Becoming More Powerful and Finding Focus in the Face of Political Disruption
“So many people live a life of fear insidiously bubbling under the surface…never powerful enough to cause them to change, but just deep enough to get them to stay where they are, paddling in the same place for life.” – Ramit Sethi, I Will Teach You to Be Rich
I get it. Sometimes you just want to hide under a rock. Or move to where there are rocks.
This is the beginning of my inky journal entry from inauguration weekend.
I just want to move to the Rocky Mountains and that is all.
My family was on vacation thousands of miles from our hometown of Washington, D.C.
So this is what it’s like not to be in the thick of politics and information overload.
At the same time, I could not get enough of the Women’s March images. Millions in solidarity, taking to the streets in D.C. and around the world, without incident or a doubt. To make voices of resistance heard.
I should warn you.
This is my clumsy attempt to parse learning from deep disappointment and pain. I told myself: I really shouldn’t write about politics. I didn’t have the answers. Some people won’t like it.
So I tried to write about other topics.
But they refused to be written.
This is not the time for unicorns and rainbows, for business or blogging as usual.
So whether you share my political sensibility or not, I’m sharing my truth in hopes it will help you raise your voice for who and what matters to you.
The more you learn about making any kind of breakthrough, the more you realize that half your job is getting out of your own way. Disruptive politics has a lot to teach about managing our business and ourselves better.
This post will help you deal with feeling overcome by circumstances that seem out of your control and clarify priorities.
At the very least, it will tell my tale of tapping inner wisdom to steer clearer of the inclination to take on too much or shrink from what is needed now.
This is a time of urgency. No more waiting for someday. Are you with me?
The time to be who you want to be is now.
“Our deepest fear is not that we’re too inadequate it’s that we’re more powerful than we can imagine.” – Maryann Williamson
Here is what I know now about becoming more powerful:
1. Honor who you are.
Fulfilled business leaders do this by paying attention to what makes their heart beat, identifying a pathway and putting in sustained focused effort to get there (and wherever the adventure takes them).
Now finding pathways to what makes a heart beat is a particular passion of mine. I love reimagining what’s possible, especially when it appears nothing else is.
In coaching, we’re aiming for resonance, knowing, calm.
Of course, it doesn’t start out that way. Coaching is a process that creates from uncertainty, increases awareness, finds what works and moves toward a positive goal, envisioned.
I am used to turning fear and doubt into fuel for positive change.
Thing is, when internal or external conditions get “hot,” our fear mechanism goes into overdrive.
This triggers negative self-talk: It will never change. There is nothing I can do. I’m not doing enough.
What can we do? Learn to disrupt negative thinking. Get curious:
- Are you responding from a place of love or anger? (choose love!)
- What will you release that is not serving you?
- Are you adding value with your messaging or rehashing the negative?
- Who can you help?
- How can what you’re doing be “good enough?”
“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once. But of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.” – Dr. Clarrisa Pinkola Estes
We are not all cut from the same cloth. One person makes a point to tend to her garden. Another writes poetry or paints. Others lead “huddles,” donate funds, watch Netflix, smile more often, engage elected officials or run for office themselves. The list goes on and there is no one right way. Try to choose your way forward with intention. If you’re looking for reflective inspiration, you’ll be well-served to check out the writings of Melody Beattie and podcasts of Krista Tippett.
Notice the way you may be judging yourself for what you choose. The inner voice that makes you think you’re not contributing, not doing significant work, don’t have the right schooling or training, or aren’t big enough to make a difference.
Each one of us makes a difference in our own way.
2. Focus on What Matters to You. Keep it Simple. Honor Your Boundaries.
Do you know, truly know, what matters to you? This isn’t a yes or no question that can be answered in a moment. This is an inquiry, one of those expansive questions that thrives on exploration. Which is what I had to do.
I’m a compassionate person and I care about many issues. If you’re read this far, it’s likely that you are, and you do, too.
My immediate reaction to the new political climate was to consume all I could.
Read. Watch. Listen. In my free time and in moments I’d slated to be creating.
So as to not, what? Feel out of control? Be rocked and shocked by the upheaval? Well, that approach so didn’t work.
Instead, I found myself sad and drained.
Too much data consumption and distortion. It infiltrated my sleep and distracted me when I wanted to be creating and writing.
Have you found that information consumption has been distracting, distressing you too?
I cannot be responsive to every shocking revelation, and not because it doesn’t matter.
Because I matter.
I’m only as effective as I am proactive. And to be proactive, I must be selective. Honor my boundaries. This means saying no more than it means saying yes.
I am learning not to try to be everywhere, do everything at once. Better to pick a resonant place or two and be fully engaged and effective there than to be ineffective and partially engaged in too many places.
I am learning it helps to come back to center, to what matters most. Not react to every piece of news or every organization that sends me a petition to sign. No. I can’t keep up with that.
I am learning to remember. I have high values around truth, integrity, love, family, connection, freedom. I can do a few things well that have meaning for me.
Like you, I’m learning as I go. What’s had meaning for me so far?
- Making 1-5 calls each day.
- Joined a grassroots group committed to taking action together each week.
- Compiled a list of actionable resources for friends because I know the hardest part is how to get started.
- Limit my exposure to news and updates to a fraction of what it was and not before going to sleep.
- Got a massage.
- I’m making more room for self-care that includes exercise, meditation, photography, getting outside and together with friends.
We don’t need to try to be everywhere, do everything at once. Better to pick a resonant place or two and be fully engaged and effective there than to be ineffective and partially engaged in too many places.
What has resonant meaning for you?
3. Get Used to Showing Up Differently
When you entertain the call to rise up and expand who you are, you will likely run into resistance. My favorite read and re-read on the topic of resistance is The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.
More often than not, when I am stretching myself in a new direction, I’ll encounter discomfort with the unfamiliar and have at least one limiting belief swirling around why I would be better off staying as I have been. Friends, this is Resistance, cloaked and convinced it has our best interest in mind.
When I recognize resistance is running the show, it’s up to me to take the wheel, navigate exposed terrain kindly, and steer in a better direction.
I invite you to ditch the old narrative. Never considered yourself an engaged citizen, a passionate voice, a candidate for the job you want?
Time to change that.
At first taking a stand may feel unfamiliar, uncomfortable. Make no mistake. Your expertise and voice is needed. Now more than ever.
How will you show up?
Reflect how you’re being called in these turbulent times to grow yourself and others.
As an alternative to dismissive auto-replies like I couldn’t possibly or I don’t know enough, ask yourself this question: WHY NOT ME?
What are you experiencing as a result of recent political uncertainty and upheaval? What will you let go of to move forward?
Tell me: Write a comment on the blog or send me an email, I personally read every one.
How can I better support you? I’m aiming to find out!
Coming next: A survey. It’s brief – I promise! And I can’t wait to hear from YOU. With prizes for your participation. xo