Courage to thrive in uncertain times

Updated: Jun 27, 2020

In early March, right before we went into quarantine I got the amazing opportunity to attend the Rise conference in Toronto. I recorded a podcast episode to capture all my key takeaways, you can listen to it here.

On May 2nd I got the opportunity to attend the Rise x Live Conference under the theme of Courage. RISE x Live was the very first virtual conference of the RISE series organized by one of my favorite authors: Rachel Hollis. You can find out more about RISE here.

It was a full day of learning and growing from amazing speakers, all talking about courage, a very important skill leaders need in these uncertain times during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the fact that the event was virtual it was charged with the same high levels of energy and movement that characterizes all Rise events.

Today I want to share with you my key takeaways from the conference, which was built upon these core pillars:

Be ready, it's a longer than usual post, but there were so many amazing golden nuggets of information, that it was hard not to keep going. I promise it's totally worth it though!

Rachel Hollis: Mindset

Rachel Hollis kicked off the conference talking about mindset. She started by defining both perspective and mindset. Perspective is the way you see the world around you. Your perspective is not built on reality but rather based on what has already happened to you. In other words, perspective is how we see things. Mindset is what we think about what we see (our perspective) . Your mindset matters – and never more so than in a hard season like this one, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rachel walked us through the differences between a fixed and a growth mindset and how now, more than ever we need to adopt a growth mindset to get us through these challenging times, and not only survive but thrive through it.

She addressed the "what ifs" thoughts that go through our minds in these challenging times. The truth about these "what if" thoughts is that they are not real, at least not yet. There are things that have not happened yet. We need to flip these thoughts, these "what ifs" can be happening for you vs to you.

So much of what you are afraid of is not going to ever happen to you, yet you are allowing them to destroy your present, or worse you will make them a self fulfilling prophecy. Your mind is so powerful. Every time you focus on something, you are telling your mind to focus on that thing.

Face your fears. Identify what would you do if those things that are in your mind would actually happen. Have a plan! Find the positives that can come out of those situations.

Here is a visual summary of Rachel's opening keynote on mindset by Sophia Colombo. She is an artist and did an outstanding job summarizing this keynote. You are going to love this visual!

You can follow her for more visuals like these on Instagram at @colombodoodles.

Ed Myllet: How to Navigate Times of Crisis

Life happens for you and not to you. The quality of your Life = The quality of your emotions

How to improve the quality of your life? Start by taking an inventory of your emotions. Your thoughts create your emotions. You don't have to believe everything you think. When you have thoughts that don't serve you, or created a negative emotions, as yourself:

  1. Is this true? Allow the thought to lose it's power

  2. Even if it is true, does it serve me to believe this? or that is the thought I would need to have to service me and make the situation better.

Thinking is the process of asking you questions, so we can change our thoughts by changing the questions we are asking ourselves. Ask yourself when faced with a challenging situation, what is this teaching me?

He explained that the best antidote to feeling helpless is to help someone, because you can't be helpful to someone and feel helpless at the same time. We are all meant to do great things. But greatness is not always BIG things; some of the greatest things you'll do in life, are the things no one sees.

Ed dived into self-confidence. These were the key takeaways for me on the topic:

  • You can't love yourself if you are not yourself.

  • To build self-confidence we need to be congruent with what we tell ourselves.

  • Baseline self-confidence is keeping the promises we made to ourselves. Be intentional about keeping those promises and give yourself credit for keeping those promises.

  • Outstanding self-confidence is not only keeping those promises by doing one more. This is the same or very similar concept at the 1% rule I shared earlier on a prior post.

One concept that I had not thought about before is the fact that there is a direct correlation between how much uncertainty you can manage and how happy and productive you are. Just think about small kids, everything is uncertain to them and they are the happiest in the world. As we get older we move away from uncertainty because we believe it is negative and we are moving away from happiness. Think about some of the most uncertain times in your life and you'll realize were some of the happiest moments in your life, like the day you drove your first born from the hospital home. Uncertainty is a blessing, pursue it!

So, the next question is, how do we deal with all this uncertainty? We need structure.

Ed suggested running mini days. Basically splitting a 24 day in three 6 hour days. All the sudden your week has 21 days vs 7 days. Just imagine how much more you would accomplish! The underlying idea behind this is that the more scarce a resource is, the more valuable it is. All the sudden your time becomes more valuable and makes you more productive as you shrunk your focus on your priorities.

Britt "Beans" Barron: Courage through fear

Courage is not the absence of fear but not letting fear have the last word. You don't have to choose courage over fear or joy over fear. Is through fear that we accomplish courage. It's ok to feel scared, but leaders don't allow fear to control their lives.

