I don’t know about you, but fall is my favorite time of the year. I enjoy seeing the leaves changing colors, the weather becomes crisp, and I look forward to enjoying a hot cup of pumpkin latte or eating a pumpkin donut. If we compare our lives to the seasons, 2020 required that each of us also change amid the adversities, the daunting challenges, and for some, the success we had when we pivoted our business. Everything we once considered normal has been disrupted both at home and at work in today's current climate. The way we interact with individuals and society feels unusual and somewhat challenging.
While change is sometimes necessary, rarely is it comfortable – and the abrupt upheaval of 2020 continues to bring about so many changes, some of which have been downright scary. But confronting and adapting to adversity can bring out the best in us and focus our strategy for great benefit. Arthur Schopenhauer said "Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal." Recognizing this means we are prepared to face change as it comes. And with no end to this pandemic anytime soon, the “next normal” requires us to continue to accept these changes. It also teaches a valuable lesson: We must no longer show up simply as leaders, but as brave leaders.
Brave is facing change and addressing a problem to find a solution, and then facing the opposition to present and sell your solution to change the world. You’ve already been there, done that. So you must know that bravery is somewhere deep within you, waiting quietly for the next opportunity, the right moment when you’re feeling small or alone or indecisive. You’re vaguely aware of it at first, in that moment, that bravery is there, a tiny part of your being, until it’s summoned to rise up to defend, protect and support you. For some it emerges, hulking, bigger than life, and for others it is a small voice inside that acts as your North Star, providing strength, determination and certainty for us to boldly step in whenever needed so we can step up to lead with wisdom and conviction.
Now is the time to rethink how we treat ourselves, our employees, the businesses we run, and our sisterhood at NAWBO. It will require bravery, vulnerability and being more authentic to begin showing empathy, respect, love and connection to others. These are the traits of a brave leader who sets aside their pride and power for the sake of those they serve. Ultimately, embracing discomfort and trusting your truest self to dig deep and build up the courage to take action is the greatest achievement.
I leave you with a quote from Brene Brown, who reminds us that “leadership is not about titles or the corner office. It’s about the willingness to step up, put yourself out there, and lean into courage. The world is desperate for braver leaders. It’s time for all of us to step up.”