Sometimes it feels good to take the easy way out. Avoiding conflict, pretending things are fine when they really are not, and masking our true values or feelings to make others feel better may help us to avoid pain in the short term; but in the long run, these disingenuous practices stand in the way of true understanding and transformation.
We can only expect to falter when we build our lives around a fragile foundation. Standing upon a strong foundation based on love, courage, and hope provides the centering we need to live by the strength of our convictions. As leaders, we often need to make unconventional or unpopular decisions that are met with resistance. The process of change may stir up uncertainty, anxiety, and even hostility. Knowledge and understanding of your own inner values, and consistently acting in accordance with those beliefs, will help you lovingly and confidently articulate your intentions, calm the fears associated with change, and move others toward deeper connection with your vision.
Resistance is often justified. Leaders can make decisions that intentionally or unintentionally cause detriment to workers, systems or processes, the environment, and communities. Although we have been entrusted with the ability to make decisions because of our wondrous experience and knowledge, we cannot expect to be free from misjudgments and mistakes. Even when your decisions are based on your deepest inner beliefs, allow room for listening and learning. Inner strength provides the confidence to be vulnerable and open to change. Imagine yourself to be a tree that is able to blow in the breeze, yet stay firmly rooted in your experiences and values.
Chaos and challenge sometimes define the leadership process and relationship. During these times, it is helpful to continue to integrate our foundational beliefs into our practice. Winston Churchill taught us, “if you are going through hell, keep going.” Don’t let a little turbulence keep your plane on the ground. You can continue to soar and move toward your destination when your plane is sturdy and your vision is clear.
Difficult times present perfect opportunities to strengthen our character and expand our repertoire of leadership tools. As we mature, we may find that we are able to survive and even thrive during increasingly more challenging situations. Rather than avoid conflict and challenge, we ought to embrace and be grateful for the possibilities they have to offer us. Problems are exciting opportunities to reaffirm our values, learn something new, strengthen our commitments, and discover innovative solutions.