It is in vulnerabilities that we find the key to overcoming blockages, to accessing a stream of talents and potential that was trapped. That is where the treasures best guarded by our protective parts reside. The intention is good. Pretend they don't exist, before others and before ourselves. We've been brought up that way. We believe that vulnerabilities are to be hidden or ignored. And so we "throw the baby out with the bathwater".
B

Ren├ę Brown, professor and researcher at the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston, in her book"Daring Greatly" (2012) defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Her research concludes that accepting vulnerability, in ourselves and others, makes us more creative. It connects us with passion and a sense of purpose, making us paradoxically stronger, more resourceful in dealing with adversity and able to generate solutions.

In the book"Rising Strong" (2015), Brown considers vulnerability not a weakness, but a great sign of courage. It was this courage to tell the truth that we demanded of the rulers when we went home and were confined. We didn't want the golden pill, we wanted the truth, however hard it was. The vulnerability of scarce resources in the NHS was assumed and private companies soon appeared producing and offering visors, masks, alcohol gel to those on the front line. The first ventilators produced in Portugal appeared.

Taking on vulnerability is not giving up. It is the opposite. It is opening the door to solutions. In coaching, the greater the courage to assume vulnerabilities, the greater the transformation that occurs. This encounter with truth generates the transformative and creative energy that produces answers and solutions that did not exist before.

Alongside the real threats in the wake of the pandemic: from the risk of infection to serious socio-economic impacts, creative responses are emerging. The pandemic puts all organisations, all leaders and their teams, in a zone of immense vulnerability. The energy generated by emotions and the opportunity for awareness is immense. The opportunity to evolve to any higher level of consciousness and purpose should not be missed for lack of vision, fear or loss of contact with the most subtle and true intelligence.

The hero's journey, a collective archetype referred to by Joseph Campbell - American author known for his work on comparative mythology - in the work"A Thousand Faces Hero" (1949), has been widely used in cinema and literature. This archetype corresponds to the idea of an ordinary person who becomes a hero (who exists within each one of us) by the way he overcomes life's tests and trials, ascending to more advanced levels of wisdom. This possibility of transformation inherent to great trials is latent in the collective unconscious and emerges spontaneously, as is happening in the case of front-line professionals, whose merit has elevated them to the status of heroes. 

In order to get in touch with the hero in you, I do not leave recommendations or answers. I invite you to a reflection based on questions that make you aware of and activate the transformations you are already prepared to make:

  1. What signals am I picking up about emerging changes that will alter reality as I know it?
  2. What scares me about this change, that might be preventing me from constructing appropriate responses? Is it possible for me to park those fears for a moment and give myself permission to explore the new possibilities that exist in any change?
  3. If these emerging changes brought new opportunities, what would those opportunities be? What would they inspire me in my life purpose? If I decided to focus on those opportunities, what would I do? What meaningful and rewarding results could I achieve?
  4. Turning now to fears, what real risks do I face? What mitigation options for these risks can I identify? What resources do I have that can help with that mitigation?
  5. If I could only choose one option, would I focus my energy and attention on managing risk or creating opportunities? And if I could do both, what is the right distribution for me: ? % risk management and ? % opportunity creation?
  6. With this reflection, what choices did I realise I can make? What is within my reach and depends on me? What is the smallest step I can take now?

 

This phase will pass, but as Yuval Noah Harari, professor at the Hebrew University of Israel and author of"21 Lessons for the 21st Century" (2018), says in the Financial Times article of 20 March, "The World After Coronavirus":"this storm will pass. But the choices we make now could change our lives for years to come."

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Published in 
6/5/2020
 in the area of 
Leadership & People

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