Other than the various risk factors, society has faced the pandemic together with no real generational divides. From our great grandparents to our children, every life is impacted by what we’ve faced and continue to endure with COVID-19. Although the impacts may be different based on circumstances, the world has shifted. In many cases, it has caused a pause for reflection, a time to decide what is important and shift accordingly to our individual situations.
How we face our individual circumstances are undoubtedly setting the stage for how we lead our organizations, businesses, educational institutions, communities – maybe all of the above. Have you changed the way you lead and see things? I have to admit, for me, everything shifted so quickly I found myself making the best decisions I knew in the moment using my leadership style (or at least I think I did). While living in the reactive frame brings me down and shuts down my futuristic vision, my ability to see beyond two or three years, it did cause me to reflect on what I needed to do to switch modes.
The proactive frame of mind, especially going into the holidays brings hope. From a grateful heart at Thanksgiving, to the magic of Christmas, to the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, which will undoubtedly have new found meaning, this time of year offers pause. Although this sounds insightful, I secretly wish the mode shift from reactive to proactive was like switching a toy from demo mode to on. Perhaps that would make our lives a little easier, but it’s just not that simple.
A friend bought me a book titled, Your Oxygen Mask First: 17 Habits to Help High Achievers Survive & Thrive in Leadership & Life by Kevin N. Lawrence. Although it was a simple read, the basic concepts are not only good reminders, but they’re slap-you-in-the-face type of reminders. Chapter Five, Licking Your Toads, suggests that getting the things you don’t want to do done and checked off your list is remarkably important to leading effectively.
“You may delay, but time will not.” – Benjamin Franklin
It offers a step-by-step guide such as first identifying your toads, taking action on them and then setting a timeline (specifically 10 days).
I’m spending the weeks ahead licking my toads, preparing for the future and working to switch my mode from reactive to proactive. I should note, I’m encouraging my team to do the same. My list is likely to include more life items, personal things that will allow me to shift how I lead in 2021. I’m committed to changing from demo mode to on at the drop of the ball at midnight. In that moment, I will no longer reflect on 2020, but consider the difference I plan to make after 2021.
If we’re all in this together, no generational divides, but truly, a society faced with the same enemy, it seems the history books will be written about those who stood above everyone else. My guess is the story will be about those who didn’t live in reactive mode for very long.
So, lick your toads accordingly, and cheers to 2021!