I’ve sat down at my computer several times this week to write a new post. Willing myself to take my mind off of the Boston Marathon bombing and refocus it on my clients, writing, networking etc. Just go back to business as usual. I’m going to be honest with you – I’m doing a terrible job of it. After a lot of thought, I realized that I just didn’t want to post an upbeat piece on leadership and began to think about the leaders that are helping everyone else process and move through this experience.
There have been a lot of great posts written lately about how leaders can help their teams refocus and give them the space they need to simply be human as they process these unimaginable events. What about the leader, or the parent, or the teacher the doctor, or HR? They are the ones who are supposed to be strongest helping others to process and move forward.
If you’re struggling and find yourself battling depression, seek professional help. If you’re processing, feeling and learning your way though the after effects of the crisis, read on.
How do you get back into the routine of business as usual when your heart isn’t in it?
Don’t Make Assumptions
There is no badge for being unshaken when tragedy strikes. Many of us are quick to assume that since we don’t live nearby the center of events, it’s easier to get back to business as usual. Truth is, even after a few days have passed, many hearts and heads, including your own, are still distraught and distracted.
Say it Out Loud
Say what many people are thinking. “I know that it feels awkward and even inappropriate to have this meeting now when many of us, including myself, are distracted, sad and remain concerned about the bombings at the Boston Marathon. Let’s pull together and do the best we can.”
Go Easy on Yourself Too
If you notice that you’re having trouble focusing, get up and go for a walk or go grab a cup of coffee. Take a deep breath. Read a fiction book at night and get lost for a little while in a great story. It’s what you’d advise your employees to do, right?
Checking CNN.com every five minutes is not productive. Not only does it stop you from focusing on your work but also keeps your mind hyper-engaged looking for answers and updates that you cannot control. Watch the news, log on to news sites for updates, just don’t do it 24/7.
Work it Out
I’ve been running more this week which is not only healthy for me to do all the time but this week in particular it’s been a great way to clear my head and practice mindfulness. Being in the moment with the sun shining, the breeze blowing as my feet hit the pavement.
Do a Mitzvah
If you don’t know what a Mitzvah is, it’s a good deed. As I sit and wonder how someone could be so evil that they would plot to hurt so many others, I also think about the people who were impacted. Mothers, Fathers, Students, Children, Lawyers, Doctors, Runners, Coaches… good people with lives that will never be the same.
I can’t honor the victims by boiling over with rage or sadness but I can honor them by donating money to support their recovery and doing a good deed in their honor. If we all do at least one Mitzvah, we’re also taking back control from the darkness and evil in the world, showing them that hate will never triumph over the goodness of humanity.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Yes, we will go back to business as usual but it doesn’t have to be today. Give yourself time to process, to grieve, and help the best you can.
What good deed will you do?