The Gift That Uncertainty Has Brought Us is Curiosity

Let’s be honest, the world has always been an uncertain place, but now we cannot escape that truth. I don’t need to tell you that the world has changed, fast. And in ways we could not have imagined.

In all my years in learning and leadership development I never expected that I’d be talking to leaders about how to have conversations with their teams about viruses, fear of mortality and experiences of racism.

Now that I think about it, I wonder why not. I wonder why we haven’t been having those conversations. Maybe because there was no necessity for it before. Maybe because it was easier to have leadership conversations about diversity & inclusion policies or what scripts and models you could use to have an inauthentic, controlled conversation with someone you wanted to fire. What leader hasn’t been on a difficult conversations course like that? I’ve delivered a few.

Okay, more than a few.

When we have certainty in our lives, we can rely on what I have been calling ‘behavioural muscle memory’ – doing what we have always done. Einstein said something about that, I think. But when momentum subsides and we go into lockdown – all our routines fall away. Or perhaps we see something so shocking that we simply cannot ignore it anymore. We are slapped awake. We cannot even grasp our previous attitudes – we were sleepwalking through life. We have space for something else – presence and curiosity. It’s this curiosity that will change the game for leadership, and for the world.

In this time where the only thing that is certain is that things will never be the same again, we have the unique opportunity to decide what our new normal will be. For that to happen we need curiosity. We need to be able to truly sit with ourselves and others to hear the stories within our own beings and our collective experience. You cannot move forward until you have acknowledged that which has been present until now.

It’s likely to be uncomfortable. We need to resist the urge to rescue each other, to negate experiences or just avoid the discomfort of being here, and find presence without attachment. Some people call this mindfulness. I call it remembering what it is to be here. Remembering what it is to be human.

Aren’t you just a little bit curious about that?

If you are wondering how you can cultivate a practice of presence and curiosity as a leader and human in an uncertain world, get in touch.

Authored by Jennifer Tarjanyi, Program Mentor

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