A time to self-lead amid chaos… [Wise Wednesdays]
It takes more than nine months…to give birth to your dream. It might take the better part of your life.
During that time, you might get promoted. You might lose your job. You might take a break. None of it having anything to do with your dream.
For almost 20 years I thought I was on a path to becoming a global health expert and working at the WHO. When the dream arrived, it quickly morphed into something different. And here I was in 2016, pivoting onto a new track.
[Photo: Exploring the Cuban health system, Maternity Home, 2002]
Self-leadership starts when you listen to your quiet inner-voice
The important thing is that you pivot when your quiet inner-voice guides you to. Even if it doesn’t always make logical sense – which will be the case if it’s guiding you to something outside conventional expectations. That’s how visionary leadership starts. It’s even more important during times of chaos or disruption, even if it’s a little harder to access.
Sometimes you pivot before the disruption. In 2006, I had a hunch and applied for what turned out to be the last job of its kind before a complete overhaul of the medical system (MTAS) that meant many in my generation of doctors became part of a ‘lost tribe’ who couldn’t easily fit into the new system.
Sometimes you pivot during the disruption. In 2013, the public health system was split off from the healthcare system and the landscape for public health physicians was reshaped. That gave me the freedom to take a huge risk and do what I really wanted – global health and lead many international collaborations.
Sometimes you pivot after the disruption. When I eventually decided to become a coach and work online, I think some of my colleagues thought I was selling plastic balls on ebay. As it turns out, my choice of career was pretty resilient to the pandemic and feels right for me.
Perhaps my training in disaster risk reduction helped me sense the inevitability of a digital future and how to harness it. Perhaps it was just luck.
I wrote a Wise Wednesdays in 2016 about how to navigate career uncertainty like an entrepreneur where you can test your risk appetite.
In any case, the evidence increasingly suggests that if your job does not require you to use creative ideation or empathy, it will be taken over by a robot.
So if you’re a visionary empaths wondering why the world doesn’t understand you or why it feels so overwhelming or cold, you are the future! Claim your leadership in it. Start with self-leadership.
Perhaps you had plans for a big career move or to create a business before the pandemic - like some of my courageous clients including Helena who made a full time income growing her new consultancy in 2020.
Perhaps you’re wondering what to do now. Do you play it safe or take the leap? Do you even have a choice? What’s your plan and how do you devise one with so much uncertainty in the mix?
If you have the luxury of time and space to sit and hear your own inner-voice, use it. Write down what it says. Make art of it. Scream it out if you have to. It won’t let you down.
You may even look back and see how the dream was a thread running across your life all along.
p.s. If you want help to clarify what your inner-voice is whispering to you, radically turn down the mental noise and take bold action, join me for the next Leaders Circle: Exit Plan on the 24th of February. I don't know if I'll run it again. This is a safe and supportive space in which I'll help you dive deep into the important questions in your work and life, break through limitations and feel inspired to take bold action. Book your ticket here.