Leading Consciously logo

Resilience in dark times; what keeps us going at Leading Consciously? (#96)

author's headshotauthor's headshotauthor's headshot
Leading Consciously
November 10, 2023
apple podcast logotunein podcast logospotify logoamazon podcast logogoogle podcast logo
Subscribe to
spotify logoapple podcast logotunein podcast logogoogle podcast logoamazon podcast logo

We are living in turbulent times. What to do? How to cope? How are each of us in Leading Consciously coping?

Danger and upheaval are all in the news, in conversations, at work. People are grappling with how to keep their balance in a rowboat on a raging ocean. We are hearing people talking about shutting down all mass media news, moving out of the country, quitting their jobs (or partners), or deciding to not believe anything hopeful.

We at Leading Consciously work remotely from the US (Florida, Texas, and California), Canada, Kenya, and Argentina. We each have our own special expertise and way of coping. Our world desperately needs change; our common cause is we fervently believe Leading Consciously is an important agent for that change.

We have a double mission: provide the catalyst for others to gain a full realization of their potential for leadership, and to demonstrate how those lessons apply to us.

So we were curious: what do our coworkers do to get up in the morning and get to work? And do we have anything to say that would support our readers? Here’s what Leading Consciously team members had to say, listed in alphabetical order by first name.

Alexis Quinta headshot

Keeping it together during threats to American democracy

by Alexis Quintal, Business growth and member engagement

Trying to go on with our lives while American democracy is falling apart is a difficult task. As someone who is naturally an optimist and finds the positive in each day, it suddenly feels unnatural to be happy when the news I see on social media is constantly negative.

What helps me is to narrow down to the main things in life that typically provide me joy and hug those things even tighter.

One of them is my work, specifically the connections I have built with the people and businesses I support. These types of working relationships are not going away. If anything, it’s become more normal to be vulnerable and open up to coworkers, when in the past, anything personal would be kept separate. What we all must remember is that we’re facing the same horror movie every day, together. After spending two years in quarantine and learning to connect with each other virtually, we are professionals at staying connected when the outside world feels like it’s turning into the apocalypse. Remember to find joy in the things that matter most to you.

Amy Hageman headshot

The world is coming apart at the seams. What keeps us going?

by Amy Hageman, Senior facilitator

Rage. And hope.

Some days I read the news and I’m so angry I can’t sit still. I have to cry or exercise to help me move the emotion through my body, and even that isn’t usually enough.

Sometimes it’s my urge to fight, however arrogant it may be, my urge to show that the systems in place serve only the very few, or none at all. To be fully honest, I almost always start in a place of despair, blame, and resentment – before I ever get to somewhere healthy.

When I’m feeling so negative and hijacked I do whatever I must to take care of myself. (I don’t want to spread my own negative emotion throughout my household.) Then I set myself a time limit. I allow myself to indulge in the anger and the fear for a certain amount of time. Then I’ll go for a walk. I use the walk to get back to clear my mind and set a new direction.

I conclude my walk and get back to work. Whether that’s managing something in my household, or sitting back down to my computer, I tell myself that I’m here for a reason. That I have something to give. At minimum I have a vote. And more often than that, I have a voice. I also have a skillset. The more the world seems to want to fall apart, the more inspired I am to show up.

The world needs me. It needs all of us. Our votes, our voices, and our skills.

I’m not willing to do the work while I’m so mad I want to burn the whole thing down. But I’m willing to do the work. For me, I have to go through the anger and the rage before I can get to the acceptance and the mission.

It’s go time. I don’t understand the mysteries of the planet, and why there are more crises than we can even list in a consumable way. But I know the only way through it is through it. I decide to give and do what’s mine to contribute.

Time to get to work.

Brenda Ooga headshot

Maintaining gratitude in Kenya

By Brenda Ooga, Recording and tracking

Being an expectant mom during the Covid outbreak, and a “first-time” mom for that matter, has been one overwhelming journey. The fear of getting vaccinated not knowing if it will affect my unborn child, to having the baby and fearing I will infect her with the virus, have been constantly playing on my mind. To add to this, the Kenyan general elections are just a few days away and as usual, prices of normal commodities tend to be at an all-time high. So apart from struggling with hard economic times, we struggle with tribal affiliations that tend to threaten the peace.

So how do I deal with such crazy, tense, and overwhelming situations? How do I make sure I do not lose myself in all this? Well, these situations have been testing my resilience but I choose to focus on things that are under my control, I try to look for the sunshine and opportunities. I focus on how I can do things better and try not to take anything personally – although some things might just get to me. Being a freelancer gives me an opportunity to meet friendly and impactful people from countries other than my own. I am always grateful to be part of LC.

