I was enjoying a conversation with friend Elatia Abate, as she set out on an ambitious initiative to have 1:1 conversations with her 5000+ LinkedIn connections. Brilliant really, mining the wisdom of her network, building relationships beyond likes and comments. Elatia is a vibrant leader on the ‘future of work,’ a fearless communicator, and a beacon of positive energy. Her approach to these short interactions offered 5 questions, which were sent ahead of the call. My approach to conversations/interviews with pre-set questions is to glance over them and see if there is anything surprising that I need to research or refresh on. Otherwise, I prefer to just be present in the moment and more responsive than push out planned talking points.
When asked, “What is one piece of advice, from where you’re sitting, that will be useful in the coming 18-24 months?” – What popped up for me was the opportunity to remake choices on all the priorities and core beliefs in our lives.
Surely through the turbulence of 2020, we have all contemplated many of our thoughts and feelings, our vision, and our beliefs.
There is a heightened awareness sparked in uncertain and troubling times. This period has been far extended and still has no timeline in view, which provides a poignant inflection point and opportunity to rethink, reset and recommit.
We remain in a period of transition and we are all responding differently. That is what resonated so deeply for me as a great opportunity – now and for many months ahead. One thing is certain, what emerges on the back end will be different than the familiar patterns in place when 2020 began.
I find joy in the luxury of choice. Gratitude for having choice. My heart is heavy for those that don’t.
Things have changed, and if we haven’t felt the pain personally, certainly we feel the strife and suffering of the extraordinary mass of others. For me, this demands the hard work of exploring deep beliefs and purpose, more than surface washing thoughts and adhering to old patterns.
With tremendous shifts happening outside of me, surely, I must apply discipline to make the necessary shifts inside – preparing to best show up with clarity and purpose for myself and others in the months and years ahead. In this tumultuous time of pandemic, social upheaval, and institutional strife, it can feel like we are being tossed about without direction. I’ve been there before.
In “Believership” I write:
“As three months passed, I succumbed to the turmoil. Where would I go from here? Doubt and confusion clouded my thinking. I questioned everything from my values, beliefs, history, future, relationships…everything. It was a downward spiral that pushed me into escape. That feeling of despair seriously messed with my head, as I contemplated where I belonged. Where was “home” for me geographically, professionally, and psychologically? What churned deep inside urged me to walk away from the bulk of my life’s work, even if it alienated me from family and close relationships, the very foundation that gave my life meaning. I wanted to go somewhere alone and start over.
Existing in that unhappy state was misery, and I was miserable. I felt like everything that happened to me was out of my control. I reacted to circumstance. My innate strengths – the ability to create, my open-mindedness, my optimism – weakened. Without realizing it, I became closed-minded. As I focused on the pressures from the outside, I lost the power from the inside. Hope fought despair. Fear and doubt battled love. And perspective became cloudy. It felt like the wind was out of my sails, the waves were violently swelling, and I only saw the darkening, thunderous sky as I drifted further from shore. My navigation system was broken. I became smaller, lived in the challenge, and lost sight of what was most important; relationships, family, friends, and the potential for future impact. I lacked vision. I lost my gratitude.”
The great gift we have is the power within. The freedom of choice.
So that “one piece of advice” posed by Elatia; Choose You! The unique, authentic, revitalized YOU.