If everything is easy all the time, if it is all joy all the time, we wouldn't grow.

We need leaders who believe in courage, who choose joy and have hope.

Many of us believe that we need to know how something will end up in order to have hope. We just need to know that things are not over to find hope. Knowing that there is a tomorrow is enough to find hope, even if we don't know how tomorrow will bring. Is possible to have hope even in front of massive opposition.

The people around you desperately need a leader in these uncertain times. Be that leader for them, for your family, your friends, your team and work. Share and keep reminding them of your dreams and the dreams you share with them and let them know there is a tomorrow, that even in the face of opposition and uncertainty the dream is still worth chasing.

Is easy to get wrapped up in the idea that our live is all about us. The greatest leaders have this unshakable knowledge that their lives have the potential to create ripples to impact generations beyond them. We need people to show up as who they know they are meant to be to chase the dreams that have the potential to impact their families, friends, community and future generations.

We have already made it through the toughest times in our lives. And those are the events that have most greatly shaped who we are today.

Dave Hollis: Confidence

Your confidence is an essential component in your ability to feel capable – especially when you’re encountering something as unprecedented as we’re facing today. Confidence as a part of courage is critically important. Dave started by saying that it's totally normal for our confidence to be challenged right now because change challenges confidence.

Confidence is a feeling / believe that you can trust yourself. Is a state of mind. something that comes from preparation, experiences you've had, knowledge, mindset, your identity, who you think you are and who you surround yourself with.

How do you unlock these things? How do you develop confidence? Ask yourself these questions:

  • How do you feel when you are with yourself?

  • Who are you?

  • What is your identity?

  • What do you stand for?

  • What are some of your core values?

If there is a gap between who you know you need to be, the person proclaiming to be to others and who you know you are when you put yourself down at the pillow at night? If there is a gap between these two you can't be confident, because regret, unfulfilled potential and confidence can't live together. Think about and make the choice on how you need to show up every day to bring your values to life.

We all have experience sometimes a lack on confidence. But, where does that lack of self-confidence come from? Dave shared three common sources:

  • Worry of other judging you for doing you

  • Not being prepare enough or knowing enough for a situation we are facing

  • Worry and anxiety around the unknown

That is why it's so important to have clear what our values are, what our priorities are and identify how you need to show up every day as, what are the habits and rituals that you need to include in your day to day to enable you to show up as who you need to be.

Others things that help build confidence:

  • Identify: You need to assume an identity that unlocks what you hope for in life and how you need to show up in the current situation. Because who you think you are is how you show up to the world.

  • Environment: You need to surround yourself with people that bring the best in you.

  • Practice: You need to keep pushing through and moving through fear, the more you practice the more self-confidence you will become.

Donald Miller: Be the hero of your story

Donald is an expert in stories and he shared with us the four key characters in every story. We play all of these roles in our lives.

  1. The Victim: exists to make the hero look good and the villain to look bad. This is not a good role to play in live, Victims are people that don't have hope, that don't have a way out. We typically have a way out. We play this role because it attracts resources, or even a rescuer. The problem is that the victim never transforms. The story is not about the victim. There is nothing at the end of the story for the victim. We play this role because we are afraid or we don't want to take responsibility.

  2. The Villain: another role we should not play. The purpose of the villain is to make the hero look better. They typically have a backstory of pain and they respond to it with vengeance, they want others to feel the same pain they did. Villains don't have friends, just people who are intimidated by them. The story never works well for the villain.

  3. The Hero: the story is about the hero. You want to spend most of the time in a heroic role. The hero stands up and faces the challenges in front of him / her, they have courage, they have to live in a space of uncertainty, they act in faith, they take action. At the end of the story they transform. They are afraid but find courage and act on courage.

  4. The Guide: is the character in the story that helps the hero win. They have a backstory of a hero. They are always trying to help. We tend to tap more on this role the older we become due to the experiences we have experience.

Rachel Hollis: Consistency

It's not about five seconds of courage. We all can find the willpower to find five minutes of courage, we need to show up every day and build consistency to get through.

Consistency is the way you hold all of it together. It doesn't matter how intense you are, what matters is that you show up and keep showing up even when it gets hard. Create habits and routines that you can create in any environment that ultimately serve you. Create leverage to stay consistent on the days when consistency is hard. Build such incredible habits so you don't need to get motivated. Consistency is not how you motivate yourself, but rather create habits and rituals that are so close to your core that it's easier to do them than not.