Carole Marmell headshot

Keeping on

by Carole Marmell, Content editor

(adapted from my article in the August 2022 newsletter of the Bastrop County Democratic Party)

My friends will readily agree that I’m the world’s biggest pessimist. What does the world’s biggest pessimist do to survive in this dystopian world we’re living in?

First and foremost, keep on keeping on. Judaism teaches, “You are not obligated to complete the work but neither are you free to abandon it.”

We still live in a democracy. All of our Bastrop County candidates are part of marginalized communities. They’ve faced pushback all their lives and still keep going. How can I tell them it’s too hard for me? Whatever little I do is a message to them that they matter to me. Many people don’t have the bandwidth to participate. They have their hands full trying to feed their kids. I’m here for them, too.

Whatever I do – and I don’t claim to do much – is a reminder that life goes on, that activity is better than non-activity, that solidarity matters. It’s not about winning in the short term, It’s about being a part of the world.

Here’s the self-care part: People say, did you watch Rachel Maddow? Fareed Zakariah? Trevor Noah? No, no, and no. Feeding my anger paralyzes me. I don’t follow the pundits who are live-tweeting the fall of the Roman Empire. Get out there and fight the lions yourself, don’t just tell me about the fight. Less talk, more action. We are already convinced.

Do something. It doesn’t have to be much: protest (if you can stand the heat). Write postcards. Register voters. Join a like-minded group for lunch or dinner. Volunteer at the Democratic office. Block walk. Join us; we need you.

Eillen Cuartero headshot

Accepting the challenge

by Eillen Bui Cuartero, IT, web, and all things tech

My family has always been apathetic towards the government. They lived through the Vietnam War and its aftermath; the more you talked against the government, the more danger your family was in. So we’ve always been taught to keep our heads low and to just work hard.

Truthfully before the 2016 election, I was the same. But after I saw the economy, the healthcare system, peoples’ rights deteriorating, it woke something up in me. I could not stand idly by and live in my own bubble, because my bubble was getting smaller and smaller, suffocating me.

Now I don’t keep silent when my beliefs are challenged and know the importance of spending more time with my nieces and nephews. This is where I think we can move the needle, our future generations. I try to instill in them my values of inclusiveness, environmental concerns, and basic healthcare for everyone.

My belief in them is what is keeping me sane in this crazy world. I believe they are the answer to what is plaguing humankind.

Jean Latting headshot

Learned resilience

by Jean Latting, President

It took a long while, but I no longer think stress and anxiety are normal. I grew up on stories of what my ancestors had to overcome, so events of today don’t seem unusually hard, The lives past generations of my family have lived have all been hard, and for some, gruesomely hard. Survival required boldness and ingenuity. They persevered and as a result, those of us alive today don’t have to go through what our predecessors did. We have our own set of challenges.

Since I’m not burdened with the belief that “things shouldn’t be this way” and recognize that painful upsets are inevitable, it’s all about how I want to live my life. I have learned many tools to calm myself down when my nerves get jangled, my feelings get hurt, or my heart gets broken. And I use them regularly. As a result, I don’t live in upset as I know many people do. Upset happens, but it’s not a constant for me. Every morning, I begin again with my morning reset ritual.

I choose to make meaning out of my life and the “bad” things that happen to me and in the world. I was a prolific reader as a child and favored books about people and animals (“Lad a Dog” was one of my favorites) who would commit their lives to helping others. Through my books and stories my parents told, I learned that it is our duty and privilege to improve ourselves so that we are better able to help others live the quality of life they seek, including self-improvement so we may help others and our communities improve. As Mahalia Jackson sang, “If I can help somebody as I travel along… my living shall not be in vain.” All over the globe, people are committing to help one another, to overcome tyranny, and to foster a world that works for everyone. That very thought sustains me.

Simi Lawoyin headshot

A “rest” manifesto

by Simi Lawoyin, Facilitator

My name, Simi, is the Yoruba word for “rest.” Ironically, I haven’t always lived by my name. In recent years, with all the goings on around the world, I’ve come to value the gift of rest. I’ve also come to recognize how hard I have to fight for it, and in this regard, my biggest challenger is... well, also me.

I cannot offer to others what I don’t have. When I’m not operating from a place of rest, I’m not as creative, productive, or generous in extending grace.

