Reality is what you run into when you’re wrong. – Dallas Willard
If you’re going to do your most important job – managing yourself in this time of crisis – you’re going to have the opportunity to rethink everything. Your feelings, especially the persistent feelings you experience throughout the day and week, reveal the stories you tell yourself. You can track those narratives if you try. Before long, you will be staring at a list of assumptions that have driven your life and work.
Reality has revealed many of our assumptions to be anywhere from slightly off kilter to flat wrong. Here are a few stories I’ve told myself that it turns out are no longer true or useful:
- I assumed I have almost infinite freedom of motion. I can go anywhere my hometown airline will take me whenever I want. In boarding group 1. I can’t.
- I assumed I knew the worst that could happen and I had essentially planned for it. I didn’t.
- I assumed that if unemployment grew, it would be by a handful of points, not double digits. I was wrong.
This reality check doesn’t have to be depressing. You’re alive because you’re the descendent of those who have faced major challenges, many greater than what we’re facing today. You’ve faced your own. Through a combination of your persistence and a grace you can’t control, you are still here. You still have something to contribute.
That means you can start rethinking your narratives with a spirit of curiosity. You can wonder what new tricks of survival and thriving we’ll work out. You can have the joy of living in sync with reality instead of deception.
Embrace reality. Let your feelings help you surface and rethink your assumptions. Then you’ll be the grounded leader we need you to be right now.