In the middle of this pandemic, there are things we might miss, something that you can't get to do in the current situation. The key is to identify what about those things that make those things special to you and try to replicate them in the current circumstances. For me for example, one of the things I miss is going to Startbucks on weekends with my family. Since we can't do that right now, I became a pro barista at home and on weekends we seat together and talk over a cup of coffee.

To build a habit or routine you need to have a clear why. To find your why, ask yourself why at least five times until you get to the core of why establishing that particular habit or routine is important.

You don't need to wait until next Monday, or next month or the new year, or the end of quarantine, you need to choose the person you want to be and start building one habit at a time that will help you become that person.

John Maxwell: Courage to continue

There is a lot of uncertainty due to COVID-19. We need courage to continue, to finish what we need, to get out of the crisis victorious. Most people are asking themselves when is this going to end? When are we going to get back to normal? No one knows, and probably we will not get back to the normal as we knew it, we are going to be in this new "norm" for some time. Instead of asking yourself how long is it going to last, ask yourself how can you continue on?

We need to build the habit of courage. There are going to be habits that we will form during this crisis that will change our lives forever, that are going to change the way we see the world. Build courage so you can prepare today so you don't have to repair tomorrow.

Courage is like a door that only can be open by you from the outside. You can choose not to open it and face what it is on the other side or you can choose to open it and practice your courage.

We need courage every day to seek the truth when we know it might be painful, to change when it's easier to remain in our comfort zone, to express conviction when others challenge us, to overcome obstacles when progress would not come other way, to take the high road when others treat us badly, to lead when being upfront makes us the target. This courage to continue needs to be based on our principles and values. When you know your values, decisions are easy.

Courage doesn't always roar, sometimes courage is just telling yourself "I will try again tomorrow".

Courage is a negative emotion, courage on the other hand is a positive emotion. We all have both. Courage is not the absence of fear but you need to decided which of the two will win at the end. Let it be courage. Focus on your courage every day, because what we focus on, expands.

The only proof of courage is making a decision to take action. Courage is not something you store up but something you use up. Courage that is never used, is useless. The way you build courage is by using courage. The more courageous acts you practice, the more courage you will build in you.

Rachel Hollis: Leadership

Whether you’re leading a team, a family or yourself your leadership skills are crucial right now.

A leader is someone who takes responsibility for others. Lot's of people would like to be the boss, but very few are willing to take the weight of leadership in their own shoulders.

Who are you responsible for right now? maybe is your kids, your partner, your team, etc. Those you are responsible for, are those you are leading.

What does it mean to be a leader? Here are Rachel's believes on leadership:

  1. You were entrusted to lead this flock. It's on you to do the best you can do for those you have entrusted with. As a leader you need to have courage for those under your responsibility.

  2. You must be strong enough to be strong for them. You should not allow them to see you struggle. Don't put more responsibility on their shoulders than what they should carry. If you are scared, find courage, stop putting that on them.

  3. It's a weight and it takes work. Leadership is not for everybody. Ask yourself why do you want to be a leader? Leadership is not for the weak, leadership is hard and there is a cost to it.

  4. It's not about you . . . it's about them. Everything a leader does is for those under his/her responsibility not about you as a person. The work you do is for them, not for you. Leadership is selfless. Leaders don;t have an ego. They don't do what they do to make themselves feel better but to add value to others. When are afraid of failing, embarrassing yourself, falling, then you are doing it for you and not them.

  5. You cannot be a leader if you don't care about people. A leader sincerely cares for people. Do you know how easy it is to check in with someone and make sure they are ok? show up for those you lead.

Be a servant leader. Servant leaders care more about the people they are responsible for than for themselves. That means:

  • Listen well and practice empathy

  • Create hope for your team. As John Maxwell says "A leaders knows the way, shows the way and goes the way"

  • Use your strengths to meet the needs of others

Communicate the hard things. Yes, it's difficult, but that is your responsibility as a leader. How do you do that?

  • Be intentional with what you want to communicate

  • Set clear expectations

  • Over-communicate

  • Model behaviors that you want them to embrace

  • Ask more questions and then actually listen to the responses they give you. Why is a great question to ask to better

Lean into the skills and strengths of your team and create opportunities for them to apply them, even in different ways than what they've had in the past. Everyone is pivoting, give the opportunity to your team to pivot while leveraging their strengths.

Praise often and teach well. celebrate the wins and accomplishments

Create an atmosphere to explore potential new skills. This is an incredible opportunity for your team and you to find new opportunities in the present as well as prepare yourself for future opportunities.

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