As we near the winter solstice, the darkest night of the year, I like to reflect on the previous year and consider how these reflections can help leaders like you in your efforts to facilitate change and maintain your own mental health and well-being. If you are like many leaders I know, you are likely exhausted from navigating and facilitating change in your workplace and community.

Navigating change in our rapidly changing and at times turbulent workplaces and communities is hard enough. When we have to support our teams and communities through change, it can take its toll on our mental health and well-being.

I believe how we think about our world greatly influences what we see and where we decide to focus our efforts. Here are two reflections that I hope will help with your own positive mental health and well-being and help clarify where you’d like to focus your efforts to be the change while you facilitate change.

#1: Radical acceptance: Align with what is and decide to show up fully.

Rather than waiting for our world to slow down, become free of deadly viruses, or have less environmental and social justice crises, it can really help to simply accept that we live in an increasingly turbulent world impacting every single human being and community.

We can hide from the turbulence, wait it out, or we can align with it by accepting we are in the midst of: 
  1. a climate emergency that has far reaching impacts in our own lives, community and world; 
  2. deep political polarization impacting families, workplaces communities, and even social change movements; and 
  3. a potential opportunity for addressing climate change effectively and for facilitating transformational change of all our systems and institutions that were built on excluding some for the benefits of a minority.

Aligning with what is and accepting this collective moment in time means we are not shocked and traumatized every day, but it also does not mean we are indifferent or hide in our homes until it is safe to go out again. To me, it means having radical acceptance and deciding to show up fully and as safely as possible to meet the challenges of our times.

I invite you to consider, what in our world makes you want to bury your head under your pillows? Rather than allow it to shock you to your core day after day, or try to avoid its existence, or wait it out, how can you align with this reality? What do you need to feel safe to show up fully?
Two Ways Leaders Can Nurture Positive Mental Health & Well-Being

#2: All hands on deck and know your influence.

One of my favourite lines from my close colleague Michael Quinn Patton’s presentation to the United Nations Food Systems Summit is that “no one is in charge in a turbulent world… (we need) all hands on deck.” I believe his message is applicable to every complex social and environmental challenge we are facing if we are to achieve the transformation and sustainability we are all working towards.

We all know top-down solutions to our most complex social problems are no longer viable. And bottom-up approaches tend to amplify voices, but rarely achieve lasting system change. In our rapidly changing and turbulent world, there is no one leader that will solve our problems; we need all hands on deck. At the same time, we are only one person and trying to solve everything can lead to burn out.

Knowing our sphere of influence and working together with others, I believe, is the best way to respond effectively and sustainably to the times we find ourselves in.

I invite you to consider, what is your sphere of influence and where can you put your efforts for the greatest impact? How can you help your team, your organization’s leadership, and your community identify their sphere of influence, their strengths and their potential impact by being part of an “all hands on deck” approach to meeting the challenges of our times?

More mental health support...

In our next blog, I will dive into why I believe the most important step when we find ourselves running on empty while attending to the needs around us is to tend to ourselves by building belonging from the inside out.

When we recognize we are the most important instrument for change and take the time to tend to ourselves in this way, we reconnect to our values, our mojo and our energy. From this place of belonging more fully to ourselves and the world around us, we walk our talk by being the change as we facilitate change.
Join us to learn how to build belonging from the inside out and be the change while you facilitate change.
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About the Author

Jessie Sutherland

An international speaker, trainer, and consultant, Jessie Sutherland works with organizations and communities to engage diversity, build belonging and ignite intercultural collaboration. Her approach creates sustainable community change that effectively addresses a wide range of complex social problems.

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