I don’t have to tell you how difficult getting through a day, a week and a pandemic is right now.  We’re all living it.  It’s hard – really hard to be keeping yourself and family safe while showing up every day in your work as committed and engaged as ever.

Like all of us, I’ve had days of wanting to curl up and hide until this pandemic ends. I too find it hard to change my behaviours and be acutely aware of where I go and when. Do I have my fresh mask? Did I get too close to the person scowling at me with their eyes in the grocery store? It takes enormous energy to stay on course.

I’m yearning for my face to face workshops when I could witness clients opening up to new possibilities.  I miss networking events when I’d see a colleague and we’d embrace over what seemed like too much passing time.

With elderly parents I’ve weathered the storm of having to place my Mum in a long term care facility this past spring, and taking my blind father for walks to help ease his loneliness.  And I know you in your way have done these things too. Whether it’s navigating your children’s education and lack of sporting activities or caring for a loved one with COVID, we’ve all been called upon to step into an unknown space fraught with danger and emotion.

But, and this is a big “but”, I believe we can and will get past this.

I ask you to consider shifting your leadership to include patience, mindfulness, and wholehearted commitment. 

Patience incorporates the knowing that everyone is feeling challenged and overwhelmed. It’s about listening to others without judgement and simply acknowledging their presence. We do this by being present and recognizing they too have their own challenges to navigate. They may not be on our timeline. They may feel emotional and overwhelmed. They may need flexibility in meeting our agenda.  Trust that if you give them a little more space they will come through.

Practice mindfulness by being in each moment, focusing only on what is important. Being open ourselves gives others the room to feel safe.  It’s absolutely something we can all commit to. It could be taking 5 minutes a day to rest your mind or spending time outdoors to ground yourself for when the chaotic moments of work take hold. These actions will fill you with the energy and openness to lead with grace and courage.

Taking a wholehearted approach to your work is very different from working beyond your limits.  Now is not the time to spread yourself thin. Showing up wholeheartedly involves being honest, empathic, compassionate and unconditional.  It’s a time for Empathic Leadership. Now more than ever, putting our people first and being with them through this time is key.  Crazy long hours that drain your ability to show up as the leader I know you are is not on the table.

Everything you or I do has a ripple effect; the choices I make impact my family, my community, my country, my world.  This pandemic requires us to take care of ourselves and each other by embracing our patience, mindfulness and to show up wholeheartedly in our leadership. We will get through this and the world will be a safer, better place.