The Compass

The Compass

What are your North, South, East and West that guide your actions during this time of turmoil?

How do you stay true to your North, South, East or West?

The 4 Points on My Compass:

  1. Begin & End in Gratitude
  2. Act on Instinct
  3. Listen & Learn
  4. Stay Close

There are always four directions you can take to forge a new path or to continue on…

Pause a moment to breathe and appreciate you are alive and can add value today.

Do it your way from your unique perspective.  No one else can exactly like you.

Begin & End in Gratitude

Let’s start today with gratitude and building a practice of beginning and ending each day in gratitude.

There are 10 Principles of Gratitude from The Strategic Coach that I regularly come back to for centering, for calm, for balance, for breath…

  1. Take time each day to appreciate that you are alive.  Start with just a minute and extend it until you can do fifteen.
  2. Each day, identify and appreciate five of the smallest things that make the biggest difference in your life.
  3. Each day, appreciate that you are only a short-term visitor on the planet.  Be the best possible guest while you are here.
  4. Each day, appreciate someone else’s Unique Ability.  Combine it with your own.
  5. Each day, appreciate one opportunity that you have to make progress.  Take advantage of it immediately.
  6. Each day, appreciate one teacher in your life and learn a new lesson.
  7. Each day, appreciate something that is a central value for your entire life.
  8. Each day, appreciate one thing that represents who you want to become.
  9. Each day, appreciate and acknowledge in someone else, one specific quality that you yourself want to be appreciated for.
  10. Each day, use appreciation to prepare a positive zone for greater success.

Now is a perfect time build a new habit and focus on something good.  Pick one of the ten and try it.  Feel the difference it can make in your mindset. Reach out for other ways gratitude can support you.

Act on Instinct

Let’s start today with your gut.  Now more than ever I find the words “going with your gut” to have so much relevance in a world turned upside down.  And if you are a Hamilton aficionado –

where those last four words aren’t even being sung anymore on Broadway at the moment.  I am grateful that humanworks uses the Kolbe Theory as a foundational part of our practice.  I have seen those who have embraced it along with us find extra energy from their instinctual drive during a time when it is so needed.

With so much information being sent my way on a daily basis the cognitive part of my brain is on overload, so what do I do?  I go with my gut which tells me to not worry about all the details, but to narrow it down to the crucial elements in an outline form that my affective brain says feels better.  I narrow to explain.

What does your gut tell you to do with all the information?   Dig in even deeper and gather more?  Maybe you want to take my approach one step further and just have bottom-line facts?  There’s not a right or wrong, but act on it because it will create the way through for you.

One more instinctual area I see on overdrive is around how we as humans handle risk and uncertainty. Again, there is not a one size fits all, nor would we want that during this crisis.  Those that know me realize Shawn will improvise his way through it and fix as he goes along.  I’m not trying for perfection right now, I’m trying to be ready for what’s next.

If that doesn’t feel right for you, I would expect you are finding ways to stabilize during these uncertain times or are finding ways to make it work by modifying what you may have been doing or changing up recommended practices to work for you.  All three approaches will help you and those around you find your way through and on to what’s next.

Reach out if you want more clarity on your natural ways of working during this time and how you can capitalize and find confidence in what is true to you.

Listen & Learn

Let’s start today with a few questions.  Is it me or is everyone talking right now?  Is it me or is it a time for a collective breath?  Is it me or is it a critical time to hear from everyone?  Are you getting through your organization’s virtual suggestion box? 

Yes, everyone wants to hear from leadership right now.  But I also believe what will separate the best leaders is their ability to listen right now.

So, focus today not on what you are going to say, but on what you will hear.  What will you ask to spark conversation around a topic, a client need, an individual concern or a way of creating value in our new world?

What is the right question to focus talent and the business on what’s ahead?

Here are five simple ones to consider (each with a follow-up!):

  1. Is there anything you need right now? How are you holding up?
  2. What has been your biggest challenge in shifting to working from home? What’s working for you that I should share with others?
  3. What have we not communicated that would help you do your job better? What’s your biggest frustration right now?
  4. Who has been there for you this week? Who do you need to reach out to more?
  5. What could we think about for a client right now, so they don’t have to? What solution can we bring to a client right now that they haven’t asked for?

Listen.  Learn.  Then lead.

Stay Close

Everyone knows the phrase – Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Our biggest enemy right now – disconnection.  Feeling cut-off.  With one another.  With your customer or client.

And if you are like me, you have had more virtual, video chats in the last 7 days than in a whole lifetime it seems.

But a smiling face on a flat screen is not enough.  You have to try to get past that into something more real.  Something more human.

How have I done it?  I’ve actually had to pause and make a decision to follow-up with someone one-on-one – not a group chat – just us.  I knew this person needed it and it led to tears.  They needed the release and so did I.  I felt closer. 

I paused again when a member of my team reached out unexpectedly after regular work hours (are there regular work hours anymore?) when I had just completed my caretaking role for the evening and was driving back home.  It was a simple text, “Hey there, how are you doing through all this?”  But it gave me a moment to pause and really consider the caring question from out of the blue.  I was grateful that the person asked.  It allowed me to share my gratitude and confidence in what they were doing to help others.  I felt closer.  

And finally, it seems that at least once a day now one of these video calls turns into a momentary giggle-fest as if we reached happy hour early or the funniest joke ever heard was just shared, when in fact everyone just needed a release to come together and laugh.  In times of such seriousness, is it ok to be silly for a moment?  After the laughter, I felt closer.  And then back to what matters most – finding ways to help people through this unimaginable time.

It is ever so critical to look at the “work” right now and find ways to meet the new challenges of today.  It cannot be at the expense of the “human.”

Reach out – cry, pause and laugh.  Stay close.