On Saturday night my husband and I were hanging out watching a movie at home. Suddenly, he decided to get up and grab a snack. As Steven rose from the couch, he knocked over a glass of water, which spilled on his Mac laptop. At the same moment, a bat flew out of our fireplace and started circling above our heads.
Thankfully, our plan to turn off the lights inside our house, flip on the outside floods, and throw open the French doors to the garden worked to send the bat out into the night.
Now we had to tend to the Mac. As Steven worked to dry off his beloved computer, I ran to my daughter’s bedroom to find her magnifying glass. On my way through the kitchen, I discovered an army of thousands of ants marching in procession to overtake our cat’s food bowl. Although it was a total gross out, Steven picked up the dish, threw it down the sink, and vacuumed up the ants.
In just a few moments, our wonderfully peaceful evening at home had gone bat-shit and back again.
When things become overwhelming, we often look for someone or something to blame, when what we should be doing is letting go--surrendering to what’s happening, managing the chaos one step at a time, and having faith that things will get better.
Fearless leaders don’t ask, “Why is this happening to me?” They say, “Why not me?” and manage what they can. If you’re prone to trying to control everyone and everything around you, then you may be scratching your head right about now. If that’s the case, I’ve got some questions to ask you:
• Do you do things for others that they can do for themselves?
• Do you feel resentful toward any of your employees or co-workers?
• Has your need to control created conflict in your work relationships?
• Do you feel utterly exhausted trying to keep it all together?
• Have you had enough and you’re trying to find a way out?
If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, then it’s time for you to move into acceptance of what is and resist believing that eventually everything will be “normal.” Forget normal. It’s an illusion.
Embrace the moment and move forward fearlessly. Whatever you’ve been handed, you can handle. Just don’t fight it--go with it. Empower your team--convince them that they can rise to the occasion. Stop yourself from doing their job for them. Allow them to support you instead.
When you feel like there are bats swarming overhead, ants invading your workspace, and all your best intentions are being doused with water, do what you can to get through the situation gracefully. Tell yourself over and over that you have the right stuff and don’t compromise who you are for a quick fix. If you stay present and let things unfold, you’ll learn something about yourself--most likely that you are courageous and honorable. What more is there?
Fearless leaders know that in any difficult situation there is something to learn and a chance to grow.