Every Monday morning since the COVID crisis began, our CTLF Board of Advisors has been meeting over Zoom for one hour to talk about the challenges we face, listen to one another, and share insights. Together, we have processed the shock and trauma of being plunged into crisis…been vulnerable with one another about our struggle to navigate the unknown…made big shifts in our personal priorities, routines, and daily structures…and gleaned powerful insights to take with us into the future. Perhaps some of the questions we asked ourselves and themes we discovered will resonate with you and help you on your journey.
- In late March and April, our discussions centered around, “What are the difficult decisions you are making right now?”, “How are you?” and “What are you going to do to adapt to the future?” In the early weeks, the contrast between those who experienced the absolute devastation of their industries and those whose companies remained relatively steady was profound.
- In May, we wrestled with dichotomy between our desire for normalcy and the realization that there is much about the “old normal” we no longer want back. We asked questions like, “What do you want the future to look like?” and “What habits do you want to create during this time?” as well as “What are you letting go of that no longer serves you?” It became evident that the rush-rush tyranny of the urgent that led to some of our success in seasons passed came at the expense of deeper, more meaningful thinking. In the midst of the heaviness we felt, we clung to the opportunity to live in love, curiosity and optimism.
- As we began to plan for a future tied to an unknown world, we held onto notions like “Don’t waste a good crisis.” “Calm is contagious.” and “Vulnerability is strength.”
- After months of living without the sense of control we once felt, it seemed evident that control may have been an illusion anyway. We began to embrace a more flexible and open, less rigid, and deeply present way of living. After all, “you always get your way if you have more than one way!” A few of us realized that in ways big and small, we experienced a jolting detox from our addition to the constant action that once defined our lives.
- When race issues and the unrest and inequality of our world entered our conversations in June, we began talking more about transformation and change. We asked ourselves, “What is one step you are taking right now, to walk towards the future you desire?” After all, ‘purposeful action taken one step at a time’ is the only way to make real change. We allowed ourselves to thoughtfully consider, “Where does self-sabotage and doubt stop us?” and “How do we sometimes get in our own way?”
With the ever-present reality that many are still suffering personally and are in the fight to keep their companies alive and grieving the loss of treasured team members, the common language we share at CTLF of relationship (even kinship) and service worth holding tightly in the midst of the storm.
At the end of the day, we all choose to point our proverbial boats towards the horizon in the direction of our choosing, and we get to decide what we will do with the time given. Our reflections remind us that FOCUS, ACTION, GRATITUDE, and GRACE take us far in our journey as leaders. What questions will you ask yourself, so that your roots are deep and ready to handle any storm life brings you?
Co-authored with Christopher Leach, Founder & President, Contract Furnishings and CTLF Board of Advisors Member
“Your life doesn’t transform by consuming insights, but by testing them.”
~ Jason Goldberg