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The rules game have changed (again). We know that Covid-19 has flipped the world order on its head and our 2020 roadmaps were torn apart. We also know that people are feeling less connected to their friends, family, teams and clients and there is an urgent call for leaders to do all they can to keep their people and their livelihoods as safe as realistically possible.

The immediacy of their action today will demonstrate they are truly serving their people in the here and now. This means bringing more heart and empathy into their leadership and give people the opportunity to share their concerns and feel like they can eventually have some control over their lives and future. The sooner the better.

But it is not just up to the leaders to take action.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to be more courageous, compassionate and caring – first to themselves and then to each other.

Not easy, right? And it is probably not something you bargained for at this stage of your life. But then again, who would sign up for this at any stage of life, right? But here we all are. Signed up, or not, single or not, employed or not, secure or not. For the first time in history the world is synchronous in its experience. And while we may be in the same boat we are certainly in the same storm.

And if you’re wondering how you can continue to stay strong, resilient and emerge stronger perhaps the words of a five year old may be the words you need to hear right now so you can emerge stronger. Here’s what I learnt from my five year old grandson.

A while back in Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula, Sammy and I watched in delight as big kids effortlessly glided from bar to bar with ease and confidence. I knew he was imagining what it would be like for him and by the look on his face I knew it wouldn’t be long before he mustered up the courage to try. I didn’t expect it to be so immediate, though I got to tell you!

Now if you are someone who loved the monkey bars as a child you will probably remember how exciting it was for you to feel strong and free.

However if you were more like me and associated monkey bars with burning arm pits, tan bark knees, chin and blistered palms you will understand how I felt when I watched him climb the ladder for the first time to ‘cross the crocodile river’. I instinctively knew he didn’t know how to swing or drop and given his small stature would probably not be easy for him to reach the bars.  It was like holding my breath underwater for far too long, and when I couldn’t hold my tongue and called out ‘I’LL HELP YOU! DON’T WORRY, Mr Independent replied with surprising tenacity in a voice I had not heard before “No Nana, I can do it – Trust me  –  I’ll be ok.” And if I fall, I will just get right back up and try again – Don’t worry about me, go and sit down and have your coffee”..

Ouch. That hurt.

I had wanted to rescue him from ‘my childhood memory’ of pain and see him safely across to the other side. But it was not to be.

More breath holding…. More coffee drinking…

And he was ok. In his time. In his way. Not mine. Not my experience. His.

Now as we are in the second half of 2020, I feel like we are all somewhere on those monkey bars, don’t you?

Some of us are still holding on with both hands to cold steel bars preferring the devil we know rather than face unearthing new ways to work or live. Not yet courageous to face dealing with fears or uncertainty with others outside our family. Perhaps this is a good time to seek help and let go of trying to manage or work through fears on your own.

Some of us have learnt to loosen our grip a little, have fallen, got up again, fallen, gotten up again and are holding new opportunities in our hands with palpable excitement or fear, looking back a little but focussing on next steps with caution and care

And some of us are already swinging more confidently between bars grateful for the support from those who nourish us financially, emotionally, spiritually and in kindness even in isolation.

And there are some of us who are in the delicate space in-between, like being suspended in mid air. It relishes the freedom of routine and rigour of yesterday and is not yet tomorrow. Ambiguity at its best… or worst.

So, here’s my message to you today.

Wherever you are on the monkey bars right now remember the words of a five year old who didn’t look down and say to yourself

“I can do it, trust me, I’ll be ok”

In these times we have to learn to trust ourselves to dig deep into our resilience bank and take out small sums of strength to use in different situations and even different days. The new normal has not yet landed and living in ambiguous times is equally challenging if not darn right scary. We must trust ourselves to make haste slowly and not catastrophise the future.

We need to give voice to our passions, convictions and do it with courage even when we feel our most vulnerable. We are saying that we constantly evolve, become more nimble, responsive and adaptive. And yes, we are also saying it’s not easy. Perhaps it never was. But one thing for sure, things have changed. So have we, so have our families, friends and customers. And we have no time to lose.

As Winston Churchill said…“Never let a good crisis go to waste” so it’s the best time in the world right now to take action of some kind and be prepared to emerge stronger by being courageous, compassionate and caring.

About the author : Ricky Nowak

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