Lessons From the Unexpected

by | May 13, 2020 | Leadership


Last week, I shared some steps on how to foster a culture of learning that transforms instead of one that merely informs.

Today, I want to continue on the theme of learning and share some lessons I’ve been learning during this unexpected and unprecedented season of life. 


Control Is a Myth

I had a friend who brought up a really good point about the word “uncertain.” He said, “Why do we call these uncertain times? Isn’t every season of life uncertain?” He’s right. We can’t predict the future. We can’t fully control if we are going to get sick, lose our job, or any other adverse situation. 

The truth is that control is a myth. In times of comfort and security, we have the illusion of control. But we are no more or no less in control during those seasons than we are in times of adversity. We just feel like we are in less control. 

In the end, the only thing we can control is our attitude and the way we react and respond to the circumstances that we come our way. 


Money Doesn’t Provide Contentment

With the stock market dipping and unemployment rising, people’s hope in finances has been burst. Most people who make it their ultimate goal in life to be rich and acquire wealth are never satisfied with what they have. The reason is that money and the things that money can buy don’t provide lasting contentment. 

Contentment is a state of mind, not a destination. We don’t ever arrive there. We learn to be content. 


Inspiration Proceeds Innovation

The people and organizations that have been able to successfully pivot and find ways to add value to their clients and communities during this season are the ones that know their purpose in this world. As Simon Sinek puts it, they have a “strong why.” They know what they are passionate about and a crisis doesn’t quench but flames that passion. Adversity serves as an opportunity to refine their vision and find ways to use that vision to add value to the world. 

If you are a business leader, do you know your organization’s “why” or vision? If you are an individual leader, do you know your life vision? If not, it’s time to find your inspiration so you can produce innovation. (If you need help finding your vision, read this post on How to Lead with Significance: Vision)


Generosity is About Intentionality Not Abundance  

Some of the most inspiring stories during this season are not from people with an abundance of resources, but from people who are intentional with the limited resources they have. Stories like an elderly farmer sending Governor Andrew Cuomo one (out of the five he had) N95 mask to give to a nurse or doctor in New York City; or an entire community taking a small moment out of their day to simply cheer and applaud for our first responders and healthcare workers letting them know how much we appreciate them. 

What ways are you finding to be generous with what you have? If you haven’t found a way yet, I encourage you to spend a little time thinking outside the box. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, is there something you do have that you could share with others (a smile, a kind note, a meal?)


Game Plan

I know I’m not the only one learning valuable lessons during this season.

Take some time to self-reflect. What lessons have you learned during this season? What habits or mindsets have you built that you want to continue when this season is over? What areas of your life have been a struggle that you want to improve on?


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