How Do We Thrive In An Ever-Changing Complex World?

We live and operate in turbulent times. Sometimes it feels cyclonic. Climate change, terrorism, artificial intelligence and technological disruption, natural disasters, pandemics, volatile financial markets, trade wars, and a general lack of leadership and accountability at a political level; it’s a rapidly-shifting, complex world out there, and many of us are struggling to cope.

Every day we encounter disillusioned leaders across the global community. High-flying entrepreneurs and top-level consultants who are stuck in professional – and/or personal – paralysis and can’t even see it.

We have a choice to make and here it is:

Choose to be buffeted by external forces. Or choose to thrive and lead.

In this article, we outline opportunities to transition from disillusioned and stuck, to empowered and unstoppable.

We’ve identified two critical areas likely to affect us if we do not make the choice to take charge:

  • decision fatigue

  • professional irrelevance

Decision fatigue

From the smallest to the most substantial, we are being asked to make a choice about something in almost every moment of every day’

  • Which super fund do I trust? or do I create my own?

  • When is the right time to push for promotion?

  • How do I consolidate, down-size or grow a business?

  • Should I chase the clients who pay the big bucks or the clients with whom I morally and culturally align?

  • Which real estate agent do I use to sell a house?

  • Do I stream Netflix, Stan, Disney, Foxtel or Amazon Prime?

  • Which fucking toothpaste should I buy, for crissakes?!

Energy wasted in decision-making leads to decision fatigue and analysis paralysis. With ever increasing amounts of information to be processed, it’s imperative that we become more knowledgeable decision-makers.

The digital revolution has produced a paradigm shift. Business and technology leaders are seizing opportunities and moving the dial on telecommunications and media at a frightening – and exciting – speed.

But when do we stop to make time for deeper thought? Is the fear of ‘keeping up’ stopping us from developing strong, innovative, future-focused leaders?

We live in a time where fake news is an accepted norm. Clickbait journalism, surface reporting and the 24-news cycle have reshaped the media industry, creating a hotbed for sensationalism and irresponsible reporting. Everybody with a smartphone has a voice and a thumb to ramp up the ‘news’ agenda.

The 2020 version of our personal and leadership evolution is driven by the thinking and behaviour of others, and generally lacks deeper knowledge of our own methodology. Traditional education did not equip us with the skills to take accountability and responsibility for things that matter in this rapidly changing and disruptive landscape. It’s no wonder we’re feeling the effects of fatigue, confusion and complexity.

How do we lead in a world where just ‘keeping up’ is a massive challenge? 

We change our game plan. We exercise the choice to thrive and lead, rather than survive and follow. We work at developing our own decision-making methodology – our personal code, as it were – so that we can process information effectively, purposefully and make sound choices that heighten our experience of life.

When we stop looking out and start looking in, we will have the power to discover our own unshakeable truth, to explore what drives us: why and how we make certain decisions; how we want to live; and where we want to be in ten years.

In developing our EQ power, we become calm, centred leaders with an ability to spot the unseen and unknown opportunities that exist within the chaos and complexity. We have an opportunity to move towards positive conscious instinct. We can practise a personal decision-making methodology fit for 2020 and beyond.

Survive or thrive? It’s a choice.

Professional relevance

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • I’ve worked my ass off and I’m not sure it’s been worth it

  • I chase the promotions, but now I’m feeling disillusioned

  • I’ve got where I wanted to be – is this all there is to it?

  • I am conflicted by all the different ways I should and could spend time

  • Could I be more present for my family?

  • I’m anxious about my professional future and not sure what to do

  • I’m feeling a little lost, how do I strengthen and retain my identity in this world?

Whether you’re a CEO, director, consultant or entrepreneur, the business landscape is complex and uncertain, It is the major cause of our fear and anxiety, and has an unseen impact on our ability to perform at the highest level.

When caught in a cycle of personal or professional uncertainty, it’s really hard to answer the two most critical, life-defining questions:

  1. What really matters? 

  2. What do I really want to do with my life? 

So we avoid them and keep busy instead. We blame the ever-changing, complex world around us: current climate, past decisions, fatigue, personal lives, company culture, board members, colleagues, clients, intense competition or internal politics. We inadvertently see ourselves as the victims of external circumstances which prevents us from passing stuck and disillusioned.

But we have a choice. We can choose to step out of the drama, reframe our perspective, and work towards becoming empowered and unstoppable.

We can’t control everything, but we can create and practise habits and methodology to activate the personal and professional life we want to lead; focused on what really matters to us.

If our purpose and approach are transparent, and our intentions align with the best version of ourselves, there is a clearer path to retaining professional relevance. 

There will always be challenges, but by creating a methodology – a state of conscious empowerment – to overcome challenges and avoid decision-making fatigue, we will be leading at the highest level. By contrast, remaining stuck in habitual ways of being is sure to narrow our vision, and lead us down a relentless path of frustration and limitation.

Your professional sphere is a reflection of who you are, so the new challenge is about showing up 100%, no matter where you are. Doing anything less is draining, uninspiring and depletes our capacity to create, innovate and lead. Don’t leave your personal stuff at the door.

The choice is ours: SURVIVE or THRIVE

In attempting to keep up with a rapidly-changing, complex landscape, we’re putting our health and wellbeing at risk. Future-proofing looks futile when the goalposts keep moving. Goal-setting, decision-making and value alignment look like insurmountable practises when the very earth beneath us is shifting. We can rely on our instinct, but our instinct was constructed in very different times.

And anyway, what are the component parts of instinct? Our internal world, our emotional quotient is developing from the moment we open our eyes and begin absorbing life around us. Our systems of choice, fear, love, exploration and truth have been built through our lifetime from fragments of what we thought was best, or what our friends and family thought best for us.

How curious have we been? How much time have we devoted to questioning how we constructed those systems or the source from which they came?

Consider this: Today, more people than ever have opportunities to make decisions motivated by pillars of intrinsic value – children, family, friends, nature, personal self fulfilment – rather than greed, power and status. Yet corruption, lies, ageism, racism, gender inequality and misogyny rage on.

Tens of thousands of years ago, humankind created a narrative around survival. Today, there is an opportunity to explore a narrative that thrives for the things that matter most to us in the 2020s and beyond; such as presence, love and action.

When you’re asked about your legacy will you point to a substantial approach to life and work that you believed in? Will you pass on ways of being that have helped you stay ahead of the game; empowered, calm and self-directed? Will you encourage others to live intentionally, with space to evolve and pivot in the direction of their conscious choosing?

Lead, rather than follow, and encourage others – through whichever medium – to do the same.

Choice empowers people to change perspectives and create options, presenting an opportunity to lead with responsibility and accountability. Calm, centred leaders can live life with self-direction and autonomy, contributing to the global community and greater change.

Futurist David Pearce Snyder says “the best advice comes from ancient truths that have withstood the test of time. Twenty-five hundred years ago, the Greek philosopher-historian Heraclitus observed that “Nothing about the future is inevitable except change”.

Two hundred years later, the mythic Chinese general, Sun Tzu, advised that, “The wise leader exploits the inevitable”.

Their combined message is clear: “The wise leader exploits change”.”

  • Equip yourself for change.

  • Discover your truth.

  • Reframe your story.

  • Activate the future you want for you.

  • Make way for unknown and unseen opportunities.

  • Make way for life.

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