This episode is a celebration albeit a somber celebration. At the time of the release of this episode on March 25, 2020 we are 14 days into the Coronavirus or COVID-19 being declared a pandemic.
The information we are getting from the news is startling, especially as we are all coming to grips with the fact that this isn’t going to pass in just 2-4 weeks, like we may have originally hoped.
Things are very uncertain but we cannot stop doing the very things that continue to develop us and remind us of our humanity and our connection to one another.
Let’s do some celebrating, then I’ve got some information that may help you get through the coming months.
The Women Taking the Lead podcast is 5 years old! The official launch date of Women Taking the Lead was March, 25 2015.
Here are some numbers for you.
Most podcast don’t go beyond 10 episodes and it’s uncommon to make it to 100 episodes. This episode is the 385th episode of Women Taking the Lead.
There have been over 687,000 downloads in 176 different countries. We are only 313,000 away from hitting one million downloads.
Those numbers are amazing and I want to be clear that what this represents to me is community. And you, my community, while you have been listening to this podcast and sharing your thoughts and ideas, I‘ve been listening to you. Many of the best ideas I’ve gotten for this podcast and my business have come from you. I cannot thank you enough.
Thank you for your feedback, thank you for sharing this podcast with your friends, family and colleagues and thank you for listening!
While I will continue to celebrate and feel all the good feelings that come with hitting this milestone, it would not be an episode of Women Taking the Lead if I didn’t address the elephant in the room
You are under a lot of stress right now and could probably use some support. Being a high achiever, that’s probably hard for you to come to grips with – unless you’ve already had a meltdown. In which case, you can no longer hide or deny you need help.
I want to offer you some support by giving you some tips on dealing with the uncertainty and the changes that you are taking on to keep our most vulnerable loved ones safe.
We joke, and I’ve seen several memes on social media, about all we have to do is stay home. And yes, what we need to do or not do is easy to understand and execute but it is going to take a toll on you.
And for those of you who are leaders, it’s going to be even more important for you to take care of yourself, because you need to continue to show up and communicate with your people. They need your direction, your empathy and your steadfastness now more than ever. You must, you must, you must take care of yourself and your mindset to deliver on this.
The thing that steals most of your focus and energy is the mental stress of being out of a normal routine, and dealing with uncertainty and bad news.
How you mitigate stress is by changing your perspective, or the focus of your attention.
If you are struggling with all the uncertainty and have not yet read Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, now is the time to do it. You don’t have to walk into a store or wait for a delivery. You can download it on your Kindle reader or buy the audiobook.
If you have read Man’s Search for Meaning now may be the time to review it.
Man’s Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl’s memoirs of his life during the Holocaust. He had survived, having spent three years in four different concentration camps. He noticed that those who were most likely to survive were those who could find some meaning in the experience.
Frankl believes meaning can be found through creativity and work, human interaction and experiences, and the manner in which we respond to suffering. Many survivors of the holocaust had coped with their experience by reminding themselves they didn’t want to disappoint relatives who were dead or separated from them, by helping others or, as Viktor Frankl did, to try to find the beauty in his environment.
If you feel guilty because you are trying to find positives in the devastation, I want you to let the guilt go because, it’s okay to do that. It’s what is getting you through this and it’s a good thing. I know you also see the reality; you’re not ignoring it. What you are doing is preventing yourself from being mentally and emotionally disabled by it.
You won’t be good to anyone if you are constantly watching the news, getting overwhelmed by all you see, and becoming too fatigued to cope.
It feels like doom and gloom but we are also seeing and hearing about people who are stepping up to help their neighbors and communities to address the challenges. I’ve seen businesses come up with creative ways to stay open and continue to provide services. I think this is why Kitty O’Meara’s poem has struck a chord with so many of us. It’s unlikely you haven’t read it somewhere by now but for those of you who haven’t heard this poem yet…
By Kitty O'Meara
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
It’s okay to recognize the positives. This is how we take advantage of opportunities. Adopting a woe-is-me attitude so as to not offend other people will not help anyone. Be sensitive to what other people are going through and recognize there are good things happening all over the world and you can be a part of it.
I am continuing to get new clients. I have passed 3 referrals to other business owners in the past few days that will turn into business. Yes, we are already seeing an economic downturn and it will have consequences but we will get through this and we will recover. We’ll do this together.
When things are turbulent, having a coach can make a difference. There’s no shame in getting extra support and accountability so that you are thriving in such a difficult time. I’m seeing too many leaders who are struggling, not asking for help, and it’s having a detrimental effect on those around them. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if this sounds like a good option for you. I’m here to support you if you want the support.
In times like these, when so many things feel out of our control, and they are, I lean into the Serenity Prayer. Stress comes when we either deny the power we have in a situation, and render ourselves victims to our circumstances, or we try to assert power we don’t have, which only causes us frustration.
To bottom-line it, stress will typically come from one of two things:
In the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can follow the CDC guidelines on hygiene and social distancing. You can shop for your elderly or medically vulnerable neighbors. You can buy gift cards from your local establishments. You can reach out to family and friends to see how they are doing. You can think about developing new streams of income. You can get 30 minutes of exercise in each day. The list could go on and on. Find what you have control over and take action. That will relieve stress and refuel your energy stores.
Alternatively, let go of trying to control things you don’t have control over. You can make sure the people you know are informed on proper protocols, and pass along tips for self-care, but you can’t force them to adopt them. And let me be clear, if you are getting upset it is because you are frustrated that you cannot control their behavior. What you can do is bless them, pray for them, and do what you need to do to take care of yourself. As long as you have done what is in your power to do, for your own sanity you need to make peace with the rest.
Here’s the Serenity Prayer to help you with that.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next. Amen.
I’m struck by the line in that prayer that reads, “Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.”
Now, it is my own belief that the world is not sinful, it is mistaken – but let’s not get tripped up by that word. If you read the line without the word “sinful” it reads:
“Taking, as He did, this world as it is, not as I would have it.”
The world is what it is. This is the world we’ve got. Railing against the fact that it should be different doesn’t do you any good. Taking action to make positive changes, that is completely in your power. But you have to first accept that the world is the way it is before you can make a meaningful difference. That means first seeing things factually, unemotionally, and without judgment.
The world is neither good nor bad, right nor wrong. It is what it is.
Now, from this non-judgmental perspective ask yourself, “What would I like to infuse into the world?”
At the end of each episode I send you off with a Marianne Williamson quote with a little jingle playing in the background. Today it feels appropriate to just read it for you now.
By Marianne Williamson
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us;
It's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
Thank you for making this 5-year journey so joyful and memorable. We are in this together. Here’s to Our success!
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