The outbreak of the coronavirus has radically changed the way we live, work, and relate to each other in all areas of our lives and everywhere in the world.
Today more than ever, our world needs embodied leaders in each community, field, and area of life, to help our global family organize around a pandemic that is threatening the world as we know it.
One thing is for sure: after this crisis, nothing will be as it was before. But even though this crisis is hitting all of us hard, it also brings a huge amount of opportunity with it, especially for those ready to step up and take the lead in “the new normal”.
The old system wasn’t sustainable any longer. The way we were running exhausted us, as well as the planet, and demanded a radical shift. Unexpectedly, this virus has been able to stop all of us in our tracks and become a huge wake-up call for the entire world.
Now is the time for the new paradigm to be implemented. It is time for new ways of leadership to be embodied.
Whether you are leading a company, a classroom, a family, or simply your individual life, now is a time to level up and show up as a role model of what the new normal could be.
In this article, I will break down 5 qualities of embodied leadership that can help you respond effectively to what we’re facing in the world. These 5 essentials have been lacking in leadership in the past, and I believe are behind some of the biggest failures of our system.
Dealing With Uncertainty as a Leader
There are fear, anxiety, and questions in the minds and hearts of most people on the planet right now. As a modern society, this crisis is something we have never seen before and it all comes down to how we respond, rather than how we react.
Thrive Global conducted a national study of over 5,000 U.S. employees. Their findings showed that 80% of Americans feel helpless and as though things are out of their control. Even more, 85% wish their employer would do more to help them adapt and manage.
The employer is the closest figure to a leader many people have, it’s the reference point to ensure survival, although it has the potential to be so much more. This global epidemic is bringing forth opportunities to build new models of leadership, relationships, work, and consumerism.
The consequences of this pandemic ripple beyond a health issue. This international situation, which will go down in history books, is deeply affecting our global sense of security and safety, economic stability, and the emotional grounding of many.
This is where leadership comes in. People are looking around asking themselves, who is going to bring light to this darkness? Who can bring clarity to the chaos we’re all feeling?
At a time where governments and news channels are carrying hard news and restrictive rules, a new way of leadership in which we are embodied, centered, calm and compassionate could be the medicine many are needing.
This is your invitation and opportunity to wake up within yourself, activate and embody some qualities that have been long forgotten, and in the absence of which our world has fallen into a systemic imbalance that has led us to where we are today: a massive, global crisis.
The qualities we are missing are the FEMININE QUALITIES, and I don’t mean female, but feminine. Bear with me and keep reading, I am about to uncover an ancient truth.
The 5 Feminine Qualities of Embodied Leadership
Let me start by making a fundamental distinction between feminine and female. Female refers to gender identification, whereas Feminine refers to the primordial energy signature whose counterpart is the Masculine, both of which are beyond gender.
In ancient traditions, these two have been named Ying (Feminine) & Yang (Masculine) and are associated with very specific and complementary qualities and attributes.
This is simply an ancient framework that helps us understand the world around us and create a context to define the ways we create, move, and relate to the world.
Over the past few millennia, our world has seen a radicalization of masculine qualities; productivity, directionality, goal-oriented processes, doing-doing-doing, and completely out-of-balance consumerism. The masculine qualities aren’t negative in and of themselves, quite the opposite. Just like the feminine qualities, they are fundamentally needed for the world to evolve. It’s the lack of balance that creates the problem.
This balance I’m referring to has been absent in our society for too long; running our planet to exhaustion, the animal world close to extinction, and our emotional, mental, and physical bodies burning out.
We needed a wake-up call. Now is our chance to take response-ability and exercise our “ability” to “respond” to the situation with the embodiment of what’s needed to bring balance back to humanity: peace, center, civility, cooperation, solidarity, and love.
The following are the qualities associated with the Feminine that, after a decade dedicated to the study of it, I have come to see are most beneficial in times of extreme chaos and disorder.
The ability to understand and share the feelings of another regardless of whether we agree or not with their perspective.
This is different from sympathy, which refers to the agreement with the feelings of another and joining them in their emotional choice.
