafiz

Photo credit: Lisa Hess

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