The way we live, work, play, and engage with one other has changed dramatically over the past few years. The pandemic and the state of our world has upended our routines, our identities, and our sense of security. The trauma of job insecurity, health insecurity, food insecurity, major intergenerational loss, culture assaults, and global conflict leave us all reeling.
The world needs us to lead now more than ever. We need to lead ourselves; lead within our families; and lead within our communities.
Although we are experienced leaders, we need help like never before. If you have ever been engaged in coaching specific to self-leadership, you will recognize the value and benefits of utilizing and sharing resources and support to effectively lead through the trauma during this difficult time.
In terms of our emotional well-being, we feel the impact of the current trauma on our self-regard (how we feel about who we are) and our self-actualization (how we feel about the progress we have made in our life).
Trauma Can Be a Catalyst for Change
Reports of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are on the rise. Experiencing a serious illness, the death of a loved one, or violence (as a victim or witness) can trigger post-traumatic stress. Unfortunately, fear, misunderstanding, and lack of trust prevent many of us from seeking assistance or even sharing our stories of trauma.
Trauma can impact anyone and impacts everyone. How we manage trauma can define our life and those around us. Trauma affects our emotional and social functioning.
I know some people who share openly about their own struggles and how they manage uncertainty. These people are able to engage well with others in sharing their story. They are very aware of how their self-leadership and vulnerability contributes to recovery.
As we continue to live well, we know that negative experiences can be a catalyst for positive change. We have experienced changes throughout our lives, both positive and negative, that have offered a new understanding about our personal strengths, our desire to improve relationships, the impetus to explore new possibilities, our sense of awe, and/or a spiritual renewal.
I recently had a moment of new understanding with a friend as we chatted about our physical well-being. My friend and I both paused for a moment and recognized just how “miraculous” our bodies are at any particular time – during peak performance and during illness. My friend, in her early 60s, and I, just flipping to 70, were struck by the blazing insight.
Doubling Down on Self-Care and Self-Compassion
I was first struck by this insight while recovering from cancer treatment when I was a “very young 62-year-old women” (direct quote from my surgeon’s report). The trauma of a cancer diagnosis and the treatment that follows can and often does trigger disappointment in our bodies. We often feel like our bodies have let us down. However, we really do need have a little more respect for the daily battle that our bodies take on to keep us well. Afterall, we haven’t always done our part to help our bodies stay well. Our bodies are actually fighting for our lives every day. That is why doubling down on self-care and self-compassion is critical to our well-being and recovery at any age.
Doubling Down on Care and Compassion Within Our Families and Communities
Individual well-being matters in every family and community. Individual well-being coincides with the overall well-being of the family unit and community. When we are equipped to treat everyone with care and compassion, we all experience lower stress and anxiety, lower feelings of isolation and loneliness, and lower incidence of burnout. We have all learned during the pandemic that burnout is not restricted to the workplace.
The positive effects of care and compassion include increased energy, engagement in life and relationships, sense of purpose, better physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
BONUS: We are able to take full advantage of each other’s talents and acknowledge each other’s contributions while being mindful of our unique capacity and capability. We are more self-aware, have more empathy toward others, and are better able to maintain strong bonds with others. We nurture “belonging” which is critical to well-being and recovery in our families and communities.
Posttraumatic Growth and Recovery – Leading at Any Age
In the book, Posttraumatic Growth: Theory, Research, and Applications, (Routledge, 2018), the authors shared their research on trauma and how leaders can help traumatized people recover.
According to one author, Richard G.Tedeschi, “…despite the misery resulting from the coronavirus outbreak, many of us can expect to develop in beneficial ways in its aftermath.”
Remember, we are all valued leaders. We have experience on our side that contributes to profound wisdom. We have the capacity and capability to share this wisdom to heal the trauma and help ourselves and others grow and recover.
What do you think? Would a focus on self-leadership contribute to your ability to thrive at this time? We, at Amintro, would love to hear from you.
“When someone questions, discounts, or trivializes our choice and ability to work after 60, we amplify our voice and …..prove them wrong.” Patricia A. Muir
Written by Patricia A. Muir, Maestro Quality Inc., THRIVE
Patricia’s signature program “THRIVE After 60” validates women’s choices and amplifies their voices as they remain professional active after 60 and beyond. Visit her website at https://www.patriciamuir.com/