For many, the start of the new decade has certainly not been calm – especially for those of us living in parts of Australia where we have been challenged with devastating bush fires.
They seem never ending, and are certainly not finished yet in their ferocity. The stories and images of the destruction of fauna, flora, livestock, homes and livelihoods have been difficult for many of us to comprehend and we have had to deal with an array of emotions. Shock, grief, fear and courage.
For those of us observing the unwavering determination, courage and resilience of the ‘fireys’ at the front line – men and women who have been out there, day after day (for many since late September) – fighting these horrific and unrelenting fires, it has been one of immense gratitude and awe.
In my December blog I unwittingly referred to a new calm after the chaos of 2019. For many, 2019 was at times one of chaos, of challenges and being asked to confront that which is out of balance in our lives – then. Little did I realise that this chaos would be intensified in 2020 – and certainly not to the level it has for many of us!
Glennon Doyle states “Life it is brutal but it’s also beautiful” “brutiful” as she calls it. “They are woven so tightly together that they cannot be separated. Reject the brutal, reject the beauty. Embrace both and live hard and well and real.”
These words made me reflect on how we deal with catastrophic events and with crises in our lives.
• Do we try to hold onto the trodden path or do we embrace the sideways elevators changing our reality from one moment to the next, clearing the path for our new creations?
• How do we hold our centre in these times?
Finding the resolve within is essential, for if that is missing, it is very difficult to make wise choices which serve firstly ourselves, and also the wider community.
For those in communities impacted by the fires, making that decision to stay or leave is not just for themselves, but their families and their community. Even if thoroughly prepared, the unknown can occur. The unknown takes us to another level of decision making – critical thinking, not just creative thinking. Both are necessary, and we need to develop our creative thinking capacity in order to think differently – to look at things from many perspectives and balance this with sound critical thinking. The latter (sound critical thinking) seems to be missing in many situations.
These recent climatic events highlight the need for us to seed something much more progressive it seems, if we are to learn their lessons and take responsibility for our decisions, both individually andcollectively.
It most certainly is a time when we have seen some ‘stand tall’, and where others have failed the mark.
Shane Fitzsimmons, NSW Rural Fire Services (RFS) Commissioner is someone who has stepped up and taken responsibility. “Stood Tall”. A calm measured voice amongst the shrill. He has answered the wake up call which is summoning all of us – to full integrity, maturity and discipline.
There is nothing you can do in this life that has any power at all, unless it involves taking responsibility. Taking responsibility is taking power!2020 also appears to be a year of transformation.
Transformation isn’t sweetness and light, but an unravelling off the untruths, the debris – a complete uprooting before becoming. If we don’t listen and avoid responsibility then it will be an even harder journey.
I was interested to read that IKEA has made a bold commitment to reduce more greenhouse gases than its entire value chain creates, and to hit that milestone in less than a decade. One-third of its footprint comes from the materials used to make its furniture, so, a key part of the company’s climate strategy will mean changing how it makes its furniture. It will also include altering what its customers do with it when it is done. The company currently uses 18 million cubic metres of wood – that is enough to fill 7,200 Olympic sized swimming pools every year! It is no mean feat to change this. The solution will require both creative and critical thinking, changing its customers perception from cheap, disposable pieces to educating them about reuse and recycling. Will it be able to revolutionise how people use its products in time to hit is ambitious goal?
I, for one, applaud the initiative. Patagonia, whilst on a smaller scale, managed this very successfully some years back. It takes bold leadership. The shift – from a focus on “profit and growth at all costs” to a more systemic focus, where regenerative and responsible thinking and actions from and for society – will support us to navigate these times of required changes.
Responsibility is key.
I was discussing this with a client, whose company’s achieved 20-28% growth each quarter over the past two years, and shared that it is about each individual in the organisation taking responsibility, of developing their capacity for both creative and critical thinking and understanding the true value they each bring to the customer, the end user. Not focusing on achieving the numbers but on increasing their ‘value’, to their internal stakeholders as well as their external stakeholders. Realising the ‘mindtraps’ they fall into when the levels of complexity increases. One thing that he has embraced has been ‘mindfulness’ and his ability to self-regulate in increasing complexity. He is guiding his people to do the same.
This is leading to engage.
As Brene Brown says in her book “Dare to Lead” – it requires brave work, tough conversations, whole hearts.
The latter being crucial.
• How do you intend to take responsibility in 2020?
• What are you willing to eliminate and let go of that is no longer true for who you are now?
• What old narrative might prevent you from Standing Tall?
This is not a one-off dramatic event, it is just the start of a chain of dominos toppling.
The Tall Journey starts when you take the first step on your journey.
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