The Path Ahead.

It will have direction and shape –
IF you have done the work!

“There are times when you have to take bold steps. Make up your mind; know where you are going and never waffle. Many wonderful opportunities are missed by those who are indecisive. In times when you have to take bold steps; take them fearlessly.” Eileen Caddy

As you stand at the edge of the diving board when learning to dive, toes curled, it is better to take the plunge, rather than just contemplate what comes next. You have to ‘do’ something., With practice, you will improve. This seems to be an appropriate metaphor for these times, be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual work – that we are needing to practice. There is no map – we are now the creators of our journey, and it takes both courage and patience.

Patience can be a challenge for some of us.

I certainly relate to learning patience. Last week, due to little use during lockdown, my car ended up with a flat battery. After a wait of two and half hours, Road Services arrived and, within 15 minutes, with new battery installed, I was ready to hit the road again. I used the “wait-time” to listen to a podcast, I cleaned out old emails and ‘patience’ enabled me to not get frustrated. The Right use of energy and attention to what is important takes practice.

Right here, right now, you are experiencing “history in the making” and “making history” all at the same time. This is a major transformation on so many levels. Life, at times, will feel like you are learning to dance backwards – in very high heels. To quote Ginger Rogers. “Brace yourself for the old reality as it breaks down.” Times of turmoil and change present opportunities.

Sometimes things have to break down in order for ‘new ways of being’ to emerge and be accepted. The old order must pass away for it serves us no more…Having the poise to stand tall, and, at times, stand still allows us the grace to grow into the new. Moving from ego self-obsession to eco-focus requires a different paradigm, a different mindset.

In these times, we are all being asked to wisely choose the path into whatever our next committed endeavour may be and whatever impact we choose to make.

During such a historic and, on so many levels unusual time, it may even seem self-centred to ask how you’re fine-tuning your unique gifts and purpose. Yet, as the world begins to re-open, In order to be a voice of wisdom and an advocate for a transformed, and healthier planet when we reemerge, this inquiry is essential!

You might wonder exactly how you will rise and regenerate yourself as we all gear up for a gradual exit from this period of pause and containment.

Why not use this pivotal period to your advantage — reimagining and generating the most empowered version of yourself and your life?

The same goes for individuals, communities, organisations, societies and even countries. Last week New Zealand as a society, embarked in a collaborative engagement through “VisionNZ#” – a week where citizens, business leaders, economists and thought leaders, from all walks of life contributed to how New Zealand could be post-COVID. Interactive dialogue, circles and communique elicited ideas as well as actions, to be implemented and addressed over the next months.

Any change requires deep listening, moving from fixed positions, a willingness to see different perspectives, holding ambiguity and being comfortable to not have all the answers. It also requires “Right Action” – asking each of us to focus on what is important.

A wonderful recent example of an individual and indeed a company who has demonstrated this is Marcario – the behind-the-scenes leader at Patagonia. Once content to let Chouinard (the Founder) be the face of the company, as the assault on the environment both accelerated and became more egregious under the Trump administration, Marcario became more vocal and increased her public profile.

“This isn’t the time to be lazy, to be reserved, to be complicit, to be quiet,” she once said. “We’re living in a time when it’s so important for business to drive this new economy, this new view, this aspirational future of business as a force for good. Because what we’ve seen in the last 25 years has been business as a force for evil.”

The partnership between Chouinard and Marcario evolved over the years and created an extraordinary alchemy that pushed them both in their thinking and willingness to make audacious moves. It’s an alchemy that will not be easily replaced or replicated. In a bold move during COVID, Marcario determined that she is not the right one to lead the company out of this crisis. The way Marcario prepared the company to move on without her (and having the courage to find her new path), is a testament to Marcario’s legacy.

Over the past four weeks, I have been asking clients what are they learning about themselves and their leadership during this time and what is their path ahead?

One of my female clients’ response: “I can lead through a crisis! Resilience and energy has been tested and I have, at times, found myself disengaged with the Executive team who have only known “good times”.” This is when operating in a bubble can come back to bite, whether that is in Silicon Valley, Australia, New Zealand or Europe. If we have not had the experience in shaking up our mental circuity, our beliefs and our worldview, then it is challenging to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.

We are being guided to:
– Value curiosity over familiarity.
– Integrate new perspectives into a bigger Inner Map.
– Switch from Outside/In Thinking to Inside/Out Thinking.
And most importantly – to make the distinction between Information and Wisdom.

These times beckon us to cross our threshold in order to re-imagine how and why we work. Anyone who plans on surviving and thriving will need to reinvent themselves.

This is the time to make your choices based on your Dharma – your true calling, your path ahead.

• What is your Path Ahead calling you to do?

• What do you need to let go of to lighten your load?