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Stepping up to lead the way

 April 30, 2013

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I stand 152 cm and yet the view I have seems to be staggeringly clearer and wider than that of the tired taller travellers in the mainstream who are feeling bent over at the waist, staring down the chasm of doom and gloom.
Popular media tell me the economy is not good - it is bad, we are never going back to the good times, and there’s nothing we can do since the world is in crisis. Politicians fight and bully each other with personal attacks, shock jocks make money as they talk up the financial downside, and many otherwise optimistic people I know are saying pessimistic things like ‘you can’t trust anyone’, ‘things are worse than I’ve ever known’ and, ‘someone should do something!’
So I want to know where the hopeful people are? And who specifically should do something?
The tendency to pessimism and a sense of powerlessness is creeping into the business mindset too, so where does that leave leadership?
Business owners and high level executives all need to work on their emotional state to overcome the negatives.
In the midst of a real crisis leaders tend to step up, put their case and act, typically others follow. But in chronic doom and gloom we might easily slip into, and get weighed down by, the overall mood; the more we do the worse we feel and it is hard to avoid being drawn into the monotone hum.
Women in particular can lead the way in tough times; we are influencing every moment of every day. At work, at home and with friends, we influence each other, and whenever we let others join the monotone chorus of doom and gloom we fail them.
As soon as we slide into hopelessness and helplessness we have nowhere else left to go...better we look at our situation as it is and reset our expectations. On the flip side it is futile to be overly rosy with all things positive.
What we do need is a realisation that our inner strengths are still ever present, and we have the power to chart a course and work to overcome the obstacles no matter how small or tall we might be.
If the doomsayers are getting to you it probably happened so slowly you didn’t sense it overtaking your precious optimism. It’s a bit like the slow boiling frog. Everyone is a bit depressed and down, wearing the ‘busy’ tag as a fashionable badge of honour, and now accessorised with ‘things are bad’ mask. Why is nobody prepared to say that things are, or can be, good?
This is not to say that you might not have dire issues and problems that need to be addressed. However, without hope it can feel like too much struggle, tough to find the motivation to find answers or to ask for help. It is important to recognise you are feeling stymied and stuck and find a way to get on higher ground, and to find an overview.

It’s important that we talk about meaningful change, and think in solutions. Lots of people are feeling the weight; we need to be leaders, to stand up and say that we can overcome problems in tough times.
When emotions rule over reason emotional resilience slips and we can rapidly move from teetering on the precipice and fall into the chasm of helplessness and hopelessness. With emotional resilience we have a real edge to ensure we deal with the issues in life with hope and realism.
I may appear as small but I stand tall and ready to build a community of hopeful and helpful women as leaders. Together we can be a tower of strength and lead other away from the precipice. Are you with me?
Noelene Dawes is an Australian author, speaker and executive coach based in Sydney. Noelene specialises in relieving stress and releasing leadership capability. Here latest book Your Emotional Edge is a guidebook for women who dare to fly high and achieve it all in leadership and life. Noelen's podcasts are available on iTunes. For free resources and more information see www.EmotionalResilience.com.au 



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