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Managing in Chaos

Managing in Chaos

Gail Blanke, a well-known author and motivational speaker (and one of our favorite Change Nation guests), knows what you're going through. In a time of intense transition—rough economy, job loss, rising cost of living—it can be hard to just get through the day, let alone be a motivator to your friends, family and colleagues.

But it's these challenging times when you need to find the courage to step up, Blanke says. In a recent email to her fan base, Blanke reminds us that greatness is often formed when things are tough. "Sometimes it takes a crisis...in a country, in a company, in a life, for us to know how good we are, what we're made of...for us to find the courage, in spite of the noise and chaos, to lift up our heads and lead," she writes. "Well, we've got a crisis, so let's lead."
To help everyone along, Blanke provides these steps for leading effectively during change.
1. Let go of the past. "Let go of the old way. Let go of being right about how wrong it is, of how you or anybody else, should have done it differently. You can’t grow if you don’t let go. Go home and throw out fifty things!  Move on."
2. Keep your eye (and the eyes of everyone on your team) on what good could look like, what’s possible, where the opportunity lies - in spite of the uncertainty of the moment. "People need motivation just as much as they need information in stressful times. Make sure they get it."
3. Take a look at the so-called barriers to your getting what you want, to bringing your vision to life. "Decide which are real and which are imagined. Change the things you can; accept the things you can’t."
4. Get back in touch with what makes you unique. "Complete the sentence: “I’m____and I’m the one who…” Re-define the essence of your particular brand. Ask the members of your team to do the same. Remember, if enough people love ya, the ones who don’t, don’t matter."
5. Edit what you listen to, watch on the news, tell yourself and other people. "Remember, we are what we think about. So don’t burden yourself and others with the worst possible thoughts. It’s a total waste of energy and drags you back—at the exact moment when you should be moving forward."
6. Celebrate how good you are, how far you’ve come, how much you’ve learned. "This is a “defining moment.” Embrace it. You’ve got everything you need to ultimately profit from it."

Though these tips are written with a business slant, they translate to just about anyone who wants to stand above the fray during these times of change and take a leading role. If you want more information on Gail or her new book, Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life, visit Lifedesigns.com.

Do you feel like you've become a better leader after facing challenges in your life?

—Elizabeth Mayo

Posted: 12/23/08

I definitely feel like a better person (maybe not leader? I'm not sure) after a time of struggle or challenge. How else to learn how to get through problems without just doing it?!?

I'm a big fan of the first tip. People, including myself, can get bogged down in "I should have done this" but it's not worth the time or energy.

  • By aliciak
  • on 12/26/08 11:23 AM EST

This is such a great post and just what I needed right now. Looking forward and imagining a positive outcome is stimulating and life affirming. We forget how big a part our emotions play in steering the outcome of events.

(I heart Gail Blanke)