We’re no strangers to working through difficult or uncertain times. But the current civic, economic, and personal upheaval we are experiencing can leave us feeling overwhelmed and despairing. All of our training, experience, and skills couldn’t have prepared us for this moment of COVID-19 coupled with glaring fault lines of inequality.
What do we do with the anger and the fear?
It helps for us to understand that much for the fear and anger comes from feeling unsafe and uncertain. What we need is to be able to shift how we see uncertainty and what it is telling us.
I want to share an experience with one of our clients, Ilana. Ilana wanted to address the needs of equity and inclusion in her organization. She wasn’t certain if she should bring this up with her boss, and if so, how she would do it. MJ and I spoke with her about how to look at her uncertainty with a different lens.
Read below, in Ilana's own words, how reframing uncertainty changed her and had an impact on those around her:
“When we first began to talk about working together, I knew I wanted to spark change in my company. I wasn’t yet able to articulate the answer to the question, “Why do we need to do this work?” Jennifer and MJ coached me through the process of identifying the terminology and the language I needed to bring the case for change to my performance review.
The idea that stuck with me the most from those early conversations was the idea that we’re not changing people, we’re changing the systems we’re operating within. When the systems change to become more equitable and inclusive, it influences and inspires the way people move within them.
Even in the short term, I’ve seen a lot of progress for everyone on our team. We’ve gone from people not talking in meetings to those same people leading the conversations. We’re now working toward operationalizing the values of DEI into our internal and external work and holding ourselves accountable to the values in an authentic way.
Personally, our team sessions and one-on-one coaching sessions have built my capacity to lean in when conflict arises; to reframe it as an opportunity. When I notice myself wanting to walk away or avoid a situation, I know that would just perpetuate the systemic oppression that exists. I feel agency now to use my privilege as a white person to engage in the conversations that need to be had; conversations that hold us accountable to the values we aspire to uphold.
And this has a ripple effect on everyone at the organization. We’ve been socialized to see ourselves as individuals. COVID has surfaced this. Racism is a public health issue and we need to act as a community in order to solve it completely. Working with Leverage to Lead has shown me the importance of being authentic and finding my own place within a community that is larger than myself.” - Ilana Valinksy
We can look at uncertainty with a different lens. Yes, we can shift where we stand and how we engage. Yes, we can reframe uncertainty.
This July, we invite you to join a small cohort of motivated professionals who seek to reframe uncertainty. Together, we’ll look at how this is the moment to interrupt biases, create spaces and practices of intentional creativity, connect, and grow in accountability.
Reframing Uncertainty is an 8-week online program led by Jennifer McClanahan-Flint and MJ Mathis of Leverage to Lead. With a custom curriculum that focuses on the particular needs of our participants, we will discover the opportunities within our current reality.
Each session will bring opportunities to build community and explore and discuss a different topic related to reframing uncertainty. Examples include: Your Brain on Trauma and Grief; The Comparison Mind; Clarity; Connection. Along the way, we will also reframe our understanding and approach to gratitude, hard work, time, agency, and more.
Our first session is on July 8, and we’ll meet every other week through September 4.
The cost of the full 8-week program plus all resources and materials is $799.
Click here to register now or read answers to frequently asked questions.
If you’re ready to stop waiting for the way forward to appear for you, we’re ready to build a path through uncertainty together.
We hope you join us for deep and timely discussions, lasting connections, and an honest look at how our own perspective can either empower or impair us.
Jennifer McClanahan-Flint is an Executive Career Strategist and the founder and CEO of Leverage to Lead. She helps women and people of color build careers with audacity and authenticity. If this article was sent to you by someone else and you would like to receive her articles directly in your inbox, please sign up here.