A few years ago, in lieu of resolutions, I began to make commitments to myself about “how” I want to live. I call them my Rest Manifesto, and here’s a few of them:

I’ll be a good steward of my body: I’ve had to train myself to stop before I “feel” tired (in the same way we train ourselves to stop eating before we “feel” full). Here are some tactics I’ve adopted:

  • Setting an alarm for meal times
  • Setting an alarm for bedtime
  • Training myself to deliberately close my laptop at a specific time at the end of the day

I'll be a good steward of my mind: If indeed my thoughts shape my reality, one way to experience peace in my environment is to ensure peace of mind. I do this by:

  • Actively guarding what type of news/information I expose my mind to
  • Spending time in solitude and prayer
  • Journaling – “writing my thoughts out loud”

It’s okay not to be okay: I am learning to allow myself the time and space and grace to grieve, to be angry, to be sad…with a promise not to remain there indefinitely.

It’s okay to be okay: I grant myself permission to experience joy in the midst of what feels like constant chaos around the world, and not to feel guilty about it.

Valentina Covarrubias headshot

Growing through crisis from Argentina

by Valentina Covarrubias, Social media

I know one or two things about democracy, but I certainly know what happens to a country when it doesn't have it. Sometimes I think about the people who were born and raised in their hometowns, watching all their friends and family members grow, graduate, get married. Because none of them had to move miles away to have a dignified life, a life without oppression, a life with, at least, decent basic services. Sometimes I wonder if they know how lucky they are.

Yes, my life journey has been a bit different from theirs, but the same way that I grew up watching the country that I was born in going downhill, I also grew up watching the people around me doing the best that they could with the little they had. I learned the true meaning of the word "resilience." I saw a whole population building their own individual path despite the crisis around them. Because at some point you understand that life doesn't stop for anything or anyone, it just keeps going, and you have to find the best way to keep going with it.

When I was younger I remember having a quote on my wall that said: "We've done so much, with so little, for so long, we can do anything from nothing now." And that's the mindset that I keep. I'm a child of crisis, yes, but that makes me stronger, and gives a different perspective about life, because now I understand that even if the cracks hurts, that's where the flowers can bloom.

Power in numbers

by Virginia Redmond, Podcast arranging and graphic design

My view of our country, our government, our society... is a mixture of grim, sadness, angry, helpless but with a glimmer of “something... just something has got to give.” I would prefer it to be sooner than later. I know they say “power in numbers” when it comes to social change, but for me, one is just as powerful as one hundred, as long as it’s not zero.

It takes one person to treat one other person with kindness. These days, that’s what I do. At the grocery store, at the doctor’s office at the... hmmm, these days those are the only two places I really go to. Anyways, back to kindness... wherever I go, I treat others with kindness. I feel these days, that’s the one thing everyone wants and appreciates no matter what political party you are affiliated with, what your gender is, what your religious beliefs are, if you are rich or poor, you’re educated or not... everyone can appreciate a bit of kindness.

I also believe kindness is contagious, in a good way not like Covid, kindness can erase any judgments someone may have of you and kindness doesn’t need any words... it can just be a smile. Seeing things crumbling before my eyes every time I turn on the news is enough to drive anyone into a whirlwind of feelings. Those feelings I get push me to think of ways to make a difference even if it’s just one person at a time, and I will start with treating them with kindness. And hope they do the same to another person.

The change we want to see

Perhaps one of our stories will refresh your own thoughts about how you best cope in a networked world where every day new dangers seem to crop up. We were surprised and thrilled to learn more about one another through hearing our stories.

What keeps each of us going is optimism that the world will change for the better (eventually), a firm belief that what we do matters, and the sober realization that we mobilize our own selves by committing to the work we are doing. Some mornings we have to consciously choose to be optimistic and to stay engaged.

We are gratified to contribute to the seeds of change we want to see.

Questions to ask yourself

  1. What small victories are possible and within my reach? How might I rejuvenate people around myself when people around me complain of being tired and stressed?
  2. What support do I have to offer my colleagues when they’re getting tired?

Conscious Change skills
covered in this blog:

  • Initiate change
    • Commit to personal change
    • Emphasize changing systems, not just individuals
    • Set direction, not fixed outcomes
    • Cultivate radical patience through the time lag of change
    • Acknowledge small wins

#InitiateChange #DarkTimes #Resilience #PowerofOne

Coming July 9th!  Available for preorder:
Bookshop.org logo
porchlight logo
amazon logo
barnes and noble logo

Leading Consciously

We are a leadership development firm that helps people and organizations create resilient, sustainable, multicultural, and inclusive settings. The ability to lead consciously can help you gain true awareness and earn the respect and trust of others.  

It’s the assumptions we have about people’s lives that are the biggest obstacles to growth, awareness, and success. We help you understand how those assumptions are preventing you from becoming the best you can be as an organization, an inclusive leader, and a person.

Let’s start a conversation. Email us at jeanLC@leadingconsciously.com