Just when we were getting comfortable with the post-pandemic situation, the second wave of lockdown hit us. It came as a reminder that if there is any constant in this world, it is “change.”
Embracing change is a prime quality of any leader. But what we forget is that leaders are first humans, and as humans, we find it hard to accept change. It brings us out of our comfort zone and sends us into the unknown, introducing us to all kind of fears. So, how do we adapt to these changes and prepare ourselves to brace the post-pandemic changes?
Before I get there, let’s take a moment to look at the word ‘leadership’ closely. One main quality that differentiates a leader from others is the ease and openness with which they choose to face the unknown. Leadership may or may not be a trait that you are born with. But it’s certainly a trait that you can learn and develop.
What you need to be equipped with to face the unforeseen, is practice. Practice and training your mind can go a long way in making you a better and stronger leader. Here are the four things that I encourage you to practice consciously to change with changing times:
Mindfulness simply means to be in the present moment, every moment.
In simple terms, mindfulness means being in the present moment, and there are many ways to do that. You could choose to bring in moments of silence so you could simply be with your breath. You could choose to meditate or take a walk while absorbing the entire experience of your surroundings (Zen walk). Choose any medium of mindfulness that brings you to the present moment and helps you experience the existing beauty of that moment.
Being kind to yourself is more important than extending kindness to the people around you.
Self-compassion is about extending compassion to your own self. Reminding yourself that you’re not alone in scenarios that are external to you. Being kind to yourself is more important than extending kindness to the people around you. After all, an empty glass cannot be used to quench anyone else’s thirst. So, it is important to fill yourself up first to be able to serve others better.
If we want to prepare ourselves to be more resilient, we need to start facing those fears every single day.
Yes, that requires practice too. It is fairly easy to escape our fears and run away from them. But, if we want to prepare ourselves to be more resilient, we need to start facing those fears every single day. The simplest way to do that is to expose yourself to things that scare you, in small doses. For example, if you have a fear of public speaking, you might want to try talking a bit in meetings and then addressing a small gathering. Slowly, you may want to step up and challenge those fears. One small step towards facing your fear is the only way to overcome it.
Educating yourself is your own responsibility, but it shouldn’t be limited to your comfort zone.
It is not a question of how old, experienced, or successful we are. Learning is about being curious to know a lot more than what we already know. Widening your canvas is about making a conscious effort to go deeper into topics that you were least aware of. Educating yourself is your own responsibility, but it shouldn’t be limited to your comfort zone. Learning is about carving a learning path for yourself.
Read a book on your subject or attend a course in the time available to you. Find out what are the other topics that you know very little about, and find resources and credible sources that can take you further and deeper into them. The more you know about things around you, the more prepared you will be to adapt them and use them when the time is right.
Preparing ourselves for the unpredictable is the only way for us to see the other end of the tunnel. As they say, preparing for tomorrow begins today, outside of your comfort zone. So, take the first step now. Immerse yourself in widening and deepening your leadership canvas with new learning. Begin here.
Originally published May 1, 2021