Are You Building A Better Train?

Today is Easter Monday, and Christians the world over are celebrating the resurrection of Christ – a rebirth into a new form, with new parameters and new understandings; the culmination of a walk of incredible hardship and personal journeying that also hugely affected the beliefs of a whole world moving forward.  Whilst I’m not going to try and compare our present journey through the world’s current situation with the journey of Christ, it does seem apparent to me that each of us is on a very personal walk during this time, and the beauty and hardship of each walk is not to be discounted.
Whatever this chapter has brought and is bringing for you, I have no doubt that you’ll be changed by it when we come out the other side.  I have no doubt that “the other side” itself is going to look a little different.  Opinions continue and the great debate right now seems to be whether the numbers Africa are presenting can be counted on and whether lockdown is “right” for Africa.  The only thing that seems certain is that there are no perfect choices and no know-for-sures, and that each country’s leader must make whatever decisions they believe will best serve their people.  What is also evident is that people will also make what choices they believe will best serve them too.  Economic downturn seems certain, whether it is caused by shutting a country down and social distancing, or letting the fear and goodness knows what else run its course and possibly overwhelming the healthcare systems and losing a few million people.
As always, I believe our focus should be on those things we can control and on what goes on within our own hearts, heads and homes.  Again, I believe that we will all come out of this changed somehow, and it’s our choice as to whether we see that as an opportunity or not.  Perhaps change will be in small ways – realisations and thought processes re-examined and tweeked.  Perhaps it will be in big ways where life courses are forever altered and set upon a new path.  Whatever the case, we can choose to go gracefully…..or not.
A few days ago, a friend sent me a link to a recording of Simon Sinek briefing his own staff on the mental preparation of trying to find a way forward, and a few of the things he said stuck out for me.  He said, “We’re in a dark tunnel, but there’s a light over there.  I don’t know how far away the light is, but I can see it.  We’re in darkness now, but when we come out of the tunnel, we’ll have a different train – a better train.  The opportunity is “what will we be?”, not “how do we preserve what we have?”.
He spoke about how we may all have different jobs (either slightly of entirely) by the time we come out the other end of this because the agility of reinvention is what will allow us to keep ourselves valuable.  He used the example of a fine dining restaurant in New York which has now started delivering food.  All their staff have managed to keep their jobs because their jobs have changed.  Regarding his own work, he said “I’m not worried about what I do, I’m worried about why I do it.  And I will find a job that helps me do that.  I will MAKE a job that helps me do that.” – i.e. WHYever you do what you do – find a way to keep doing it!
I think the core essence of that message is pure gold.  You can listen to it in its entirety here.
“The opportunity is ‘what will we be?’, not ‘how do we preserve what we have?’.”
This is a time of change.  A time of new realisations.  And if we allow ourselves to go with that flow, even when the flow feels like it might break us apart in the trying, then we will come out the other side of the tunnel renewed and ready to deliver more pure value and service than ever before.
This is a time of stripping away.  A time where what is old, clunky, hard to manoeuvre and outdated cannot move forward.  A time where what doesn’t serve us with integrity must fall by the wayside and new and purer methods and intentions must be revealed.  Whether that is in our methods or the way we view and care for ourselves and others; whether that is in the way we make money and deliver our service, or whether that is in the core makeup of ourselves and the value we deliver directly – all of it is calling for purification.
Whether we come out of this as better parents, better partners, stronger and more empathetic leaders, wiser teammates, or simply more authentic versions of ourselves, what we’re able to give the world will be better if we allow that process of stripping away.
“I’m not worried about what I do, I’m worried about why I do it.  WHYever you do what you do – find a way to keep doing it!”
Perhaps this time is to ask yourself what the essence is that you’re here to deliver?  What is your gift and are you fully giving it?  Have you been giving it in an imperfect form because you think it needs to look a certain way, when allowing it to all hang out would mean it is more perfectly delivered through your vulnerability?  Have you allowed yourself to be smaller than the world needs you to be because fears hold you back that you could almost instantly dissipate if you asked for help?  Are there things you need to move past, new forms you need to take that will allow you to grow into a next chapter and support yourself, your family and your team to grow too?  Must you find new ways to deliver your message, or risk the message dying altogether?
What is most centrally important to who you are and why you’re here?  What do you truly believe in?  Whatever it is, don’t discount that that belief is yours to hold and to deliver the value of – that you are an irreplaceable part of this equation.  The person next to you, or in the next room or home has a different belief; a different focus.  Each is uniquely given so that we all have different parts to play.  Consequently, yours is yours to give, and no one else’s – you leave a hole without giving “you” fully.
The way you deliver what you believe in may have changed or be changing.  Perhaps all you’ve notices so far is friction.  It may be that the change has come over decades or it may have changed in the last few weeks or days.  That the way you deliver it must change doesn’t change the value of what you’ve been given to deliver.  This tunnel we’re in will require courage from us all if we’re to figure out how to differently translate what we have to give.  Trust the process.  Trust the stripping away.  Trust the fear.  It’s all purifying.  And, if you allow it, it will help you build a better train by the time we come out the other end of the tunnel.  Whether that train is just you, or your family, or your team, your business, your community or your country.
This is an opportunity to grow.  To purify, revise, recalibrate and redeliver.  What will we be?  How will you redeliver?

by Christen Killick

April 13th, 2020

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