What Have I Learned?
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
The last several weeks have certainly been unusual. Things in our world went from somewhat predictable and routine to completely unpredictable, and all of our routines changed. While we would never wish for a time like this, we all have a choice to make. We can go through this challenging time, or we can grow through this challenging time. Please note that none of us get the choice of skipping this challenging time. Going through the challenge is surrendering to living in fear and reaction. It’s working to merely mitigate the losses and try to survive. Growing through the challenge, on the other hand, is taking ownership of our future, embracing the situation, and leveraging it as a catapult to greater opportunity and the new you. Early on, I determined to grow through this. Please don’t think that I am some superhuman leadership guru. I am blessed to have people who are ahead of me on my growth journey and are willing to take me along. They are my mentors, coaches, and friends. Let me share a few things that I have learned.
- I learned a great deal about fear. I have been experiencing fear for my entire 58 years of living. I assume that I will continue to experience fear until I exhale my final breath. Fear is normal, needed, and can be a great motivator. Fear can also paralyze us, and it thrives in the darkness of a lack of awareness. During the first full week of working from home, I spent some time learning from my coaching mentor Christian Simpson. He shared that our fear is a product of our thinking, and by changing our thinking, we can change our fears. This was brilliant! I know what you are thinking, “I can’t believe he didn’t know that already.” Well, I didn’t, but now I do, and I also realized that if we shine the light of truth and awareness on the fears, they aren’t so scary. In fact, this process allows us to shift from reaction to positive, forward-thinking action.
- When things are going well, we can look long term and make plans that are far in the distance. In challenging times, we need to shorten up our line of sight. Put today at the forefront of our thinking. When things are constantly shifting, it doesn’t make sense to have long-range or even mid-range goals. Make your decisions based on what is needed right now, today. Base your decisions on your values rather than your emotions. Don’t focus on making a sale; focus on building a more positive and rewarding relationship. What do you want to be remembered for when the challenging time passes?
- I learned how to teach virtual classes and how to host virtual events. As a speaker and trainer, I feed off the expressions of the attendees. My first teaching in an empty room with only a camera was stressful, to say the least, but I did it, and it worked. I was used to asking questions and following the path of the answers. Through this experience, I learned that I need to have more details related to my content and to speak slower than normal. I recently asked for some feedback on a virtual class, and this is what I received, “You do an exceptional job of keeping the material interesting with the class engaged….even though it may not seem it when you don’t get the participation level at times (crickets). You manage the silent dead space with ease as it seems natural to you.” It’s a good thing I didn’t ask for feedback after my first class. I guess I am learning.
- One of my mentors is reminding me to take care of myself. He shared that he walks four to five miles per day and uses the time to think through his newest content. I need to be honest here and say that I am struggling with my work/life balance. Since I started working from home, the lines between work and home have been blurred. It’s very easy to slip back into my office after dinner and work another hour or two. Since I love what I do and feel that it makes a difference, I quickly forget about the other responsibilities that I have in my life. Spending time with family and taking time to go outside and exercise fall to the bottom of the list. If you have any advice for me, please share it. We learn from each other.
If you would like to hear more of what I am learning, please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 151 of The Next Page podcast as we both share new things that we have learned over the last several weeks.