In Action, Leaders

“Being defeated is often a temporary condition.  Giving up is what makes it permanent.” – Marilyn vos Savant

Today’s idea seems pretty simple.  When you’re in a difficult situation, surrounded by chaos, everything seems like a big unknown – global pandemic & social unrest, for example – it’s easy to feel like you don’t have many options.  At the very least, right now for a lot of leaders it seems like they don’t have many good options.

It’s easy in those situations to want to do nothing.  There have been a lot of leaders over the past 3 months who essentially “froze up”.  We aren’t used to feeling like we don’t have things under control, and most of us aren’t comfortable operating in that kind of environment.  So, for a lot of people, the instinct is to shut down.

That’s especially true when we make decisions that don’t turn out the way we’d hoped.  We lose confidence.  We start to hesitate.  We second-guess everything we do and every choice we make.  And sometimes we just stop making choices altogether.

So today’s simple idea is this: don’t do that.  Easier said than done, correct?  Easy to type it, harder to do.  Unfortunately, “harder to do” doesn’t mean you don’t actually have to do it.  But how?  How do you keep pushing in the middle of chaos and defeat?

For starters, get some help.  If you don’t have anybody internally, get somebody externally.  It could be a friend, a group of peers, a coach, whatever.  Somebody to help you sort through things.  Sometimes just being reminded that other people are dealing with the same kind of stuff makes a difference.  Someone else might have come up with a solution to a problem you think will be the end of Western civilization.  Seek outside support.

Once you get your brain moving again, put together a plan of action.  It’s a reality for most people that when they’re stressed or faced with a difficult situation, the act of planning itself will alleviate some of that stress and tension.  It gets your brain focused on solutions, not just on problems.

Finally, start small.  You don’t have to fix all the world’s problems at once.  You don’t have to fix the biggest ones first.  Start with ones you can handle & execute the changes you want to make at a really high level.  You’ll build confidence & be more prepared to handle the Level 1 problems that eventually need attention.

Nothing about any of that is easy or automatic.  So what?  Nothing worth doing in life is easy or automatic, so quit looking for that outcome.  Chaotic, uncertain, frightening situations are your opportunity to be great.  So go be great today.

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