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Stay Curious in Times of Uncertainty

How to Keep Self-Reflecting Through a Crisis

Image: Philipp-lublasser-unsplash
Image: Philipp-lublasser-unsplash

By now, most of us have heard of IQ and EQ… but what about CQ: Curiosity quotient? Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic refers to this as “having a hungry mind”. Since my number 1 strength on the Strengths Based Leadership test is “Learner”, you can imagine that I love that image! Every time I think about CQ, I visualize a cartoon of a brain happily chomping on information*! 

Dr. Chamarro-Prezumic highlights two main advantages to bringing curiosity to everything you do:

  1. Individuals with higher CQ are generally more tolerant of ambiguity
  2. It leads to higher levels of intellectual investment and knowledge acquisition over time. 

You can see why this is top of mind and why I wanted to have a bit of fun with it! I’m coming to this with both my coach for high performers, and my educator hats on! By imagining new scenarios, you’re making your brain work! As you think about the future, since you have no idea what will happen, you cannot rely on previous connections in your brain and so, you become a lot more creative and therefore a better problem solver. 

So, if you’re up for it, let’s have fun while building our CQ and learning to cope better with this crazy situation in by exploring and being curious about ourselves! 

Take The Stage – Fun way to continue to grow in times of uncertainty #1

Have you ever wanted to be someone else? Here is your chance! When you’re feeling anxiety come up, step on the stage. 

STEP 1: 

Think of someone you admire and who knows you. It could be someone who has helped you overcome adversity or who has been a mentor to you. Now, become them! 

STEP 2:

Consider the following questions and let that person’s words flow out of you, as if you were them:

  • What observations would they make about the situation? 
  • What knowledge would they share about the situation, that you don’t have?
  • What advice would they give you? 
  • Which of your values or strengths would they highlight about you to remind you that you can tap into your own strengths? 

If you’re feeling extra excited about this assignment, I recommend you film yourself. 

STEP 3: 

Reflect on what just came up: the advice, the qualities they highlighted for you… because my friend, this is YOU. What you admire about them are probably qualities that you exhibit. Their advice to you is the advice you need to hear. You have everything it takes to cope with grace. 

My Acceptance Speech: Fun way to continue to grow in times of uncertainty #2 

Many organizations I’m a member of have offered content on “How to lead in difficult times” or “Be the leader others need in ambiguous times”. In response to this, both in the Medley Community and my own community of high performers, one recurring theme has been “Showing Up”. We have talked a lot about who we want to be: for ourselves, our families, teams, friends and for the world. This had me think of a fun activity to try out! I’m about to start my acceptance speech to myself. For what? You may ask! Well, for showing up! 

Here is how this one works:

STEP 1: 

Answer the following questions: In 6 months’ time, when this situation is over and you look back at yourself:

  • Who do you want to see? I encourage you to use adjectives. Do you want to see yourself as Courageous? Compassionate? Knowledgeable? 
  • When you think about what you did, what are you most proud of? Did you offer your time and resources to those who needed it? Did you organize time for your friends to get together? 
  • How did you take care of yourself first to make sure you could look after others? 
  • What difficult decision did you make? What did you compromise on?
  • How did flexibility and adaptability show up for you?

STEP 2: 

Write your acceptance speech, for yourself and to yourself. I am starting mine with “I am delighted to accept this award for showing up. “ And if you’re up for it, film it! The thing is, you don’t have to share it, this is just for you. 

STEP 3: 

Reflect on this speech. From it, pull out some actions for you to take today. If you are to be that person in 6 months, what difficult decision do you need to make today? What courageous action do you want to take right now? What self-care routine can you set for yourself?

If you’d like some accountability or are feeling particularly brave, share this with others! 

Go Teach! Fun way to continue to grow in times of uncertainty #3 

Neuroscientist David Eagleman in his documentary “The Creative Brain” explains that in order to truly enhance our creativity, we must find inspiration and stimulation in as many sources as possible. It helps us disrupt our existing neural pathways and create new ones. Let’s play “teacher”. 

STEP 1: 

Use this list to help you choose a magazine you have never read before, about a topic you would NEVER choose to educate yourself on, and choose an article. I chose the magazine “Old House” and went on their website. I was fascinated by the virtual tours they offered and I actually got lost looking at great pictures of 1920’s-40s bathrooms! 

STEP 2: 

You are now a teacher who is passionate about this topic. You need to make a short video for your students who are learning from home because schools are closed. What would you want your students to learn about this? How would you make it come to life for them? Make the video! 

For me, it would sound something like “You wouldn’t believe the colors that they used in those baths! And they’re really not that different from our baths today but what’s fascinating is that in the mid-1940’s, there was a return to spare white baths… Can you guess why? That’s right, it was war time…” 

STEP 3

Now, take a minute to reflect on what you just did: How did you approach reading the article? When you made the video, did you find yourself displaying enthusiasm for something you don’t really care about? Did you find yourself in the teacher’s shoes? When you watch the video, do you see the enthusiasm? 

What we’re looking at here, is the way you see the world. What lens are you choosing? Remember Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl’s words: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 

*** 

I don’t have any answers for you, but I do know that laughter is a fantastic way to refocus and relax. Laughing also stabilizes the flow of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. In these difficult times, it is not business as usual. This tells me that to continue to grow, and to continue to be curious, we have to do things differently. 

Do the above with your friends, with your family or by yourself, but do let me know how it goes! 

*** 

*If anyone would like to draw that and share in the comments, please do! 

Sources and more info:

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