Go Ahead: Be Bored and Do Chaos

Lately, some people I speak with say they are bored due to the Coronavirus pandemic keeping many of us at home. On the flip side, I know other people’s lives are quite chaotic right now. Whichever you are experiencing, you may be asking yourself, “When it will change?”

Despite what is in front of us, we often find ourselves wanting something else. I love this about the human spirit: We constantly seek forward movement and evolution. And we sometimes need to slow it down and truly experience one change before moving successfully to the next.

My larger network of colleagues and I often discuss the ‘being’ and ‘doing’ of leadership. These two things do not contradict one another – in fact, you ideally strike your own balance between them. However, finding your balance at a time like this could prove difficult. Here’s a suggestion: don’t try.

Give it a rest for now, and spend time discovering what there is to glean from what you are currently experiencing (boredom, chaos or something else). I am not asking that you “turn crisis into opportunity” – that is too simplistic. But instead of wishing for whatever is next, try digging deeper to see what you notice about your current experience.

The word boredom—meaning tiresome or dull (even annoying, from the French word ‘ennui’)—can be traced to the boring tool which moves forward slowly and persistently to achieve greater accuracy of a hole’s diameter. Perhaps exploring your own experience of boredom might just be the “boring tool” you need. And for those experiencing chaos, some “boring” could be useful and create awareness around the “diameter” or extent (think impact) of your leadership.

As we each deal with this crisis in our own ways, remember that experience is insightful only when you go through it, not around it. There is so much potential for how we can each grow and evolve, as there is much wisdom to be found at this very time our lives.

A big THANK YOU to those of you serving during the chaos.

This Week: Explore one challenge you are experiencing right now with this pandemic. Use the following reframing exercise to help you appreciate something you either have or are which you (or others) may not currently view as useful. Start by drawing three columns on a piece of paper. First, think of a word that describes your challenging experience and, in the first column, write down an adjective you associate with that. In the second column, write down a neutral version of that adjective (e.g., “bored” in column 1 can become “resting” in column 2). Then, in column three, take the neutral word and make it positive (e.g., “resting” in column 2 can become “content” in column 3). You can use this exercise with a team at work too, or use it to help evolve the culture of your organization.

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