As leaders, we have to listen, provide honest and open feedback and be there to support anyone having a difficult time dealing with the current situation. Outside of dealing with COVID, there’s nothing different from what we encounter every single day. Every day we go to battle and solve problems, create strategies that align our vision, mission, and values. We are all aware that there are many going through hard times, and we always keep that present. However, we still need to be present. Everyone has noise going on in their head and it’s sometimes hard to hear anything else, but this too shall pass.
Asa part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tricia Benn.
Tricia is a Partner and Executive Vice-President of the C-Suite Network and the General Manager of The Hero Club, an invitation-only membership organization for CEOs, founders, and investors. As an executive within both organizations, her mission is to build a platform and community that accelerates the success of c-level executives. She is a leader in creating an executive community of collaboration, based on integrity, transparency, and measuring success beyond the numbers alone — ‘The Hero Factor.’
Thank you for joining us Tricia. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Myentire career I’ve made it a point to dedicate myself to building people, teams, and organizations. That has been the common theme throughout my career. I’m a business leader who loves to create efficient business models and creating success by launching, building, and growing companies.
Every revolves around the mission, as well as aligning that mission with the vision and values. I have always been disruptive — I’ll be nice about it, but I will disrupt. It can be uncomfortable at times, but in order to complete the mission we have to feel a little discomfort.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Yes, Napoleon Hill’s book, “Think and Grow Rich.” That book covers perfectly the notion of what a mastermind is, or should be. The concept of mastermind has been diluted over the years and even strayed from the original philosophy. Even though the book was written back in 1937, its ideas and concepts are very much relevant to today’s business environment. I personally like the following quote, “Coordination of knowledge and effort in a spirit of harmony between two or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose.” The resonates with me as I’m lucky enough to lead a community that leads with integrity and transparency — and right now, the importance of community couldn’t be more critical.
As a Canadian, I am also a fan of Margaret Atwood and her views on positive empowerment. With so much negative things out there right now, it’s essential the counter balance with some positive reinforcement about what we as individuals can do for our teams, customers, and communities.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- Opportunity to reinvent ourselves — personally and professionally. Out of chaos comes great things that create great importance. It doesn’t have to be monumental reinvention either. Here’s an example. At the C-Suite Network, we implemented “celebrations” every Friday afternoon. We call this time ‘permission to push pause’ giving members and our staff to come together to celebrate the positive going on right now. We invite everyone to come together and bring a drink of choice — from water to whiskey and share with one another what we’re doing that’s creating something positive. It’s an informal gathering meant to take a simple breather in a collaborate environment and push the pause button with so much going on around us.
- Come from a position of gratitude — This is something we have to do in order to move forward. Again, this comes from the need to focus on the overall mission — keeping our businesses going in order to ‘drive and thrive.’ If we shift our mindset, we can accomplish great things and the rewards will be there once we emerge from this, ready to open for business — whenever that is, safely and successfully.
- This too shall pass — This needs to become almost a mantra for any business leader out there. We’ve all lived through much chaos this century — from 9/11, to the recession of 2008, to now. Every decade it seems something happens that affects the global community, albeit at different levels, but we’ve come through this. We need to keep that in mind. When the current pandemic began, our Chairman, Jeffrey Hayzlett, stressed his ‘5 keeps’ — which included keeping everyone engaged. If people stay engaged, with their work, co-workers, and again, communities, we will get through this, TOGETHER!
- Orientation to action — This directly correlates to ‘this too shall pass.’ We have implemented weekly “huddles” with every level of our membership that allows us to continually act. For example, these huddles serve as a way to get everyone engaged — whether by offering a ‘give,’ which we define as a product of service our members give one another in order to stay engaged and thrive. It could be anything from a book someone has authored, to consultation services, to making a connection to someone who can help another member with a current problem. We can’t just sit back and wait for everything to pass us by. We need to lead by example and keep moving. Stopping is not an option right now. It’s not about taking monumental steps and changing course, it’s about taking small, actionable steps to move the needle forward. Here’s an example: last September, I was fortunate enough to visit the Crazy Horse Memorial in Custer, SD. We met with the team carving a mountain, a 140-year old start-up of sorts. They know they won’t accomplish the mission in their lifetime, but they’re taking small steps every day to complete the mission. It’s not about speed, but about action. It’s a lesson that will forever serve as a reminder to any of us rushing to get things done. Slow and steady wins the race.
- Be true to yourself — Learn how to differentiate constructive criticism from the noise. Take what people say with a grain of salt and apply it when, where, and how it’s useful to put yourself in a positive space. We have to assess every situation and apply it accordingly. We’re all moving very fast these days, so let’s take time to live our values, and maintain the courage of our convictions. That’s what’s going to keep us grounded today, tomorrow, and when this current situation is over. Let’s not think about getting back to normal, but to get back to better!
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Keep remembering # 3 — this too shall pass. Keep repeating until it sinks in. As leaders, we have to listen, provide honest and open feedback and be there to support anyone having a difficult time dealing with the current situation. Outside of dealing with COVID, there’s nothing different from what we encounter every single day. Every day we go to battle and solve problems, create strategies that align our vision, mission, and values. We are all aware that there are many going through hard times, and we always keep that present. However, we still need to be present. Everyone has noise going on in their head and it’s sometimes hard to hear anything else, but this too shall pass.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
First and foremost, give yourself grace. It’s natural to feel anxious, and fear uncertain situations. But, it’s critically important that we empower ourselves to take action and allow ourselves to celebrate even the smallest victories.
The strategy will be slightly different for everyone. For example, if you’re a person who values connecting with others, call a friend. Reach out. Don’t stay silent. If you’re an intellectual person, re-visit the stoics, as in the Greek philosophers. Their main ambition was to teach people how to be calm and brave in the face of overwhelming anxiety and pain — a philosophy that remains extremely relevant today.
If you’re an action person, get active. Take a walk, exercise. Do something that takes you away from the stressors of the day and clear your mind. If you’re feeling without purpose, pick a project…ANY project, and immerse yourself in that.
The mind is your most powerful instrument. We have to take control and not wait for someone else to solve our problems. Within our network, we have a Mindfulness Council that focuses in teaching executives, including c-suite leaders, how to incorporate mindfulness into their everyday routine to help people become better leaders.
Get yourself grounded with a support connection. We have the choice to take control of any situation and no one can take away our ability to process and respond to take action.