By Cloé Caron, PCC, Certified Coach
In collaboration with Anik Desjardins, CHRP, ACC, Certified Coach
I was 8 years old when I saw Robert Redford for the first time, at Barbra Streisand’s side in The Way We Were. I fell in love! I was devastated when the movie ended with a scene where two souls in love took different paths. A year later, I met my father for the first time. I was 9 years old. I had imagined that he would look like Robert Redford. With this hope, I had assembled the pieces for a guaranteed collapse – my father, a southern Italian, could not under any circumstance resemble the famous actor. I lost my innocence…
Why am I telling you about this very personal part of my life? As I am writing these lines in October 2021, a thought is haunting me: What have these past 18 months really brought us? I have the feeling that this pandemic has made us all lose our collective innocence.
Can we get it back? How?
If I can go by my personal experience, I had to develop, with the help of coaches and mentors, a level of resilience never previously achieved over the years. At first, i had functional resilience*. It allowed me to face my situation and get on with it. Later, it became a leverage for developing my confidence, a positive perspective on my life and my future. It became growth resilience*. A growth resilience is possible when we accept that “it is what it is”, without any restraint. Without sharing all the details here, my relationship with my father is far from the love story between Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand. It is, however, part of who I am, part of my story, and it has allowed me to grow, to transcend expectations, misunderstandings, and fears. And today, I am at peace. I can appreciate the fact that this relationship has allowed me to grow.
What connections can we collectively make with this anecdote? I believe that we have developed the first level of resilience. We have faced teleworking, we have told ourselves that the situation is only temporary and that we would return to normal, we put in place mechanisms to manage performance remotely. It is now time to develop a deeper resilience – that which will be the lever that will allow us to collectively rediscover confidence and recreate a positive perspective on our lives and future.
Here is a 3-step process that I suggest to achieve this.
- Accept the discomfort that the current situation is generating: the pandemic, remote management, adaptation, the unknown. Offer yourself daily moments of calm and slowness to accept the situation as it is. Accept that loss of control or even constant uncertainty are uncomfortable.
- Observe this discomfort without trying to escape it, without judgement of yourself or others, just observe it. Have you taken the time to ask yourself where it is coming from? What are your doubts, your fears, your lack of understandings, your expectations? What is there? By practicing mindfulness or meditation, you are practicing being non-judgmental and welcoming of your experience.
- Ask yourself how you can develop a level of ease in this situation. What can you learn? Do your expectations need to change? Should you share your lack of understanding with your manager? Should you discuss your doubts with your team? What will allow you to overcome what holds you down and enter a growth resilience?
Like many of you, I wear many professional hats: I am the president and founder of o2Coaching, I am an executive coach, author, speaker, manager… Developing resilience as a leader is an integral part of all of these roles. It is also my role to help members of my team develop their own resilience. I do this, for example, by being purposeful, listening to them, welcoming them in their challenges, and fully trusting them.
This is also what I hoped to accomplish by writing my book Empower Your Team. Through managers’ stories, I wanted to give leaders the feeling that they are not alone, that they are supported, that they have the tools to excel at their job, which is as much extremely challenging and rewarding – more than ever – leading a team.
For those who want to develop their own growth resilience and that of their team, you can get my book at: cloecaron.com/en/empower-your-team