We live in a very complex time. From all angles–socially, politically, economically, etc.–we’re navigating a foreign climate that seems ever more complicated.
This complexity creates a sense of waiting within us as individuals. We’re waiting for something to happen, and waiting for leaders to step up to show us the way. But the problem is, everyone is waiting, and very few are stepping up. So instead of thriving, we’re just trying to survive.
The other mode this complexity can thrust upon us is the state of reactivity.
I call this “firecracker” mode. If you put two firecrackers next to each other, when one of them pops then the other goes off too. That’s what happens when we operate in reactivity. If we’re both reactive and waiting, we’re missing our opportunity to be true leaders, and just setting ourselves up for more cycles of waiting and reactivity.
This dynamic of the “waiting firecracker” is important to understand because it can have a big impact on different areas of our lives. How it shows up differs across individuals, but there are some common themes and dynamics that I see happening right now in the world. Here are a few of the hallmarks.
We struggle to stand in our own truth.
When we’re reactive but dormant, our own deepest truth and values seem to evaporate. We can’t claim them, so when someone challenges us, we tear them down. We feel this is our only option; if we can’t claim our own center, all we can do to lift ourselves up is tear others down.
We get derailed
When we’re in a reactive state, we don’t react to challenges or uncomfortable situations as we normally would. When we see something challenging, or something that we don’t agree with, it causes us to go off course. We end up angry and frustrated. We say things we regret, things that don’t come from our Healthy Selves, and at the end of it all, we feel worse than when we started.
This comes up particularly in personal, intimate relationships. We find ourselves reacting, saying things we regret, and saying things we don’t really mean in our truest and most compassionate self. Unfortunately, we can’t undo them. They can’t be unsaid. This can cause deep, or even irreparable damage to the ones we love the most.
We spin ourselves into concentric circles
A consequence of becoming derailed is that we can’t get ourselves back on track. When we get triggered, we get reactive, and we quickly spin into a more and more self-focused, concentric circle that gets tighter and tighter as it winds around us. Everything gets narrower – not more focused, in a good way, but narrower. Our relationship to others, our capacity to others, and even our capacity to tend to ourselves shrinks. We feel small.
Overcoming your leadership blocks
In order to get ourselves out of this reactive, waiting state, we need to understand why we’re stuck here. We need to ask ourselves, what is the impediment to my leadership right now, and how can I overcome this to claim it more fully?
Not too long ago, most of us lived a more neutral life and claimed a more neutral space. We didn’t claim leadership, but we weren’t so reactive either. Right now, we’re in a state of high reactivity, but it seems we’re still waiting for leaders to show up.
I think there was a time in our culture where we trusted leaders to show up for us, and we didn’t have to do it. But those times have passed. Now is not the time to wait for leaders. It won’t work, because it puts us in survival mode while we’re waiting, which only perpetuates reactivity and damages us and our relationships further.
Now is the time to claim your own leadership. We all need to step into leadership in our own diverse ways, for ourselves and others, and move us out of this reactive space.
If we don’t choose that for ourselves, we’ll keep ourselves stuck in this space of waiting. It’s disempowering, and it feeds itself. As a result, our mental and emotional health gets worse. Our emotional resilience is depleted. As we continue to sit in this space, our healthy ability to respond disappears in favor of overwhelm.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
At COR, we focus on providing you with tools you need to cultivate leadership, emotional resilience, and a relationship with your Healthy Self in all aspects of your life. Here are five base level tools to enable you to claim leadership in your life, instead of waiting for others to do it for you.
Claim your agency.
Put yourself in a space of choice, rather than reactivity. Do things, create spaces, put yourself in situations where you are at choice in your life. To be at choice means you are not reacting, and not responding, but instead you have the space and will to claim agency over your life.
Know who you are and what you deeply value
What do you stand for? What do you claim for your life? When you know this, it will help move you into leadership. You have to understand your true purpose and values on this Earth before you can step up and show the way for others.
Being grounded in awareness is crucial for leadership because it allows us to reflect on our triggers, learn our weak spots, and find our wounds. Self awareness enables us to understand where our values lay, and why they are there. Remember, being aware of yourself is not the same thing as being self-involved. It’s necessary to do this work before helping others in this way.
Go deeper than pop culture.
You have to go deeper into yourself and find the things that make you tick. The surface is where everyone gets tossed and turned in the reactive waiting state, so you have to find the things that ground you deeper than everyday, pedestrian pop culture.
Connection and community.
Leadership happens in a network, through friends and connection and support. It doesn’t happen by yourself, and it really doesn’t make sense to do this work without a community to join you, encourage you, and share in your success.
These are just some of the many tools that we’ve cultivated over many years here at COR. In fact, a lot of these are the exact values and practical tools that we teach at our Leadership Development Training. So if any of these speak to you, and if you feel you’re ready to take them on, I invite you to check out the LDT. We set aside the better part of a year to cultivate, focus on, and learn about these tools and how they can help you be a better leader in your own life. Check it out here: https://corexperience.com/ldt/