Look Forward & Move Forward
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Look Forward & Move Forward

Rebecca Ryan on why “getting back to normal” goes the wrong direction ~ December 2020

Have you heard it, too? 

People are looking forward to getting back to normal.

I smell a problem.

You cannot “look forward” and “go back.”

When you drive West, do you face East?

When you go for a walk, do you moonwalk backward?

Later this month when you turn your calendar to 2021, will you implement your 2019 plan?

Nostalgia is a seduction; going back has never been a good strategy. Ask Kodak. Or Arthur Anderson. Or Borders. If you cling to what was, your hand cannot open to what could be.

Here are ideas for Zen leaders, to look forward and move forward:

1. Where can you leapfrog?

Leapfrogging is advancing from one place to another without progressing through all the stages in-between. It’s like hitting all of your 2025 goals next year.

Many leaders are doing the opposite: they’re moving their 2020 goals into 2021 or 2022. This may be a mistake. Disruptions create excellent conditions to leapfrog:

Here’s an example of leapfrog: a Midwestern school district recognizes that many of its students will have a learning loss of up to three years due to Covid19.

The district’s strategic plan includes a 2025 investment in computer-assisted learning (CAL) software. Here’s the leapfrog: the Superintendent asks the School Board to invest in CAL now, and blends it with a re-imagined summer school term to help students recover more quickly.

Leap. Frog!

2. Remember your purpose

What your work is and how you do your work may be impacted by the pandemic. But if you carefully consider why you do your work, opportunities emerge. 

Madison chef Francesca Hong’s restaurant is struggling, but her purpose is to feed people, so she started Cook it Forward which has served 50,000 meals since the pandemic started and has managed to retain 100% of the restaurant workers who’ve been involved.

3. Don’t Forget 2020. Use it.

You’ve probably heard that 2020 is: “a dumpster fire,” “the worst year ever,” “a year to forget.”

I don’t want to forget 2020.

I don’t want to forget a PPE shortage or George Floyd’s asphyxiation. I don’t want to forget how we were 40% more productive in the first few months of lockdown or how “You’re on Mute” is as normal as Zoom fatigue.

I don’t want to forget the refrigerated trucks that stored dead bodies or Governor Cuomo’s daily press briefings. I don’t want to forget the cars lined up for Covid tests and at food banks. I don’t want to forget the worldwide protests for Black lives and that 2020 was the year Mississippi changed its flag.

I don’t want to forget how many people voted in the 2020 presidential election or the foresighted local election officials and volunteers who planned how we could all vote safely. I don’t want to forget the day that a Black woman became a candidate for Vice President or the night she gave her first speech as Vice President-elect.

I prayed that this pandemic would change me. And it has. It has rekindled my fire for better futures and it has proven to me, yet again, how Zen makes better leaders.

Rebecca Ryan is a Zen Priest, Zen Leadership Instructor and Chair of the IZL Board of Directors.

resonate early-bird pricing ends December 29TH

You’ve heard about the exciting new course that Ginny Whitelaw is leading through Innerplicity.com. You’ve thought about joining but aren’t sure. If you’re giving any thought at all to registering, you’ll want to do so by December 29. The price through then is the lowest it will be.

The Resonate experience will soon be available via a new 6-week online training program, in partnership with the InnerProfessional.com professional and leadership development catalog. Besides being included among transformative, world-class consultants, authors and trainers, Resonate will be presented via an online community experience like no other. This program will enable you to join an online peer-group community to expand your like-minded professional network and connect with supportive practice partners. The 6-week program will include about an hour per week of self-paced, on-demand exercises and content. Additionally Ginny will personally facilitate three live, one-hour online group sessions.

Ginny joins yoga beyond exercise summit

How can yoga and physical practices be much more than exercise? Join Julie Upton in exploring that question through in-depth interviews with more than 20 top teachers, including Ginny Whitelaw Roshi speaking on how physical practices change our resonance.  


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