Being aware of and sensitive to the realities of those around us, as well as their needs and feelings is the fastest way to another’s heart, and ultimately, their loyalty. We are in a time when we need to build confluence and coherence, especially with the unusual isolation we’ve recently been experiencing as a global culture. Having the ability to deeply understand the feelings of your people is key to leading them successfully.
Honesty and grounded vulnerability build trust. Only when we can see deeply into the human experience of another can we relate to them. This creates a pathway to trust that person and their decisions or guidance. Vulnerability, as Brenė Brown so masterfully explains, is the ability to share enough of our intimate experiences to create a common field of understanding among individuals. It helps create a safe space where innovation can thrive because people feel safe to share new ideas and questions and be received without judgment.
3. Deep listening
A key quality of the feminine is the ability to listen, receive deeply, and fully take in the world. She is the creator of life in a universe where energy isn’t destroyed, it only changes form, therefore she takes it all in fully to then transform and create anew.
Our current times command us to listen deeply to each other and what’s needed, to be at the helm of what our bodies and our health have been saying. We are poorly prepared for this entire immune system shutdown, mainly because we have forgotten to listen to our bodies and what they truly need, beyond what’s being fed to us. Now our society is seeing the aftermath and fallout of this, as we hustle to put out fires when the world is blazing.
If we listen to the natural world it has much to share with us. Year after year deadly viruses and diseases are multiplying faster than we can keep up, many of them of zoonotic origin, which means originated in the animal world and transmitted to humans. Examples include SARS, Ebola, swine flu, rabies, avian influenza, and now COVID-19. Yet, we haven’t been listening.
It’s almost as if nature has been saying, “Please, remember we are co-existing here, if you destroy us you are destroying yourself. If you are unable to find a way to co-exist with us and change the way of life you have adopted, you may find yourselves in a life or death situation.”
And last but not least, listening to oneself. It’s time to train our intuition as much as we train our brains so we are not as susceptible to control and mass deceit.
Think for the next seven generations. From the smallest action to the biggest corporate or government decision, it’s time to broaden our perspective past the egoic I and into the collective we.
As leaders, it’s our responsibility to make sure our actions are supporting the collective, beyond our present time and into the future of our children.
Ask yourself, “Are my actions moving me and others in a direction of thriving and regenerating? Am I supporting not only myself and my profit but my community and the planet?”
And even further, can you have the healthy and powerful habit that Native American traditions speak about and think and act with the next seven generations in mind?
5. Solidarity, cooperation, and co-creation
Our world and our nervous systems are exhausted, overused, and in near burnout because we are still operating under the belief that we must do it all alone. This is the furthest thing from the truth. Cooperation will be the new normal, actually, cooperation is already the new normal and the only way we can make it through this pandemic.
Today, more than ever, we need each other to ensure survival. We are seeing that this crisis is relying on the shoulders of doctors, nurses, and grocery store workers, as well as the many others that are stepping up to be of service in the ways they are able. We are being asked to remain in quarantine and if we don’t trust our neighbors or rely on our friends we will feel very much alone and could begin to feel the emotions of despair and grief.
It has been proven, though many other times of intense need, that it is when we choose to act in loving ways with our fellow citizens on this planet that we all reap the benefits of such actions. How can we exemplify this necessary behavior to those who rely on us, and most importantly, are looking to us for a sense of, “Everything is going to be okay?”
In these climates of distress and uncertainty, we are regathering in groups, neighborhoods, virtual circles, online groups, and tribes in a powerful return to self-reliance. We are graciously relying on and dependent upon the epic advancements in technology and social media to keep us connected and “in the know” with one another. How can we leverage the gathering that is naturally occurring to create momentum to bring a sense of direct and effective leadership to the many seeking it?
Think about this for a moment: it’s the first time everyone in the world is talking about the same topic and it’s not football! We’re having deep and meaningful conversations about inspiring topics that go into human survival, as well as raising questions about the way we’ve been operating until now. It’s putting us in a prime position for change, which as we know, is inevitable. The question is, what do we want that change to be?
Together, we are realizing our mortality and how equal (and vulnerable) we actually are to the influence of a small molecule such as a virus.
This pandemic is leveling humanity and asking for humanity to level up.