The real
source of certainty

Jen Ayres ponders pandemic procrastination and control – August 2020

The REAL SOURCE OF CERTAINTY

With a little help from Ginny and Gordon, I realised my last blog post (pondering on thought vs action) was rooted in a personal dilemma – I needed to make a giant leap but my concerns over financial security were holding me back.

Actually, it was worse than that. Those fears were pushing me in a direction I really didn’t want to go, but I was working VERY hard to convince myself otherwise. It’s at times like these when I understand why Zen Leader encourages us to recognise when we’re stuck in a loop and then dig around to find out what’s really going on. For me, 8 weeks ago, I was stuck in self-negotiation mode and ignoring my gut, which inevitably leads to procrastination.

I’m definitely not alone in this. Procrastination seems to be a by-product of this pandemic for lots of people. The desperation to find a whiff of certainty in these uncertain times can rob us of our ability to make a decision. The business news is peppered with business owners waiting for Government announcements to decide what their next move will be. And therein lies the problem.

Whilst we obviously need to understand the macro environmental factors at play, how easy it is to fall into the delusional belief that we can find the certainty we crave by focusing primarily on external sources – we look at things beyond our control in order to feel more in control.

Ginny’s seesaw analogy springs to mind chapter 4, The Zen Leader. Are we sitting on the seesaw waiting for something sturdy to sit on the other end? Or do we embrace the fear and enact my favourite childhood playground feat: stand in the middle of the seesaw and move the whole thing ourselves. Being agile, fearless and taking action is what creates a true sense of control. The ups and downs are part of the game. Maybe even the most interesting part. 

Taking all of this on board, I weighed the pros and cons of my current situation, realised the great opportunity in front of me and LEAPT before I talked myself out of it. From 1 October 2020, I’ll finally be my own boss and I really can’t wait!


Chris Johnson (left) and Stephany Dano (right), IZL Alumni with new projects

IZL Alumni Spotlight

IZL Alumni Chris Johnson and Stephany Dano are both bringing new projects out into the world. Chris Johnson is writing a book, The Leadership Pause, and you can join her pre-order campaign on Publishizer. Stephany Dano has started a new podcast, Unknowingly Connected, and she interviewed Ginny in her first episode. Be sure and check out the work of both of these Zen Leaders!


Resource Yourself for These Uncertain Times!

Uncertainty abounds. Fear is in the land. People are struggling. And here you are trying to run a business, help your community, and make a positive difference.  How can you pour yourself into these challenging times, make your greatest difference, and not burn out? 

An answer lies in the radical reframe that is Zen leadership. Train at IZL and you’ll increasingly experience what it means to “become the other, go from there” and lead from your whole self.  We’ve got two formats for our foundational program this fall (serial and weekend), and one may be just right for your schedule. Moreover, you won’t have to travel any further than your computer as we bring the program right to your  home.

Can Zen leadership be learned online?  We asked this too, and responses from our students this spring gave a resounding YES!  As futurist Yasemin Arikan put it, “This program can help you become a more effective and resilient leader. It did for me…[It’s] a useful and meaningful investment of your time and energy. 10 out of 5 stars :)” Leijla Mundzic, head of a non-profit had this to say: “This is life transforming… So many tools and methods to use. And to combine Zen in all of this is for me amazing. This really changed how I see my life and it’s going to change a lot of things in the future as well. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” 

Come. And become a stronger force for co-creating a better world. 

Registration Open for YWCA Racial Justice Summit

In our last newsletter, we shared news about the Racial Justice Summit, put on by our friends at the Madison YWCA. We’re excited to let you know that their registration is now open – and you can get an early-bird rate now through August 15!

Stop the Presses!

Two late breaking news items:

First, We are changing the format of our ZL1 – Asia program. It will become a serial program running 7-10pm, Vietnam time, from September 17 – October 22. We expect this will allow more people to participate. Our program page will be updated by noon Wednesday.

And then, our sister organization, Chosei Zen, is presenting a 90-minute webinar on What is Zen Training? Kenneth Setsuzan Kushner Roshi will share the history of the Chosei Zen lineage and his 40 years of Zen training experience. There will be time for questions and answers. Saturday morning August 22, 7:30 – 9 am US Central time (immediately following virtual zazen, in the same zoom room)

Do we know how to find you?

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