Listen And Lead

It’s true that after every panic comes the grind. But, surviving the panic can be hard. Really hard. Especially when it feels like everyone around us is ready to get sucked down into a whirlpool of negativity. Lucky for us, we have Ryan Holiday. He says in his Daily Stoic post, “When The Systems Break Down, Leaders Stand Up,”

And that, really, is the key to survival, to persevering for the better: Just because history repeats itself is not an excuse to throw up your hands and give yourself up to the whims of Fortune. The Stoics say over and over that it is inexcusable not to learn from the past. “For this is what makes us evil,” once wrote Seneca, who lived two generations before Marcus and watched Rome burn. “We reflect upon only that which we are about to do. And yet our plans for the future descend from our past.”

This is fitting advice for getting people to the other side of any panic. We have to look forward while staying mindful of the past. Reflect on the possibilities and reflect on the probabilities. Focus on how we got here and focus on where we are going. Don’t forget the individuals either. How’d they get here? How did I? What’s that mean for the path(s) forward? There’s history and there’s a person’s own story. If we want to lead them, we had better listen first, connect and contextualize second.

Operating in an uncertain world is a constant lesson in humility. That’s why the grind follows the panic. It requires we take the time to listen. It requires we process the past and give it perspective, individually and collectively. The grind is about moving forward with a purpose in the face of resistance. There’s no throwing our hands up, just one hand, one finger pointed (you figure out which finger), and keep moving on.

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