Last week, I listened to Brene Brown’s new podcast, Dare to Lead. You can listen to the first episode here https://brenebrown.com/dtl-podcast/
As she spoke about bravery and courage for leaders, my thoughts jumped to applying these concepts in our personal lives. As we navigate through the pandemic we need the same type of courage that she sees in successful leaders if we want to manage the inevitable psychic trauma that hits each of us in different ways.
Leaders learn to face change and uncertainty. In living through this time we also deal with uncertainty as well as innumerable changes. We need reserves of courage to live through this time.
Meaning of Courage
A quick Google search provides two broad meanings for courage:
- the ability to do something that frightens one
- strength in the face of pain or grief
The site goes on to cite the capacity to face extreme dangers and difficulties without fear.
When facing the threats of the pandemic, both meanings resonate for me. Courage is necessary to look beyond the immediate day-to-day issues during the pandemic. The courage to look for intellectual and spiritual growth as we face loss and grief may feel elusive and we will need to tap into our stores of bravery.
While many think of courage in terms of physical actions to allay bodily harm, other important dimensions include social, emotional, intellectual, moral, and spiritual actions. Self-awareness when managing emotions, dealing with the loss of important social relationships, and handling the many unknowns is a critical skill. Through self-awareness, we learn to love and protect ourselves and those around us.
Courage for Second Wave of the Pandemic
With increasing numbers of positive tests, hospitalizations, and deaths there is no question that we are dealing with the second wave of the pandemic.
It’s time to face our fear of what may lie ahead in the next weeks and months. Similar to Brown’s comments about the vulnerability that leaders feel when faced with uncertainty, we will feel uncomfortable and awkward as we deal with the stress and uncertainty regarding how this virus continues to affect our lifestyle.
When lockdowns and isolation orders first hit in March 2020, many of us saw this as an unusual event that would give time to enjoy much-needed solitude. The change-of-pace was welcomed as an opportunity for ‘down’ time. In the Northern Hemisphere, we were grateful to stay at home to wait out the winter snuggled in front of fireplaces with lots of online diversions. We embraced the ‘novel’ in the Novel Coronavirus!
When the warm weather arrived and infection rates declined, everyone was ready to get outdoors and begin to meet family and friends at a safe distance. Wearing a mask and staying two meters apart was inconvenient yet these measures allowed us to go shopping and resume some activities. As businesses opened, many gradually let down their guard and paid lip service to public health guidelines.
With the arrival of autumn, Canada, the US, and most of Europe are well into the second wave. Numbers of infected people are spiking everywhere as are rates of hospitalizations and death. Unfortunately, this is when so many people are tired of public health restrictions; pandemic fatigue is rampant.
To stop the second wave of virus spread, each of us will need a big dose of courage. We need to use common sense to avoid situations where large groups gather; we will also need to limit social contacts (again) and exercise caution when in public spaces by wearing masks and distancing.
To move ahead and bravely tolerate another period of isolation, we need to look within. Each of us already has stores of inner strength. We know how to be brave. We can summon the courage to safely face what this pandemic brings!
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