As I prepared for a day of Dare to Lead™ learning with my Chartered family last week, I briefly wondered if there weren’t more urgent projects to focus on with the outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. As the day progressed, I realised again how important the work that I brought home from Brené Brown’s facilitation course last year is. It prepares us as a company to lean into our vulnerability, engage in tough conversations and mentor and coach our clients with empathy and understanding in the face of the uncertainty and fear that COVID-19 brings.
Let me share some take-outs from the teachings of Brené Brown that may just help as we prepare to keep living our best lives in the next few week and months in the midst of all the uncertainty.
We are all going to feel extremely vulnerable. Brené defines vulnerability as “the emotion we experience during times of uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” You have to consciously accept this emotion, and recognise that vulnerability is not a weakness. Vulnerability is the underlying emotion that we’re all feeling. When you accept that you are feeling vulnerable, you can lean into your vulnerability, rather than avoid or become anxious because of it. This gives you the strength and the courage to face your fear and uncertainty.
We are all going to need to be brave. Anxiety and panic are natural reactions to scary events. But, we cannot allow ourselves to become overwhelmed with fearful emotions. When we’re overwhelmed by uncertainty or fear, the rational parts of our brain shuts down – and we panic! We make our worst decisions in this state of panic.
We need to remind ourselves of our most important values and stay true to them. Check in with your values regularly and let them guide your behaviour. Knowing what you value above all else is a powerful tool and makes you feel in control of your actions. This is especially helpful in situations where you feel you have little or no control.
And lastly, keep practising gratitude. There may be many events that you have no control over as the government guides our country through the crisis. Reflect on what you are grateful for and replace anxious thoughts with rewarding behaviours that make you feel good. Be grateful for your part in minimising the spread of COVID-19; spend more time with your immediate family; reach out to those in need; pamper yourself, spoil your partner and connect with your inner peace.
We may not be able to connect with our colleagues or loved ones in the same way we always have. We will probably hug less and miss our face-to-face meetings, but our thoughts and love for one another will pull us through this pandemic as a collective.
We may be separate, but through kind words and brave thoughts we are much stronger together,
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