About 25 years ago, one of my dear colleagues gave me a beautiful, hand-made Christmas tree ornament made from cloth ~ a woman with a full skirt topped by a face and a head of long, crazy hair. I called her my “hair-on-fire” ornament, and my colleague more or less said that was why he bought it, because it reminded him of me…running through life, my skirt swirling, and my hair going wild. Yikes. I might say it was fun while it lasted (I learned a lot), and today I might say, thank goodness that stage is over.
Fast forward to now. “She-the-ornament” comes to mind. Many clients in this space of hair-on-fire.
Here’s the scene. Committed, passionate, my clients are facing complex problems, the likes of which they haven’t had to deal with before now. The times, they are a-changing. These clients run faster, harder, and pay the price called exhaustion. They worry they aren’t enough. In the spectrum of being human, coping is not a new problem. But, the heightened level of complexity feels like a new problem for many. Every leader I work with is being asked to step into something bigger, more ambiguous and ambitious than they could have imagined, even a year ago. These clients are used to being successful, and now, they wonder what form their own success will take. Unclear futures. Their edges are palpable. And sometimes fraying.
How they will come through the challenges depends in large part, but not entirely, on their inner world, and how well they care for themselves. It’s hard to think clearly and make great decisions when the brain is foggy from lack of sleep and good nutrition, too much coffee and too much worry. While there are no easy answers, we know that the ball will roll better with air in it. This is the start for building their capacity to manage all the complexity they face. Well-being comes into play here.
In the end, a leader needs to be “well” enough to observe, reflect, and true, again, to what matters most, as this is at the base of well-being. When we work against what we know helps us to be better leaders and people, we begin to create a path that brings more of what we don’t want.
Given that we all need to make a living, what do you see as the pathways to well-being in the midst of complexity? How do we keep from living with our hair-on-fire? Write your thoughts, let’s get a conversation going.
More to come.