The compass is the original instrument of navigation. Explorers have been using it for centuries to determine their direction, and it was one of the first instruments ever used in flight, long before the more sophisticated instruments in today’s cockpits. It remains the foundational source instrument today. When a compass is placed in an aircraft, it requires initial calibration as it can be pulled off a true reading by what exists in its surroundings – the metal of the airframe, the other instruments, the presence and proximity of the radios and their frequencies etc. The compass is adjusted or “swung” in its working environment to account for these things and ensure it reads true.
Over time, the compass becomes less accurate, sometimes due to a build-up of small changes and sometimes due to major maintenance and the like. Unless the compass is reported to be outside of acceptable limits and requires more immediate attention, it is re-swung every three years as a matter of course.
We as individuals, and our collective teams as wholes are not dissimilar to a compass. We recalibrate ourselves in a specific position, for a specific role, within certain surrounds. Over time, we may get less accurate at what we do, and we may require recalibration. At present, there are many individuals and businesses that are experiencing the need for a complete re-swing!
The plans and goals that we set earlier in the year are no longer relevant or possible. Our surroundings may have changed so drastically that the way we thought before no longer points us to true North. For many, there is a requirement to start again, some even without the security of the jobs they held a month or two ago. Occasional recalibration is necessary and correct. When we are knocked completely off course, it can be hard to decide where to start from. Here are three suggestions:
Start with what you already have
When we are knocked significantly off course, we can forget that the value we hold hasn’t suddenly disappeared. What we’ve spent our time building and growing up to this point hasn’t suddenly failed to exist. Perhaps circumstance have changed significantly. Perhaps the things we knew for certain have fallen away. Perhaps the horizon looks unrecognisable from the last time we looked up and looked out. When this is the case, it’s easy to feel disorientated. What we require is a new perspective on the value we’ve built.
You have years of experience behind you. You’ve spent time investing in yourself, in your knowledge, in the relationships with the people you know, and in growing the connections and processes you’ve previously used and delivering value to those avenues. All of these things still hold that value. If you’ve developed a community of people who already trust you, start there. No need to figure out how to reach scores of new communities who are not yet familiar with you. Where have you already proven yourself?
If you have made business connections through your previous work who’ve experienced your input, start there. If you’ve honed a particular skill or have something you do that fills you with energy and in which you can become lost for hours, start there. Start where you already have flow. Where you already have trust. Where you already have knowledge. Even if you have to stand in that knowledge and recalibrate your perspective on its use and delivery.
Stay connected to your why – personal purpose or business essence
Whichever way you choose to look at it, each of us is uniquely purposed to be good at some things, and not so much at others. We find joy and flow doing certain types of work, in certain environments, with certain types of people. What fills us with joy, enthusiasm and energy may not be what the next person yearns for, but when deciding how to recalibrate yourself as an individual or as a business team, it’s super important that you give thought to what that is for you. What do you believe in? What is it that gives you that feeling of flow? WHY do you do what you do?
When we centre ourselves around our true North, often our pathway becomes so much clearer from there. Our next steps become more rational instead of fired in the dark. When we reconnect to what drives us, we realign ourselves with our natural energy and we’re able to use that energy to move forward instead of trying to develop the energy to do things that sap us immediately. When we are clear on exactly WHO we are trying to serve, what their renewed needs are and how they need to receive that value, we’re able to make the changes in course that crisis requires of us.
As a business and a team, when you orient yourself to a common belief and goal, clarity and direction become possible. Everyone is on the same page and pulling in the same direction. Recalibrating our goals requires us to figure out our true North first.
Collaborate with community
If there is one thing that is becoming abundantly clear in this time of crisis, it’s that those who are willing to extend themselves and to ask others “how can we serve you?” and “how can we add to what it is you’re doing” – those who are prepared to find synergistic collaboration with others who are already in service – are the ones who are going to survive. Crisis is stripping away anything with questionable authenticity. Anything with questionable value. It is creating new avenues for connection and building of community.
One of the most popular hashtags at the beginning of this year was #bettertogether. Where the world may sound like it’s dissolving into division, we have ample experience with the fact that division has never got us anywhere on any level. Competition may be healthy sometimes, but collaboration is THE lifeline in crisis – two heads are better than one, and anything that can provide better value is exactly what people want to hear right now.
So, who are your community? It’s possible they used to be your competition. How can you give, serve and add to what someone else is already doing? How can you do it better together?
In last week’s article, I mentioned that our ability to empathise with each other is becoming a superpower, and that we get to choose which community you belong to moving forward. That new communities of trust are growing based not on place but on purpose.
Is it time for you to recalibrate? Your goals, your team, your purpose, your value? Do you as an individual need to “re-swing” that helps you find your true North, realise the value you’ve already developed, and connect to the community you already know and trust?
Does your business require new goals oriented towards a new horizon, looking with renewed eyes at the needs you serve and who you can collaborate with to deliver increased, authentic value?
Regroup. Recalibrate. Relaunch.
by Christen Killick
June 15th, 2020