I feel as if we are witnessing history in the making. It’s both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Ordinary people are standing up with enormous amounts of courage and conviction.
They are saying what needs to be said – that Black Lives Matter. They are doing what needs to be done in order to bring about much needed change in our society. This is the hard work of racial equality, of social justice, of democracy, of leadership.
The kind of systemic change that we seek will demand much higher levels of leadership and accountability, and not just from our elected officials and public servants, but from each and every one of us. The return to peace and prosperity that we are desperately seeking at this time will require each of us to reexamine our beliefs, and change our behaviors and interactions with each other.
Remember we are not only fighting the coronavirus, but we are threatened by a racism virus that has plagued our world for far too long. In order to win the battle against both these “invisible enemies” we must work together in solidarity. We will need more courage and conviction. And we definitely need more fair and fearless leaders.
Are You a Fearless Leader?
By fearless I don’t mean the complete absence of fear. You know, what we see portrayed in Hollywood action movies starring Tom Cruise or Will Smith taking on the zombies or good guys turned bad, guns blazing, take-the-hill at any cost, maverick-warrior types. No. That’s not what I mean. I mean the type of fearless leader that is best described by Nelson Mandela in this famous quote:
Clearly, a fearless leader must have ample amounts of courage. And I think a fearless leader must possess other important attributes, skills and ability, many of which are developed while facing hardship and adversity.
In my mind, a fearless leader is someone who is committed to finding a way forward no matter the obstacles. Grounded in reality, a fearless leader is calm, focused, and steadfast, and also hopeful for the future. A fearless leader is someone who puts service above self, listens to and respects others, invites diversity of thinking, is open to feedback and wants to be challenged in order to be a better leader. A fearless leader practices mindfulness, and embraces diversity and inclusion as a way of life. A fearless leader is also fully committed to their team and takes personal responsibility for things that happen on their watch.
That’s a lot to live up to. But that’s the kind of fearless leader that I want to aspire to be. How about you?
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
In her seminal book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway (first published in 1987) author Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. helps to explain that underneath all of our fears is the belief that we cannot handle what life throws our way. In order to lessen the fear we must gain more trust in our ability to handle whatever comes our way.
Dr. Jeffers believed that “if something is troubling you, simply start from where you are and take the action needed to change it.” One of the things she encourages her readers to do is to build trust in yourself until you reach the point where you can say, “Whatever happens to me, however awful, I CAN HANDLE IT.”
This may sound like hocus pocus, but it’s an empowering belief that will support you and your team through times of adversity and hardship.
I remember when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011. I was shocked, scared, completely taken off guard, and full of fear. But as I moved rapidly through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), I was able to lessen the grip of fear from this invisible enemy called cancer and I found a way forward. I am happy to report that I am now 9 years survived. And looking back, I have to say that my cancer experience was one of the most profound learning and development experiences I have ever had. It made me feel like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Having survived cancer, I am a cancer warrior. I am fearless.
But what about COVID-19 and the economic recession? Can I survive that? What about my business, with all the cancellations, delays, clients cutting discretionary spending. Damn! I didn’t realize that my services fell into the discretionary spending category. Ouch.
What to do now? Take a break until things come back on line? Hit the pause button? Wait and see?
No way! That is the exact opposite of what we should be doing now.
Make a Fearless Choice
During extraordinary and difficult times like these we do have a choice. We have a choice in HOW we respond. We can hunker down and wait it out, or meet it head on and use it as a learning and development opportunity. I choose the latter and I invite you to join me in rising to the occasion.
That’s why I am delighted to announce the launch of my new program The Fearless Leader which is designed to generate the momentum you’ll need to get your business, team and career back on track. I invite you to apply for the program.
The goal of The Fearless Leader 8-week group mentoring program is to fortify your leadership so that you can persevere and pave the way forward. This transformational experience can help to strengthen your resolve, sharpen your leadership skills, and ready you and your team for renewed opportunity and growth.
As a participant in The Fearless Leader 8-week group mentoring program, you will come away with more tenacity, greater resilience, and stronger leadership capabilities. We will dive deep on a number of leadership topics to accelerate your progress and readiness to lead more fearlessly.