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No U-turns

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Going stir-crazy with being at home? Not in the mood to get into the ‘new normal’? Can’t wait to get back to the perfectly fine ‘old’ normal? 

I get it.  There are moments when I feel the same way.  Throughout this crisis, I’ve been sharing my advice about dealing with this chaotic and uncertain environment.   I’ve asked you to take a step back and reflect on the opportunity that this challenge can provide.  Great leaders aren’t made in the good times – they’re made in times just like these.

Now, almost 4(!) months into this ‘new normal’, I’m wondering, what have you learned about yourself?  What has this period allowed you to uncover about yourself, your life and the way you’ve been showing up?  What are you now doing because you were forced into it by this challenge? And most importantly, what will you not be making a U-turn on once you’ve got a choice?

Here’s some of what I’ve been hearing from my clients:

  • Sit down dinners with the entire family and getting to connect with each other like never before…
  • A morning routine that’s purposeful as opposed to a race out the door…
  • Evening walks/runs in the park that make you feel connected with the environment…
  • A sense of community with the neighborhood, swapping ingredients, checking in on the elderly…
  • An awareness of our own biases and the discrepancies around us that we can no longer ignore…
  • A sense of global connectedness…we really are all in this together.

I heard an interview with a chef last week who was talking about the frustration of not having access to all the ingredients in order to make her favorite recipes.   Her advice? Think about what role that ingredient is playing and find an appropriate substitution for it. 

In other words, lean into that creative and innovative muscle of yours!  

From stories about athletes improvising (a bag filled with books substituting for weights) to happy hours and trivia games on Zoom, to first dates that are online…this advice applies to all of us in our work and our lives.

Constraint actually makes us better.  Total freedom – when you have everything and can do anything can in fact be overwhelming and put you in a position of not knowing where to start.  Constrained by space, time, ingredients, and the items we already have around the house – we have a place where we can start and open ourselves up to new possibilities.   

The best part? We’re learning how to improvise and innovate.  Think about it.  Leadership is exactly about that.  If the only way for you to be successful is to have the perfect team, the perfect tools and everything completed exactly as planned – you will have a hard time finding that success.  And even in the best of circumstances, you will lead a life that will be predictable and blind to new possibilities and opportunities.   

Remember, a great leader is not necessarily the strongest nor the fastest.  A great leader is the one who’s the most adaptable and agile.  

So the next time you find yourself thinking..”if only I had xyz…” use the muscle you’ve been building the past 4 months.  Start off with, here’s where I am right now and here’s what I have.  Now, how do I go make ‘amazing’ with it?

Stay safe and be well.

Pooja Dang is a Women’s Executive Leadership Coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area, serving clients globally at companies such as Google, GoPro, Dropbox, and more. With over 15 years of experience in coaching, advising, and propelling women towards rapid career advancement and promotion, she specializes in high-impact workshops and dynamic 1:1 coaching, delivering breakthrough outcomes and accelerated change. Pooja has a proven track record of coaching women into the C-suite and is a trusted expert in growing executive presence, expanding influence, high-stakes negotiations, and leadership development. Using proven scientific strategies, transformative behavior tools, and a no-BS approach, Pooja is on a mission to empower more women to live confidently at the top of their game. Book your free consultation today. #ExecutiveCoach #LeadershipDevelopment #WomenInLeadership #BehaviorChange #CsuiteCoaching


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