“Every event has two handles,” Epictetus said, “one by which it can be carried, and one by which it can’t. If your brother does you wrong, don’t grab it by his wronging, because this is the handle incapable of lifting it. Instead, use the other—that he is your brother, that you were raised together, and then you will have hold of the handle that carries.”
This is a critical life question and particularly relevant right now in light of the mountain of adversity we are facing, individually and collectively. Which handle will we grab? I want to remind you that I am here and I want to touch base and help you achieve your goals in these very trying times. I want to help you with your handle.
HOW TO MANAGE WHEN YOU AREN’T IN CONTROL
For me, right now feels unsettling, uneasy, like I can’t quite get my footing. The unknown is scary, as I write this, I remind myself that everything is always unknown. This is not the mainstream assumption; our assumption is that we are in control of everything.
As a coach, I attempt to plan and control situations by creating a coaching plan or planning the conversations and questions I’ll ask during a coaching conversation, but those plans and attempts at control do nothing when the people in crisis comes in and shares that they were involved in an unexpected tragedy. What is my action when I’m in crisis? At that moment, I know I have to give space to the people’s needs completely. The conversation I’ve planned disappears and my love and compassion rise to the surface.
Many of us have currently lost our “givens” – the structure of coaching, the expected patterns of clients needs, I can support people in so many ways around these things. This great unknown of COVID-19
- What do relationships with colleagues look like when we aren’t physically with each other?
- What do relationships that are built around the community look like when the community isn’t present? What do relationships look like when no longer looks the same?
As I plan for something I cannot envision, I think about what I am currently doing with my friends – reaching out, checking in, setting up virtual meeting spaces. These aren’t structured spaces with agendas, but instead, they are listening spaces, support spaces, community spaces. These spaces are filled with all the emotions – fear, silliness, sadness, curiosity, and so much love.
The new normal is rising. We can make significant structural and systemic shifts during this time. I implore each of us to imagine here – instead of attempting to fit what we currently do into a different “covid world” box. I implore us to center love and compassion and listening, rather than knowing. I implore each of us to take care of ourselves with rest and self-love. And so what? What is your call to action when in crisis?
WHEN LOVE IS YOUR CENTER
No matter what happens or what sort of space is created these are the words I am keeping at the center as I imagine and plan: