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By Alycia Huston
Each and every one of us has found ourselves navigating through a sea of emotions during these past couple of months — anger, fear, gratitude, anxiety, depression, joy. It can literally change from one moment to the next.
I believe our emotions are energy in motion. We have seen through numerous brain and body scans that human beings emit energy, it’s a fact. That’s exactly why you may find yourself crying one moment and laughing the next. Simply said, when you feel a particular emotion and begin to move through it, you’re in a state of energy transference. Energy equals power, and you must be deliberate and acutely aware of its application in your life.
At this time, we all must be good stewards over our mental well-being and what we allow ourselves to participate in. I implore you to use the news as a tool instead of a drug. Find out the latest facts on this very fluid situation, and pivot as necessary.
If you’ve been thinking about how you can make the most of the current state of the world and reframe this crisis as an opportunity for personal and professional growth, this will serve you well. If you’re a creative leader or entrepreneur or business-builder who desires insights, methodologies, and tactics to leverage all this messiness so you actually grow in your productivity, performance, and service to the world, then you’re stuck in the right place.
This is why I’m on a mission to help you understand how you are beautifully and wonderfully made. I want to equip you to hold yourself accountable in truth and kindness. It’s my desire to be your silent guide into an even higher realm of leadership.
As a leader, the last thing your people should experience is chaotic, tumultuous, or disjointed leadership. This is why it’s imperative that you operate from a high level of emotional intelligence and understanding. You can’t control what’s happening in the world currently, but you can control what’s happening inside yourself.
I’m sharing with you the top three things that leaders in crisis do exceptionally well. These actions are significantly amplified during a time of uncertainty.
A crisis will always change you — none of us will be the same after this. Will your growth and movement create a positive or negative impression on the planet?
“We did not come here to fear the future, we came here to shape it.”
That’s exactly what leaders do — shape the narrative for their people. So let’s have a chat about how that is done.
- Leaders must embrace high values.
What I know for sure is that during this time, you must possess and exhibit an increased level of empathy and compassion. This is not the time to adopt a command-and-control style.
Unfortunately, in today’s world politics, we have lost so many of our high values — integrity, respect, honor, to name just a few. One of the biggest degradations in our world today, in my opinion, is the valuing — or rather, devaluing — of people.
Empathy must be engaged at the forefront. This looks like checking in with your people, listening to them completely, and meeting them where they are. Even if this requires you to do something you’ve never done before, or operate in a manner different from what you’re used to.
When you truly hear and listen to what people are saying and operate from that stance, you provide a feeling of safety. They’re able to see your leadership demonstrated.
- Leaders adopt creativity in their thinking
The road you took to get here will not be the same road that takes you to your next destination. You will be called to take your creativity to the next level.
What we must always be clear about is that an answer exists! Every opportunity comes wrapped in a challenge. Now is the time to understand the creation power of your right brain — this is literally the creativity center. This is the part of the brain that was most dominant in our childhoods, but many of us have turned this off so we can be “adults.”
The truth is, when we operate with our right brain, we increase our insights and our ability to problem-solve. This is where our capability to be open to new thoughts and ideas are met with anticipation. This is why individuals and organizations who have the capacity to remain agile and flexible thrive.
The roads you once took are now laden with roadblocks and detours; there is no clear picture of what’s before us. As a result, we must possess the intelligence to allow it to form and subsequently respond with the right prescription — albeit unorthodox at times.
- Leaders communicate effectively
Clear communication at all times is crucial, even more so during a crisis. Only 7% of communication is the words we use, and yet words are so powerful — if we can learn to use them effectively.
In times of challenge, you are required to possess a heightened sensitivity to the needs of your people — dare I say, a sixth sense. In order for your organization to keep moving forward through adversity, there are five things you must communicate:
- You must be real with your people; there is a conversation of reality that must transpire. This is not to invite more fear — it’s actually quite the opposite. When individuals experience an environment of openness and honesty, it eliminates an undercurrent of “us vs. them.” You must be intimate with your people; allow them in.
- Things are always changing while maneuvering through crisis. You must be speaking to your people often. This will remove the desire to create a narrative in their own heads.
- You cannot be married to the idea that there’s only one way. You must be of the mindset that it doesn’t have to look the way you thought it would. Rigidity in this space will be the death of your organization. Be willing to pivot and create a new result.
- This creates the “We” factor. This demonstrates that you are indeed part of a community and allows your people to be included in the discovery of solutions. This is where some of the best ideas are born.
- Although self-explanatory, many people discount this tactic. The greatest leaders instill optimism in their people, directly in the face of adversity. This is quite literally their call to action, and creates a north star to strive toward.
The reality is that fear exists for all of us — no one likes the unknown. But there’s a difference between good fear, which leads to preparation, and bad fear, which leads to avoidance. The choice is always up to you.
Hailing from Military Dad and Recovering-Catholic-Proudly-Sandra-Dee-Mom, Amy Jo Goddard had no other choice but to become a sex educator just to sail the shaky waters of human experience and help her family survive. Actually they don’t really take sex advice from her.
But thousands of others have—Amy Jo is author of Woman on Fire: Nine Elements to Wake up Your Erotic Energy,Personal Power and Sexual Intelligence and co-author of the best-selling classic Lesbian Sex Secrets for Men, now in second edition. She earned her Master’s degree in Human Sexuality Education at New York University and has been teaching and speaking about feminism and sexuality for over two decades, including her TEDx talk “Owning Your Sexual Power.” She facilitates sexual empowerment programs and trains sexual empowerment coaches and educators. Her Fire Woman Retreat is an annual sexual empowerment event for her tribe of women who are on the path. She also works with companies to create workplace cultures that honor consent, equality, stellar communication and collaborative leadership. Her forthcoming film At Your Cervix, examines patient consent and bodily autonomy in gynecology and medical education, aiming to end unethical practices that harm both patients and medical students.