“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”–John Maxwell
There are times in life, both personally and professionally, where circumstances can change at such a rapid speed that our opinions, perspectives, and course of action can change at an equally rapid pace. When faced with such circumstances, there are generally three groups of people:
- Those who take reflective and action-oriented responses to mitigate the challenges and seize opportunities
- Those who panic and have responses that only exacerbate the challenges
- Those who take no action acting as “deer in the headlights”
As leaders, we have an obligation to do all we can to put ourselves in the first group. People who take reflective and action-oriented responses to mitigate challenges and seize opportunities presented to us. When there is so much we cannot control, what can we do?
How can we capitalize on the chaos and emerge stronger, both as a leader and as an organization?
Step 1: Manage the Extremes
With all that seems to divide the world today, it turns out that we might not be as far apart as it seems. It’s popular for media outlets to hang their brand on the extreme sides of issues. No longer are media outlets just a 30-minute daily segment or a newspaper on your doorstep, but instead, social media has become the source of news for us. With that shift, it also means now that news is a commodity with media outlets fighting for clicks and viewership. Extreme headlines are now competing for your business, and extremes are GREAT for business.
It is essential to realize that most issues are not problems to be solved, but rather are polarities to be managed. There are usually no solutions without some added problem as a result. It is important to understand that continuum, evaluate both intended and unintended outcomes, and recognize that almost everything is gray. Most individuals would declare that they want things like the freedom to assemble and free speech, but they also want safety. If we sacrifice all our freedoms, it is easy to establish order and security. If we don’t sacrifice any freedoms, then the security we crave is impossible. Thus, there is no perfect solution to any problem you face in life.
Seeing this as a polarity management issue versus a right/wrong approach shifts our paradigm and allows all to better understand each other’s perspectives. It is impossible to hold two opposing views simultaneously in a world that needs optimization over perfection.
Step 2: Defeat Your Imposter Syndrome
When faced with a new crisis, many of us harbor a dirty little secret –that deep down inside, we have no idea what we are doing. Many high achievers can feel like complete frauds and that their accomplishments are just the result of serendipitous luck. People say that one of the secrets to success is to “fake it until you make it,” but this leads to Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is a feeling of inadequacy despite evidence that indicates you’re skilled and quite successful.
Here’s the good news about Imposter Syndrome: Although you might be leading a team through unchartered waters and unsure, you are completely in control of where you choose to step. You are completely in control of your voice, your message to others, and your attitude. Recognize that perfectionism and Imposter Syndrome are often a related pair. Many high-performing individuals set excessively high goals for themselves and have a hint of a “control freak” within their personality. In times of uncertainty, it may feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, so distribute the weight. Find other leaders who are also leading through unchartered waters and learn from them. Create opportunities by delegating responsibilities, and don’t expect immediate perfection from others. Remember that you are better than you think you are, smarter than you think you are, and more worthy than you believe. Defeat Imposter Syndrome one opportunity at a time.
Step 3: The Choice In Front of You
In times of the unknown, protect your mind. Whether it be an acquisition, new leadership, economic uncertainty, or global turmoil, people tend to experience greater anxiety when they feel like they don’t have access to the information that they need. At the same time, that sense of panic can stem from being immersed 24/7 in an overly negative news cycle saying, “Why is this happening?” or “What can we do? ”
The quest for certainty is a quest for comfort. The answer lies in a person rather than a thing. People in our lives are what truly shape us. When times are good, people know who we are, but in times of adversity, we TRULY know them. Choose to be the kind of person you would want in your life when you face personal adversity. Choose empathy over judgment. Choose optimism over pessimism. Choose to give overtaking. Choose to be the person that makes others feel better. Choose to be with people who make you a better “you”.
Most of us spend as much time with our co-workers as we do with our closest family and friends. What if all of us made a concerted effort to be the best version of ourselves when around others? What if we all treated each other the way that we wanted to be treated? What if we could become the comfort we all seek?
Times of adversity shape who you will become but also expose who you are now. Diamonds are just chunks of coal that did well under pressure. In times of chaos, Be the Diamond
Finding Talent That Makes a Difference
Whether you are a Diamond or need a Diamond, we can help. With over 90 years of Logistics experience, Top Talent is a recognized leader in Talent Acquisition for Logistics, Transportation, and Supply Chain., Let us put our team to work for you. To learn more about successful strategies for getting those impact players and game-changers on your team, reach out to us today.
– Michael Monson
Top Talent LLC
President and CEO