It seems as if this past week has been the longest one in an awfully long time. In a year filled with long weeks for one reason or another, this one felt truly taxing.
Staring down at some of life’s challenges this week, I took out my well-worn copy of the Tao Te Ching. I have always been moved by the words of peace that are found in this Book of the Way.
This week’s noise included information coming from social media, news outlets, and misinformation campaigns shared by family and friends. I found myself needing a break.
One of my favorite passages from the Tao Te Ching is on peace:
“Peace is meant to be our natural state. A whirlwind never outlasts the morning, nor a violent rain the day. Just as earth and sky return to peace, so should we.”
As I thought about the noise of this week, and the noise of the coming weeks, as we enter the most contentious election our country has ever seen, I recognize that the peace we all need and deserve, won’t come from those who occupy positions of power or authority, but from ourselves.
The peace our families, our children, our friends, neighbors, employees, and those we serve need and deserve, will only come from us individually.
How? Have you thought about the conversations you have had this week? Were they peace-filled, or negative, cynical, filled with misinformation and misguided viewpoints?
As leaders when we lead with patience, self-control, and gentleness, it creates courage, steadiness, and resilience among our teams.
When we rise above the noise and lead with resilience: authenticity, emotional intelligence and agility, adapting as we go, we make decisions that are not rooted in fear of being rejected if we choose not to go along with the noise.
When we rise above the noise, we find our purpose in a world of distractions.
This week I discovered what I needed to rise above the noise, was in my well-worn copy of the Tao. I needed to unplug and let go. I needed to focus on those things that really mattered. I needed to prune away the dross.
As a leader, I found that my schedule this week was being dictated by the noise, and not my purpose, and by weeks end I was exhausted. I also found I could change the noise. I could lead intentionally by surrounding myself with those who were intentionally changing the noise in their own lives.
The noise around us can swallow us up, and sweep us away. It can create fear and distract us from the truth of our own humanity, and that of our fellow man.
Today, change the noise. Do not allow the noise to change you.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste, experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
This coming week as this noise grows louder, lean into those richer experiences without fear of no longer following the crowd.
And That’s A Brilliant Glimpse of Insight.