First a quote: “Let us move forward with strong and active faith.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Landing on a topic which could be addressed in roughly a one-minute read this week was a much greater challenge than usual for me. My mind circled around a full gamut of possibilities, triggered in part, by my own personal minute-by-minute swings of up and down emotions connected to world events, the media coverage of COVID-19 and my own selfish tendencies as a human being.
In terms of possible themes for this week’s missive, here were several of the top contenders:
- During difficult times, leadership is about helping people focus up, out, and forward… helping people see beyond the problems of today, creating hope, building confidence and creating a brighter vision of the future.
- While “social distancing” may be wise and critically important for preventing the spread of disease, the need for “social connectedness” has never been greater, especially for those people on the fringes of society; the hungry, unemployed, underemployed, homeless and of course the elderly and frail.
- What do many people in Wuhan, Milan, New Rochelle, Seoul and Seattle all have in common besides the novel coronavirus? They are all people, human beings with families, (aging parents & children) hopes, fears, dreams, and challenges. Disease knows no boundaries, including nationality, gender, ethnicity, profession, sexual orientation or level of education.
After much consideration, I settled on a different message and that is just how important it is, for each of us, “to be our very best selves” during the days and weeks ahead.
One of the most important lessons I have learned in my life is this:
Sometimes, in my role as a parent, when my children needed me to be at my very best as a dad, I was unfortunately, at my worst. It was always easy to blame my poor behavior on stress, work, exhaustion, financial pressures, or perhaps a combination of all four of those things, plus, plus. The bottom line, I was not always “my very best self” when I needed to be and should have been.
I have learned that same lesson in my roles as a husband, friend, manager and leader. There have been times when my wife needed to be “my very best self,” when my team needed me to be “my very best self,” and unfortunately, during many of those times when I needed to be my “very best self,” I was actually at my worst.
So, how about you? And what about now? Have you been “your very best self” over the past week?
People everywhere are filled with escalating levels of fear, anxiety, concern, loneliness, and emotional distress. On top of this, the financial tolls are only just beginning to mount in wider and wider circles across all varieties of industries and businesses. It is easy to understand why we might not be at our very best, why our attitudes might be less than ideal, why we might not be the leaders we aspire to be.
My point? Each of us can help, or hurt, this situation by how we talk to each other, support each other and care about each other. We can spread fear and rumors, or compassion and concern. We can hoard toilet paper and sanitizer, or we can choose to share food and resources where they’re needed the most, with those who need them the most. This is about the choices we all make when we’re under duress. I submit genuine leadership is not selfish. Leadership is about what we choose to do for others.
Bottom line, we all need each other to be “our very best selves,” not only during this coming week, but in the weeks and months ahead. We can, and will, make it through this if each of us do our part to support those in need.
9/11 was a horrific day for all of us, especially those of us who are old enough to remember the actual day. And, the day after, 9/12, at least for me, was also a day I will never forget. People rallied around to help each other, we were united as a country, people were compassionate and kind to each other. We said hello to strangers. We asked each other, “How are you?” and cared enough to listen to the answer.
We need that compassion again. Now is the time! In what ways can you be your best self this week? What can you do, just for today? Click here to read the poem: Just for Today! Author unknown
How will you live, or lead, differently or better this coming week?
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”
Do you know someone who might benefit from this weekly leadership minute? If so, please feel free to pass along the subscription link below:
- “We are all having a ripple effect on others, the question is, what kind of ripple effect, negative or positive, do we want to have?” — The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
- “When you are living the best version of yourself, you inspire others to live the best versions of themselves.” – Steve Maraboli
- “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” ― Syrus Publilius
- “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” – Desmond Tutu
- “Don’t dwell on what is going wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward find the answer.” – Denis Waitley