When I am presenting on a session, in particular around planning, I ask my clients what they want to get out of the day, their reply is usually “I want to be better at time management or planning my time better.” or “I want to feel more in control”.
This always makes me smile because I know that they are in control, but just can’t see it.
If you look at our current environment, there’s so much change. The hot topic at the coffee cart is complaining about the disruption, restructures and new ways of doing things.
People want to go back to the ‘way things were’.
Here’s a thought, what if the ‘way things were’ was disruption, restructures and a new way of doing things but we were just a little bit more nimble and flexible and less set in our ways and thrived on change.
A fact: Our brains like order. Our brains work from a system of habits, ones we have created or were passed down from our parents or people around us. These ‘habits‘ according to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habits “are responsible for 40% of everything we do each day” to make us feel safe and in control. Therefore, when things feel out of order, our brain creates stories to help guide us back into a habit we have formed – a safe space.
Sometimes when one area of your life is out of order, it feels like all areas are out of control, but usually, this is because our brain focuses on the chaos, not the calm, it’s our automatic response for protection.
In all my 40 years, I’ve not known a time without change. I remember people talking about the 60’s hippie years, the 70’s anti-war, 80’s birth of computers, 90’s Y2K, and now AI is coming. I don’t think there’s ever been a time when things have been ‘normal’ there’s always been some sort of chaos that shaped us and some kind of system that made us feel safe.
Our real discoveries come from chaos, from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.” ― Chuck Palahniuk
Change is the norm, it always has been, we do, however, is create spaces; friendships, jobs, and communities give us the perception that we have some sort of order.
The problem is when we can’t see what is in the order we think everything is out of order.
We have to find our anchor.
That place that helps us feel safe. When work feels out of it’s up to us to identify what feels safe, then it shifts your perception, and you can handle the shifts and changes.
When we feel out of control, we get fearful. We often look to our managers, peers and leaders to create a safe space and feeling for us, if they don’t we get resentful and start talking about it, then feeding the fear. More damage is done by talk than by trying to find solutions to our own fear.
What if instead of talking about how wrong everything is, we talk out how we might find solutions to today’s chaos and find calm within the current work environment.
No one is full proof from change, change is inevitable; it’s how you deal with change that makes or breaks you as a leader. You can lead this from any level of the business.
You have within you everything you need to find your anchor. When you have your anchor, you’re more likely to find solutions to the issues you’re having in your organisation or with the people around you and you can show them how to find theirs.
Here’s where to start:
Write a list of everything that is you feel is out of order and what you think is in order, and then from there, you’ll find the anchor that helps you conquer any challenge.
This is leadership. It starts with you.