What is a leader to do in a time of uncertainty?
Naturally, when faced with any type of crisis, a leader is going to look outside of her/himself to see what must be done. Afterall, a leader is responsible for other people’s livelihood, and their work or service is centered on preparing for and meeting the needs of customers and communities.
So of course, a leader’s first instinct is to think about what actions she/he must take to meet the demands of their role.
Yet, the first step to take during crisis is to go inward, especially in times of uncertainty. When external variables change, especially accompanied by a loss of control on our part (i.e. a global pandemic) it tends to lead to stress.
Stress manifests as unclear thinking combined with erratic and changing emotions. If these feelings are left unattended, our nervous system will become over stimulated and create the conditions for physical ailments to fester and grow.
That is why a leader’s first move when faced with great uncertainty should be to reach inside yourself. You must first find your center and access that place of eternal calm that exists in the heart and mind of every human being.
How do you find a place of eternal calm? The answer is simpler than we might think. All you have to do is take a moment and fully feel and tap into the natural rhythms that keep us alive. The spontaneous flow of our breathing, the spontaneous pumping of our heart and the spontaneous circulation of our blood moving through our body…these movements are happening in our bodies without any effort on our part. The unchecked activity of stressful thinking and stressful emotions will disrupt the rhythm of these natural movements in our body.
It does not take that much time or fancy equipment to feel the natural movements of the body. It is as simple as taking a break from the busyness of our modern life and just sitting and feeling these natural movements.
It can be as formal as sitting and mindfully meditating or informally taking a quiet walk in nature. If you live in an urban area, sitting in a park on the grass and watching the clouds float through the sky can also help in connecting with the natural rhythm of your body.
Taking a moment to connect to these natural rhythms is like dipping into a well of natural spring water for the most refreshing drink imaginable. The difference here is that we are the well and the natural spring water is nothing less than our own life force.
Tapping into this life force naturally calms our nervous system allowing more positive, life-affirming emotions to rise to the surface. Tapping into this life force calms the chaotic mental activity of our thoughts, making room for clear innovative thinking to take place.
It is through this clearer mind and stronger emotional state that a leader is able to find the answers and make decisions that will help her/him meet the uncertain challenges of these uncertain times.