The Power Of Quiet Leadership
Updated: May 6
When doing nothing shows courage
The empty streets. The empty supermarket shelves. The face masks and the faint smell of disinfectant on the train. The death tolls. It feels like the world is ending.
Bran thought about it. 'Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?' 'That is the only time a man can be brave,' his father told him. —George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
Grace under fire
But the toughest steel is forged in the hottest fires. And I’m inspired by the amazing acts of courage these past few weeks. The doctors and nurses, research scientists and government officials looking to contain the virus. The teachers, bus drivers, cleaners and people like you and me, who are showing up at work every day, despite the threat. The mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters and brothers providing strength and support to loved ones who have fallen victim to the coronavirus. This requires you to step out of your comfort zone, to expose yourself to the risk of infection, anger and helplessness, but you do it anyway. Why?
Because you can’t not do it. Because there are people who are depending on you to show up. People still need to eat. People still need to move around. People still need love and comfort. Everyday work still needs to be done. Everyday problems still need to be fixed. Your work has PURPOSE. Your life has PURPOSE. The coronavirus just adds another layer of complexity to your already too-complex life.
And you’re persevering. That takes COURAGE.
You hope that a pandemic attack like this never happens. But it has. No need to watch the show on Netflix, it’s happening right outside your door. And each one of us has a choice on how we deal with it.
Do we accept the truth of the situation? Or pretend that everything's normal?
Do we collaborate with others to make things better? Or do we blame and point fingers?
Do we put ourselves in harm's way, physically or emotionally, to support others? Or pretend that everything is hunky-dory?
Take a difficult situation and learn from it
By continuing to buy your normal groceries (instead of hoarding), you’re expressing a deep sense of unity with the community. You’re thinking beyond your own needs. You are putting the needs of the community above your own.
By putting on the face mask, you’re doing a big job of protecting others. Wearing a face mask helps to prevent the virus from entering the air where it can be inhaled by others. Wearing a mask shows kindness for others.
By doing nothing while someone is shouting and screaming at you, you are showing compassion for that person. People only behave like that when they are under stress, and not retaliating is very kind. Not judging them is very kind.
Together we can do this. We got this, people.
From caring comes courage. —Lao Tzu
It might feel like you’re not doing anything special. But that’s not true. By sticking to your ordinary routine, you’re actually doing something extraordinary. By doing nothing in the chaos, you're actually doing something extraordinary. We think that we need to make big overt gestures to be a hero, but sometimes, doing nothing is heroic. Because we’re living in extraordinary times. Our world has changed. And so shall we. We’ll emerge better, stronger and more united than before.
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