I wrote this piece on September 9th of last year. I found myself reading it recently, in anticipation of the anniversary of the events that took place 17 years ago. I feel the same today as I did when I wrote this, and wanted to re-share it as we all remember 9/11:
If you are a leader, you lead everywhere, not just the work place. Leaders don’t act on limited, incomplete, or irrelevant information. If something is important enough to act on then they get the information they need to make an informed, unemotional decision. This is true in the work place, at home, with friends, and when we hear or read something me may initially and instinctively disagree with. Your decision-making process as a leader is your decision-making process always. If you think you can parse it out to different situations in your life you are kidding yourself, you can’t.
When children are in distress, they yell, “I want my Mommy!” There is a reason they do that. Because the mother leads. The mother sets and enforces guidelines. The mother establishes all the little things that make up a culture. Everyone in the family knows what the mother means when she says, “This is not how we do business around here.”
People may not care about the actual function of the organization, but they do care about how people speak to one another. They care about people being sensitive to one another’s feelings. They care about having their voice heard. They care about people respecting their time. They care about not having to listen to rude or off-color jokes. They care about the harm gossip creates. They care about the negative impact of favoritism and cliques.
Is this remedy perfect? Probably not. But it’s predictable and it is a place I go under stress because I know it intimately at this point in my life. It provides me certainty. I may not be certain how the situation will turn out, but I’m certain about how I’m going to handle it. In the end, this is better than just hoping things will work out because hope is not a process or strategy.
Is the ice bath a metaphor for being in the moment in life? No. It’s a reality. When you can get to a calm, comfortable place in an ice bath because you are focused on only what you are doing in that moment, suddenly it isn’t so hard to recognize when you are “multi-tasking” and doing two, or more, things badly.
I believe my reflections on fear explain why I get so emotional on Memorial Day. It reminds me that our fallen felt fear…but they went anyway. They had thoughts about the consequences of going…but they went anyway. They realized the consequences of going could alter, and end, their lives…but they went anyway. They realized recognition and praise for what they were about to do would go largely unrealized…but they went anyway.