Any skilled sailor will tell you that the sea is unpredictable.
Sometimes the water is flat and serene, and you can see clearly for miles and miles in all directions. It’s beautiful, comforting, and you’re excited and hopeful about what’s on the horizon.
Undulating ripples of various heights always come and go. Your job is to flow with them until they level out again.
But sometimes massive storms begin forming in the distance with gale force winds and gigantic swells. Some you can see coming and there’s time to batten down the hatches and brace yourself. Others take you completely by surprise, bearing down before you can suck in a big gulp of air and latch onto something.
No life vest is anywhere within reach.
The boat capsizes, and you’re thrown overboard; violently thrashed about. Your internal compass is so jostled it's unable to discern north, nor south, nor east, nor west - much less the surface.
After what seems like an eternity, the winds die down, the sea begins to calm, and there’s a sliver of sunshine peeking through an opening in the clouds.
A shard from the wreckage innocently floats by, as if nothing happened. You latch on, clinging to it for dear life.
As the cerebral fog begins to lift and the briny water trickles from every orifice above your shoulders you realize you’re alive – barely. Battered and bruised, but alive. Perhaps a rescue vessel will be along at any minute.
But despite this reprieve, you just want to let go, sink beneath the surface into the abyss, and move on.
This seems to be the story of my life. The storms becoming stronger, more ferocious, and increasingly insurmountable as the years pass.
Death has got to be better than this.
Just let go.
This time I just want to let go.
~ Excerpted from the book, I Cried. And People Loved Me Anyway.
* * *
As awful as it sounds, and as much as we might not want to completely believe it, our world is broken.
Between generations of racial strife, worldwide political dysfunction and unrest, severe climate change-related events, mental health trauma, energy draining financial challenges - and let's not forget, being in the throes of a global pandemic for almost three years, despair can really set into our individual and collective psyches.
In an effort to just try and keep our heads above water, we’re sticking to the motto, “What happens in my house (business, organization, etc.), stays in my house.” Showing our true emotions or reaching out for support are often not part of any conversation.
And no matter how grounded we may be in our own abilities, self-worth, or faith, we’re still marinating in all of this.
Yet sometimes, the bad news IS the good news.
If we can take a little step back from the grip of our humanity, we’ll see that every disappointment, every tear, every gut-wrenching moment, every fear-induced panic attack ... ALL OF IT is the good news.
There’s a saying that when something is cracked or broken, that’s when the light can come through, and there is beauty in the shattering.
That light is an opening for new reflections and possibilities. And believe it or not, it is here that we are more powerful than we’ve ever been.
So as a meeting planner, conference coordinator, board chair, or other key decision maker for your organization, I ask you - Where are you cracked or broken? And despite this, what new reflections and possibilities are you willing to allow to burst forth?
Powerful and authentic messages that connect and engage your audiences are more important today than they have ever been. People desperately need SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely—leadership strategies.
Regardless of whether they’ll be applying these strategies personally or professionally, they can help them raise the bar to their next level of stability and excellence.
When our personal and/or professional dams shatter to bits, that’s when our healing and transformation can begin.