In a world of intensity, chaos, and conflict, how we show up matters; set it up right.
I’ve been in a lot of rooms (and airports) lately. With a lot of humans.
All types of industries and levels of leadership. All types of opinions, values, and stands.
Right now I’m at the airport and the latest headline has a group of people gathered around the TV agreeing and disagreeing. The tension is palpable.
And I’m heading in to keynote a leadership conference in an industry essential to our future and well-being. The topic? Change, opportunities, culture… and basically, WTF. How do we navigate through this all gracefully, effectively, and powerfully?
In all these places, with all these humans, and in my own life, I find we’re all considering questions in the form of one (or all of these): How do we create a healthier, more collaborative, more accountable, more ____ culture? How do we optimize our own leadership? Create better results and impact? Address – or even better – eliminate burnout? Reinvigorate purpose? Show up better together (and, btw, what does “Showing Up” actually mean?) How do we navigate through all that is happening in today’s political and people environment? How do we not get sucked into the negativity, the chaos, the heartbreak – but instead be in service to it, and to eachother, in whatever way we best can? How do we be IN the conversation with those we may not agree with? Oh… and how do we do all of this while still having enough left for ourselves and our families at the end of the day?
Here are a few I find that, in the busy-ness of life, get asked less frequently. But they are powerful. Even more powerful when asked with intention and breath:
How am I? Really.
And how do I feel about X, Y, Z?
And what’s the biggest or littlest thing I can do (and BE) about it to help things go better?
Big ones. Important ones.
There’s a lot to address. A lot to do and be.
I should add here that it doesn’t matter age, industry, gender, race, position, profession, preference, geography – what matters most is… human.
These questions are human questions.
Culture, leadership, burnout, purpose, impact, showing up, navigation, service and contribution, impact, survival, and a desire for some kind of “balance” are human things.
Culture is the energy of the container we create individually and together.
Culture is an experience. We create our own experience. From the inside out.
So we have some big influence here.
We can’t control other humans or anything outside ourselves.
But… We can control ourselves.
We can’t do something about everything.
But… We can do what we can do.
We can control our thinking, how we show up, how we regard others, how we take care of ourselves, and if we choose “high vibe” and “staying in the light and helping things go better” (even if it’s the littlest thing), or “low vibe” and “going to the dark and contributing to things going worse” (even if it’s the littlest thing).
And we can control how we act and what we do.
Whether we’re talking about our organizational culture, team culture, marriage culture, family culture, the culture that lives in our own head, or culture in general… we have influence with the experience we create from the inside out through what we can control.
So since we can control NOTHING outside of ourselves...
"Me" is a powerful place to start. And I’m contagious. Because as much as I’m contagious for good, I’m also contagious for bad. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but when we choose high-vibe, we tend to create and attract more high-vibe. And open up access to more wisdom. When we choose low-vibe we tend to attract and create more low-vibe. And narrow, or completely shutdown, wisdom. It’s a superpower to expand or contract, to open up or shut down, to choose high vibe or low.
Here’s a little exercise: Try this on, go for one day (or a week! Do it! Do it!) without complaining (replace complaints with requests, suggestions, or even appreciations), and see how much happier and more spacious you feel. Notice how much easier it becomes to not complain as you go on. And also, how much easier it becomes to access productive and even more pleasurable solutions.
And then reverse it (if you can bear it now), complain a lot. (Even a day of complaining, or ten minutes will do.) You’ll become a master. Why? Because you’re training your brain and your energetic field how to see and hold the world. Wherever we put our attention, we build.
So why not build well?
Choosing the higher vibration thought and self-care is a form of what I call “energetic hygiene.”
Our internal energetic hygiene is key to healthy leadership.
It starts with us.
I know some of you will still say – “Okay, Anese, that’s all good, got it. I’ll ‘show up,’ but what about ‘them’ and how do we actually create culture?”
I get it. After all, we can’t do it alone, right?
So… I’m giving you, YOU here. Because really, truly, after working with thousands of humans and organizations, I find addressing you – contagious you – first, is your best bet at creating the change you want to see in the world. In fact, I don’t know how you create a better culture and do more good in the world and help things go right – and sustain yourself at the same time – without tending to these things before, during, and after… everything.
So start here, and then if you want more about navigating “them” and “culture” – go check out my Inc. Column too. (But, I promise, you first will set you up more powerfully for anything you DO over there or anywhere when it comes to the “them.”)
Here are nine things. Nine! Choose one or choose all. Bonus, within this list is something that is coming soon to support you more in these nine and showing up at even a higher level of leadership (as and if you so choose):
- Prioritize self-care without further delay. Take exquisite care of yourself. You can’t lead best from busy, burnout, and exhaustion. What’s the LITTLEST thing you can do to up-level your self-care today?
- Keep your thinking high-vibe. Choose the thought that serves you and creates expansion in your system. At every moment, with every thought, you have “choice points” – choose a thought that serves, or one that doesn’t.
- Find the “thank you.” If you can find gratitude – you win. Finding the “thank you” opens up more space, gives us more access to information, and puts us in a more resourceful state to figure out the next step. What is the “thank you?” I had a friend yesterday tell me he felt like "punching his colleague in the face" because he was "so annoying and disrespectful" to the team. The “thank you” in this situation? I can see five right off the bat. 1) His colleague feels safe enough to show up so honestly when he’s having a rough day or disagrees with the crew. 2) My friend sees his own personal core values are showing up and they are fierce. (He also has an opportunity to explore why this conversation was so triggering for him. Awareness is power.) 3) He now sees a place to be in service of his colleague, give him feedback on impact, and contribute to his growth. 4) My friend, whether he agrees or not, has now been given an opportunity to consider another perspective. And, 5) they have an opportunity as a team to create some new agreements around how they work through conflict. Ahhh… more space.
- For your energy, intentionally distribute it. Pay close attention and intention to how you spend your time and energy. Anything that contracts (versus expands) in your body is a sign that you’re heading into an activity, agreement, or engagement that is likely not in alignment with your core energetic integrity, needs, and contribution strengths. Which means, likely not the best use of your energy, and therefore impact.
- Stand tall and confident, your presence commanding. Really. Posture, breath, being in your body can help open up more information, more courage, more strength and more credibility.
- Lead and inspire without shouting or offending. Use your voice intentionally. Consider the human in front of you – whether they agree with you or not – consider the human. How can you lead and connect with them from a place of invitation and inspiration versus force? Hint: Remembering they’re human, getting curious, and connecting from your heart is the first place to look.
- Focus on impact and service and contribution. What do you want your leadership to be about? How do you want people to remember you? What’s the legacy you want to leave that leaves the world a better place? What do you want your kids to see? How can you serve and contribute to things going well?
- Don’t be afraid to make the call. Ask for help. You are not in this alone. You are not. Ask for help from your colleagues and friends and family. Choose your help intentionally. Therapy, somatics, coaching, energy work, you name it, whatever you need, get it.
- Don’t go it alone, for together we will climb.
Yes. Like that.
Here’s to showing up. We must show up first. Because yes – we are contagious.
Go get ‘em.