All of us are aging into the on-going Tsunami of uncertainty and mega-discontinuities that defines our times. There are massive geographical changes, witness the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan with its concomitant Tsunami. Great loss of life and tremendous pain left in their wakes. Yet, whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, all of our lives are overshadowed by the specter of continuous discontinuities and persistent uncertainty. How do we age gracefully, live, work and love with a modicum of sanity given this state of reality?
My friends, as the great thinker anonymous expressed it, “Change IS.” Accept it or resist it, change continues to roil on, ignoring our preferences, hopes and dreams. We live in an age of uncertainty and discontinuity. How best to live in it and possibly thrive? I suggest that we all learn to “surf the waves of change” – to understand that while the waves are destructive they are also “waves of possibility.” In the case of tragedies such as what happened in Haiti as well as in Japan, surfing the wave means prayers, compassionate aid, financial support, emotional life-line and galvanizing global resources. In other cases such as the pressures of rapid, increasing change in our work and personal lives, the answers are somewhat different.
If you want to “surf” the waves of change, discontinuity and to be on top of the wave versus under it, then there are some “survival” aids I suggest. And, if done with integrity and an open heart, these survival aids can actually be aids to “thriving.”
Aid number one: Define your personal purpose – be clear on why you are here on this planet and what the aim and scope of your life is. Knowing your purpose in being here, being able to state it in one short sentence gives you a core, a center from which to move and around which you can build and rebuild your life. It gives you a center of gravity, a true place of leverage and certainty no matter what life throws at you. For help in this, check out “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren and visit my website, www.staubleadership.com to learn about the transformational 3 day leadership program we call “HILS.”
Aid Number Two: Develop the Heart of Courage – learn to face the things you have not been willing to face before. Stop lying to, kidding or “rational-lizing” the aspects of your thinking, feeling, reacting and relating that keeps you from being more joyously alive, present and whole. Where your courage fails is where your life fails. For help, read “The 7 Acts of Courage – Bold Leadership For a Wholehearted Life” by R.E. Staub and also “Heroic Leadership” by Chris Lowny.
Aid number three: Cultivate open-hearted relationships and support networks where you connect, love, care, support and it is reciprocated. One of the most powerful things you can do to build emotional resilience to bounce back and to enjoy life is to have not only a sense of Purpose and Courage, but to have build a web of meaningful, value-creating relationships.
There are more aids to help you surf the waves of discontinuity and will appear in the next blog, but the three above are really the most critically important. Are you ready to start surfing?