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Embracing the Unknown by BEING

by Trudy Frection, Leadership Coach, Accomplishment Coaching

Over the past weeks, as the Covid-19 crisis deepened around the world and all of us found our lives turned upside down, the 24-hour news cycle has kept us informed and increased our anxiety in equal parts. As I sat down to write this, I decided to share some of the things that I believe are helpful to keep in mind.

I read recently that, “We are Human Beings not Human Doings.” All of us seek answers or seek to provide guidance to others on, ‘what to do’ in this moment. The most important thing to me is to focus on how I am Being. Of course, I’m also doing what I need to do including taking obvious precautions like social distancing and washing my hands. As leaders, we can pause and choose how we want to Be and then share that authentic part of ourselves with our teams, our families, friends and neighbors. For me, that means choosing to stay calm, to deal with today’s facts and to avoid anticipating worries for an unknown future. Taking time out to look at those worries dispassionately allows me to see that a rush to be busy or take action may make me feel in control but in fact, in most cases it will only produce anxiety and stress that spills over to those around me. This same process of examining what I’m worried about may help me to identify something that I can address and lets me focus on taking meaningful actions and seeing creative solutions where they matter most.

Source: FatRank
The truth of the matter is that “We just don’t know what we don’t know” about almost everything. The chart here illustrates this point which I recently spent time discussing with a group of fellow coaches. The conclusion we arrived at was that the ‘Unknown Unknown’ is a place of huge possibility. The resiliency, courage and resourcefulness of people around the globe as they solve problems that they didn’t know they were going to face a few weeks ago proves that when we encounter the unknown we find possibility and solutions. For example, businesses and teams that were convinced that the only way they could operate was through face-to-face interaction have found solutions they hadn’t imagined. It’s highly unlikely that yoga studios and gyms were busy building business models around video classes in January but now in a matter of days they have not only figured out how but are finding that clients are willing to try new things along with them. With that in mind, I am using this time at home to look for possibility and re-imagine how I do things. I thought networking meant coffee chats, lunch or drinks – now I’m meeting new people via Zoom and it’s quite enjoyable (and you can keep your sweats on!).

For those of you leading teams, in a difficult time, how are you reimagining how you manage your teams, build team spirit, and serve and communicate better with your customers? Are you choosing a way of Being that starts from curiosity? You may discover long lasting improvements you didn’t know you needed. After all, we don’t know what we don’t know, what might you learn if you show up as someone who invites those around you to offer their ideas and suggestions for problem solving?

As I look inside myself and chose my Being daily, I remind myself to stay vigilant and not let my ‘self-defense’ or ‘automatic way of being’ sabotage my best intentions. By ‘self-defense’ I mean those ways of being that all of us have honed over the years that we use to protect ourselves from feelings of fear, doubt, loss of control, abandonment, etc. and the automatic behaviors that go with them. I hate the idea of missing deadlines or letting others down for fear that I will lose respect and be less trusted. When my self-defense mechanisms have kicked in full gear you will find me making spreadsheets and project trackers – something I am quite frankly not very good at – in an attempt to control the world around me. I have found that being authentic and sharing my fears with others builds stronger connections and an atmosphere where we can problem solve together. In this example, the spreadsheets may be a good idea, but it would be better if I had someone who has the right skills creating them! I suggest that you take some time to reflect on your fears, self-defense mechanisms and the behaviors they bring out and challenge yourself to abandon them and look for a different way of Being that would make you more effective now – and in the future.

I am setting aside time to prepare for a return to normal (or the new normal) by working through these and other ideas with my coach and coaching colleagues. I encourage you to give yourself the gift of time and reflect on whether you are Being or Doing and how you are showing up with the people around you.


P.S.  If you don’t have access to a coach and want to know more, there are many great books and other resources that explore these concepts in greater depth. Right now, I’m reading The Last Word on Power by Tracy Goss and Getting Real by Susan Campbell, PhD. If you have exhausted work duties, home schooling, and all that Netflix and other streaming services have to offer, I think you will find them thought provoking and helpful.
Trudy is offering CFG members a free, one-hour coaching session. Simply email her  with your name, email and phone and she will send you her pre-coaching session information package. Be sure to mention CFG. 
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