Meeting chaos with calm

We are feeling unclear, uncertain and unprepared. And it’s ok to feel this way. It’s normal. We cannot predict the future – we never really could. There’d be something amiss if we felt totally clear, certain and prepared right now.

But it’s not just the situation that’s driving our sense of chaos. It’s also our assumptions about what we are able to feel, think and do within it. Some of us feel we have to hold it together for others (I know I do). Some feel it’s OK to wear our heart on our sleeve, no matter who is present and what impact we might have on them. Some of us assume we have no control over anything. Some assume we can influence the situation in our own, small way. Some of us find our actions, however small, can make a bigger difference than we ever dreamed of (Captain Tom). Many of us assume we are helpless in the crisis and yet, by staying home, we are saving lives.

We always have a choice

This crisis has constricted our choice. But some of our most important choices are still available to us. The way we choose to interpret the world depends on the perspective we’ve shaped through our life experiences. And this influences the way each of us perceive the current disruption. Do you see it as a disaster? Or as an opportunity to recreate? Which interpretation is true, or possibly true, for you?

The reality is that everything we know is being deconstructed. And the hope is that we can grasp this as an opportunity to recreate a new way of being, thinking and acting with each other – globally, in our workplaces, across our communities and within our families.

Listening and questioning liberates choice

How can we help others meet chaos with calm? By listening. By giving our attention free from interruption and judgement. By challenging their assumptions about what can’t be done. And by asking questions that invite them to think of a more liberating assumption about what is possible.

A question that might invite a new way of thinking is “What can you credibly assume that brings clarity now?”

A question that can generate a greater degree of certainty is “What are you sure of right now?” Or the question beautifully phrased by Nancy Kline in More Time to Think, “What do you know now that you are going to find out in a year?”

A question that encourages others to let go of their fears and own their resources is “If you knew that you could adapt, as things become clearer and more certain, how would you prepare now?”

Keep calm and head for the exit

Feeling unclear, uncertain and unprepared – feeling fear – is understandable right now. But the chaos we are experiencing will resolve. And the ideas, clarity and courage we generate – in ourselves and others – will prepare us to contribute in ways that are better for our world as we exit this crisis.

Thanks for reading!

If you’ve enjoyed this article, I’d love to hear from you. If you think it can offer choice and calm to the people you work with, please pass it on. If you want take time to learn more about listening to generate clarity, come along to our virtual Thinking Partnership Retreat. Connect with me on LinkedIn or simply get in touch with me.

Photo by: Darius Bashar on Unsplash

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