When life gives you lemons….
I hope you are keeping safe and well during these unchartered times dear readers. It has been a while since I connected through this blog and it feels good to put the fingers to the keyboard and reconnect. I have been sharing some learning through LinkedIn articles if interested to check out including an ‘International Women’s Day’ piece on ‘What advice would you take from your 22 year-old-self?”
Family Matthews has had a tough few weeks with my dear Father in Law passing away in his sleep (RIP Gary) and our family being hit with covid and isolation which coincided with a visit from my mum and dad who we hadn’t seen in 2.5 years.
I know many people are going through tough times at the moment whether that being connected to the horrors in Ukraine, rebuilding from the floods, battling covid and all the other things life can throw at us. I thought it may be useful to share some of my reflections from going through the tougher times which I do believe make us stronger.
“Accept the things you can’t control and refocus on what can.”Ben Crowe
I heard this quote from mind and performance coach Ben Crowe when hearing him speak at a recent ‘International Cycling Execs’ event and it really landed with me. During this time of global uncertainty it’s not worth worrying for hours about what we can’t control. As Jen Moss shared in a recent collaboration with Tenfold ‘focus on the controllables’. I have found keeping up my daily meditation and gratitude practice, light exercise and reading / podcasting have helped me stay resilient. Ben Crowe also shared that acceptance, appreciation and self-compassion are three leadership superpowers right now and to lean into these.
Heightened Empathy and Compassion
“But my experience is that people who have been through painful, difficult times are filled with compassion.”Amy Grant
One silver lining I’ve found when you go through tough times is a heightened empathy for others when they go through something similar and compassion (empathy into action). After recovering from my foot fracture last year (which I wrote about here) I now feel a lot more empathy for others recovering from injuries. Now having been through covid and the isolation I can relate more when others will be going through it and able to offer help such as I received. Ben Crowe shared humility and curiosity can emerge stronger from our darkest times. Some of the most compassionate leaders I have met including Aminata Conteh-Biger and Mahboba Rawi have been through very painful and difficult times and have emerged with such strong compassion and conviction for their causes. A picture below from a recent Tenfold Sisterhood visit to meet Mahboba and the beautiful Afghan refugee children Mahboba’s Promise helped evacuate after the Taliban take over.
Connection to the Community
“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals.”Jean Vanier
I have been really touched by the community support received in the last few weeks. All the meal deliveries, surprise gifts to brighten an iso day, messages of love and support and coffees delivered through the window will long be cherished. You realise in times of struggle that you are not alone and that we are most definitely stronger together. One common thing I’ve often observed emerging from a crisis is the community coming together. One of my favourite proverbs is “It takes a village to raise a child.”
“Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It’s the quickest, easiest most powerful way to effect change in your life — this I know for sure.”Oprah Winfrey
I’ve found that going through the stages of grief have made me emerge even more grateful for each new day and that the little moments really are the big moments. I was recommended the ‘Happy Feed’ gratitude journal app (thanks Sam!) where you can add photos each day when reflecting on moments of gratitude. It’s great to then look back at these when you are having a low moment.
“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”Buddha
I’ve found an even stronger sense of purpose emerge after the last few weeks to really help make a difference and ‘be the change’ in areas of passion including helping to advance positive climate action, more women in leadership and supporting our Tenfold NFP community. It was a privilege to be interviewed on the ‘Leaders for Good’ podcast with out Tenfold CEO Rich Hirst during isolation this week to share some thoughts on the state of purpose in Australia. The episode is due to come out mid April for anyone interested to listen.
Never lose the ability to laugh
“Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now.”Veronica Roth, Divergent
There’s a saying that goes ‘laughter is the best medicine’. One of the best things my husband and I did to help process losing Gary was going into the city, having a few drinks in memory and sharing stories and laughing together about the good times. My Grandma is due to turn 97 this April and she hasn’t stopped laughing along the way. Her laughing fits growing up were contagious and I hope I can always find a way to laugh through the highs and lows of life. One of Ben Crowe’s other pieces of advice was to over index on fun and not to take things too seriously which we try to do at Tenfold. I’m excited to be reunited with the work husband next week whose favourite leadership trait is fun 🙂
I hope you may find something useful in this article, it felt good to share and reconnect.
Sending love and light to all and look forward to writing again soon.