Recently, I was talking to my brother, and we talked about how folks have been stating that 2020 has been an awful year and that they can’t wait until it's over.

 

Remember this year started with the Australian wildfires which were devastating. And then COVID times began and now the protests against police brutality.

 

Yet, I’m optimistic - it feels like we’re living through history at this moment.

 

We’ll remember that this is the year that truly laid bare the inequities in our country - from the racial impact of COVID, the rampant systemic racism, and the health and economic disparities all throughout.

 

40% of our country’s population is low-income, and many are living paycheck to paycheck. Budget cuts are being made to education, healthcare, support services, parks, etc.

 

Ok, why am I still optimistic after rattling off all these ills?

 

Because we can choose again.

 

When we’re rushing through our day on autopilot, we’re not looking at the big picture because we’re so focused on our to-do list and getting things done.

 

We’re stressed about making payroll and providing services to our constituents, feeling like we’re on a hamster wheel each day dealing with burnt out personnel and the impact of the pandemic on our work.

 

We’re often putting a band-aid on the problem and not truly addressing the root causes of the mission we’re striving to accomplish.

 

The band-aid is no longer working. We just have to look around to see that. Everything is spilling out into the light.

 

This is not cause for despair. Instead, it’s an opportunity to change things.

 

We chose this path - this career - to come up with solutions for the world’s sorrows. Let’s meet this moment.

 

So as leaders, how can we choose differently? How can we do our work differently while having a bigger impact? How can we have more joy and ease in our lives?

 

When we’re in a stressed space, we’re not able to be creative. And creativity is so crucial for us to make a difference.

 

Imagine that you have a big grant deadline due at the end of the week. Will you be able to craft an amazing appeal when you’re stressed out and exhausted? Or will the creativity flow more when you’ve gotten your sleep and taken some time for yourself over the weekend?

 

Right now, it may seem impossible to envision a time when you’re sustained emotionally, physically, and mentally. It’s because we’re in this particular moment of overwhelm.

 

My invitation to you this week is to “touch the rim of the future” by journaling for 20 minutes.

 

I heard this phrase on the Charged Life podcast recently, and it totally resonated with me. It requires us to pause and envision the life we want for ourselves, our families, our teams, our organizations, and so on.

 

How do we want to show up to the work? Did the old way of doing the work serve us or were we too exhausted? Are our programs responsive to the needs of our constituents or are we doing things because that’s how we’ve always done things?

 

And then expand beyond work because we’re more than our work.

 

Are we sleeping well? How’s our energy? Our health? Our relationships? Our physical environment? You get the idea.

 

Being curious is a crucial first step since, without self-awareness, nothing changes.

 

I hope this serves you.​​ Until next time, as always, be gentle & kind to yourself.

 

Shalini

 

P.S. If you'd love some support in moving past the overwhelm and stress, to just being with more joy, peace and calm - click here and set up a time for a complimentary call.

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