CAN YOU SEE THE SPACE?
Updated: Mar 1, 2021
Leading through uncertainty.
What do you see in the picture?
"I see birds."
"I see seagulls."
"I see eagles."
"I see lines."
Can you also see the sky?
The new 9-to-5
Virtual meetings hit you wave upon wave, 7 am to late at night. The company’s 2-year online strategy became three insane weeks of pressure & slog.
You’re sick of looking at people through laptop cameras and spending the first five minutes talking about their home office decor - too personal. Chats have negative vibes, you check yourself not to amplify, but your knack for energising people with fairy dust is more like a dead cat bounce at the moment.
Every day a bomb goes off somewhere in the business. People panic and scramble to rectify the problem. Focusing on problems is, unfortunately, a common part of being in business. Why? Because there are lots of them - it's the reality of business; it just is. But also, we are so familiar with fixating on the problems - the seagulls. We are less familiar with contemplating the possibilities - the sky.
It’s ok not to know all the answers. It’s ok to run low on energy. It’s not you, it’s just the gravity of the situation. There is nothing "good" or "bad" about it. This is the reality of business - it just is. Instead of fighting those negative vibes, what if you just accepted it, just like you accept the weather?
The old perk-me-up is gone
After-work drinks with buddies? Gone.
Long bike rides around the island? Gone.
You turn to your leader for an energy fix, only to have your head bitten off.
You feel a bit useless, where do I fit in all this? Flash of quitting. Yes, but no, I actually like my job.
Energy is currency
Honest dialogue is you’re deeply, deeply tired. Your work thrives on face-to-face human interaction, but now that’s changed. You’re tired of surface-level conversations with people who still don’t get it.
The business was like a Disneyland, with pockets of wonder and ideas everywhere. But now everything is in lockdown.
Where do I get my hands on a big f*cking bag of fairy dust?
Welcome to the Edge of Greatness
You may be feeling like Icarus right now: you got too close to the sun, and the wax in your wings have melted. You are tumbling out of the sky, falling into the sea, and drowning.
What if you flipped the perspective - what if this is the edge of greatness? Can you see the sky? You're on the brink of something completely new. This situation is unprecedented. There are no model answers, because it has never happened before. No one has “this” figured out. Yet. Sure, there is uncertainty, but in the cracks lie growth opportunities.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
You are working hard, exhausted at holding tight to something that no longer exists.
What am I not seeing?
All these uneasy feelings… this is just me and all the problems I’m facing.
Is this how my customers are feeling, too?
How about the team? Are they feeling the same anxiety?
If I’m feeling like this, what about the weight on my boss’ shoulders?
When you change the focus of your attention - back to the vision, back to WHY you are doing this in the first place - energy flows back to you. The creativity comes back. Because this is just who you are: someone who solves problems and helps others.
Are you moving too fast?
From my personal experience, it is easier said than done. We are strangers to joy and light. We are more familiar with working hard and being hard on ourselves.
When problems surface, most of us react: Do more. Talk more. Grunt and bear it. Grit your teeth and keep going. We rush, hoping to get back to "normal" as quickly as possible.
In the current situation, it’s critical that you first create a safe space for yourself. Take a step back from the edge, a breath, a me moment.
Hold that uneasy feeling. Don’t bang it with your hammer of judgement. There’s nothing wrong with you, or your team, or your boss. This is business, not as usual.
Reach out to a friend who’s on a similar rollercoaster. Share your real concerns and fears. When you release those tightly held, pent-up thoughts, it creates space for new ideas to emerge.
Don’t do this with doomsday preppers. Instead of flipping your perspective, they will drag you deeper into the abyss with that cat.
That’s why people make fast progress by working with an experienced coach. Flipping perspective is not a step 1-2-3 process. It’s more like jazz - improv and free-styling - where you have to let go and follow your intuition.
Big bags of fairy dust
The fairy dust is there - in the space. The space, the possibility, is inherently there. You just have to "see" it. Seeing the possibility does not mean that you deny the problems (the seagulls). You're putting things in perspective - you view the problems within the container of possibility.
Take back fairy dust that will energise people, help them re-connect and express their creativity to try new things. Dance on the edge of greatness.
Change happens when you interact with new things - helps you evolve beyond the ordinary. Choose to enter the crucible. Why not do it together.
You’re not alone.
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