I have the honor to be speaking with leaders around the country. While their situations are quite varied, universal dynamics are revealing themselves – regardless of their role, or their industry, or even their country. These patterns and this vantage point gives me hope.

Here are six PATTERNS – along with PROMPTS and examples of daily mindful PRACTICES I teach my clients – all so that, so that, momentum can build and together we can help others. Now more than ever, know that your true value comes when you show up fully with the intention to have the impact on others you are meant to achieve.

6 Patterns, Prompts & Practices to Help Right Now

PATTERN:  Compassionate Decision-Making is occurring.  When leaders put the safety and well-being of their team and those they serve first, the “right” decisions begin to reveal themselves.  Even when the financial and logistical repercussions are daunting.  We’ve all received emails from different leaders this week.  Have you noticed differences in how you’ve reacted, based upon their tone and intention?

  • PROMPT:  Putting myself in the other person’s shoes… what do they need to know/understand? Why? What do they need to feel? Why?  What do they need to do? Why?  How can I help?
  • PRACTICE #1:  Shift from creating a “To Do” list, to setting a daily intention for BE-ing; ask yourself the three PROMPTS above prior to every interaction or initiative.  

PATTERN: Crisis is helping leaders breakthrough their own “Resistance”.  Confusion, hesitation, avoidance – can either be an indication of good instinct, or it can be a form of resistance to stepping up and into our full selves. If you believe it’s the latter, here’s something that always motivates me:  When we resist making and communicating key decisions or doing things we’ve never done before, it often means we’re thinking more of ourselves than those we aim to serve (Yikes!).  Fear, “what if…” thought loops, and imposter syndrome can all sneak in and paralyze.  While normal, now is the time to breakthrough any resistance, be vulnerable, be courageous and lead from the heart – “on behalf” of those who need you.

  • PROMPT: What is stopping me from taking action/making a decision?  What might occur if I don’t make the decision or do the very thing I believe I can’t do? And what will occur if I do?  Do I believe that I have to be perfect or that someone else could do it much better? Is my value in being right, or is my value in how I help move us forward based upon what I know and with the intention of helping others? (ok, that’s a loaded question, and … relevant!).
  • PRACTICE #2: Be mindful. Start by noticing and observing the choices that you are making. Do you notice and hidden avoidance? Are your choices in allignment with what you really want (for yourself and more importantly for others)?

PATTERN:  Limiting beliefs are being shattered.  Identifying assumptions about what we (and our industries) believe is and is not possible is always a good practice.  Now more than ever, leaders are shifting from “this is not possible” to “How can we deliver on our mission/stay in business, in a different, creative, never-been-done-before way?!”  The more we focus on impact, the better able we will be to “reverse-engineer” the new and creative ways to deliver the impact that is needed.

  • PROMPT:  Make a list of what is no longer possible due to COVID-19. If you were able to do the things on that list, what would the impact be and to whom?  Take those answers, and ask yourself – what are the different ways we can achieve that same IMPACT, through new and different vehicles/mechanisms?     
  • PRACTICE #3:  Two of the most powerful words are “What if…” – unfortunately, usually expressed in the negative.  Embrace the impulse to say those words, and then CHOOSE to follow them with “What if… xyz IS possible?”  What would it mean and to whom?  Is that worth the trouble? If you find yourself smiling about that possibility, it’s much easier to then brainstorm the how.

PATTERN: Social Distancing doesn’t mean lack of connection. Those of us already using video conferencing understand the power for deep connection, productivity, reach, and ease in communication. Leaders are re-thinking ways to connect and inspire through performances, training, staff meetings, convenings with “breakout room” capacity, and even virtual keynotes.

  • PROMPT:  What are creative ways in which technology can help me?  If I am feeling isolated, what are the ways I can create the connection with others? 
  • PRACTICE #4:  Just do it. ?  Call, email, video conference with someone.  Most likely you’ll both benefit. Host a conversation online.  Convene. Today. 

PATTERN: Authentic Leadership is being revealed. [This is one of my favorite patterns, so far!] The way in which each of us instinctively and intuitively leads and communicates in these challenging times is often beautifully in alignment with our “true value” and “superpower.” I see it so clearly. Each person has their own unique way for bringing people together, solving problems, helping others.  Even when in similiar roles accross the country, no two leaders do it in the same way.  Observe and notice it!  Honor and celebrate it – in yourself and in others!

  • PROMPT: How have I been approaching the crisis? How am I navigating the path forward? Which parts come easy to me?  Which parts have I loved, and felt joy in – and why? How has the way I’ve chosen to “show up” fully, positively impacted those around me? [make a long list!] How do I know?
  • PRACTICE #5:  Observe & notice what happens to others when you are showing up fully.  

PATTERN: Self Care is now a “thing.”  People need you…at your best. Whether that means healthy, well-rested, confident, connected, joyful, or something else – now more than ever it is your responsibility to make sure you are leading in a truly sustainable way. While it may be tempting to burn the candle at both ends right now with the urgency of crisis decision-making, it’s critical that you don’t burn out!  If you’ve ever found it difficult to take time off, or get to the gym, or the doctor, or believed that self-care was indulgent, or selfish, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that ensuring you create the things you need to show up fully – even if that is now remotely – is an essential leadership strategy as well as being a community service. 

  • PROMPT:  What are the unique and creative ways I can use to refuel, replenish and sustain myself?
  • PRACTICE #6: Armed with the knowledge of what you revealed in PRACTICE #5, at the end of the day make a list of what self-care actions will make it possible for you to continue to build your momentum… and then choose ONE thing to do the next day.

Planned or not, we all may be beginning our “Next Chapter” of leadership as these next weeks unfold. 

Please know you’re not alone. 

Kathryn R Martin,
“Next Chapter” Coach
Creator of The Career (Life!) Breakthrough Academy
Leadership Transition Strategist & Professional Interim CEO