In difficult times, we all need some guidance, some inspiration and... an occasional kick in the butt.
To help leaders, entrepreneurs and soloists navigate the unchartered waters of the Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on our lives, The CultureLab Podcast team created a virtual box of audio postcards.
They contain powerful messages from the world's leading thinkers, leaders, movers, and shakers.
We will keep updating the box regularly, so please come back! If you want to be sure not to miss anything, sign up to the CultureLab Insider here. To learn the story behind the idea, scroll down below.
Ok, time to dive in - just click on the name of the person to listen to and view their message.
Sent from New York.
Here's the transcript of Seth's message:
Hey, it's Seth. I hope that you and yours are finding peace of mind and health. The world has turned topsy-turvy, and our hearts are with you wherever you are. And now the question. The question is: What will you do today? And then, what will you do tomorrow? Because five years from now or five months from now, when we write the history of today and tomorrow, you'll be in it. What will we say? Who will we seek to become?
So, the practical choice for an entrepreneur for a soloist for someone who is seeking to lead is to become resilient, to realize that we cannot control what is going to happen next. But we can become the kind of person, the kind of organization that's okay with whatever happens next, that can see who needs us, that can see the change we seek to make over time and that can commit to that, day by day.
Not day trading our emotions by looking to see what the latest breaking news is but instead, settling in place, finding a foundation where we can stand, helping others, inspiring others, connecting others.
Because if we do that day after day, we end up with what we end up with. Because all we can do is figure out how to be a meaningful contribution, to open the doors to possibility.
Keep making a ruckus, it matters.
Be safe and be healthy but also realize that this is going to be a slog. It's going to be a slog that lasts longer than we'd like.
But there will be another side and on the other side, you will come out as someone who has intentionally become the person and organization you sought to become.
Good luck. Here’s to health and peace of mind.
Sent from Nebraska.
Here's the transcript of Cy's message:
Hello. Cy Wakeman here on behalf of CultureLab Audio Postcards.
We're in some pretty challenging and - for some - very unsettling times.
As a leader, as a founder, the temptation is to figure out what you know and go out and have an impact, figure out how you can do what you need to do, keep driving, thriving, keep business on track. (You) just do it differently (now) - you do it virtually, from home. And all of that is good and much of is necessary.
But I want to invite you to get everything you can out of this experience, to really mine this experience for all that it has to teach us, to get what it came here for. And to do that, I need you to move out of all that you know.
As leaders, we jump into: “What do we know?,” and unfortunately our knowing keeps us from… knowing.
I want you to spend as much time in unknowing, in pure curiosity - getting back to beginner's mind.
See, situations happen and we, as leaders, jump in - sometimes from ego - like we're going to have an impact, we're going to succeed in spite of the facts - which I love - but I also know that we need to actively allow ourselves and our teams to be impacted by the experience. Not to be traumatized - but impacted.
So, I'm allowing my team some time to just really curate their lives from this, to ask ourselves the questions:
- What is it here to teach us?
- What don't we know?
- What do we need to spend time with?
- What do we need to mine these lessons for?
- And how can we use that information (not what we know) to survive this thing?
- How can we use what we don’t know and what it teaches us to flourish in the future and to really take a look at those lessons and use them to curate a life going forward?
Part of me believes the Universe put us in the big time-out because we needed to reflect and we needed to really get in touch with the things that we’re not knowing and we need to get to know them.
So, stay curious. Let your teams be impacted by this and carve your way forward not with what you know but with what you're curious about and come to know with beginner's mind.
I was ten when the martial law was introduced in Poland.
Suddenly, there were tanks in the streets and members of the Polish opposition movement, Solidarity, got arrested and thrown into jail without a trial.
The mass media, public services, healthcare, power stations, coal mines, seaports, railway stations, and most key factories were placed under military management.
My parents were told in no uncertain terms that they would either follow military orders or face a court-martial. It was a really dark time.
But for me, as a kid, the worst part about the martial law was the sudden lack of mail.
A window into a better world
Mail had been a major highlight throughout my childhood. There was no doubt in my mind that we got the coolest mail on the street (perhaps even in the whole town!)
In a country completely isolated from the rest of the world, my family would regularly receive postcards from Antwerp, Hamburg, Los Angeles, New York, Colombo, Piraeus and other amazing places. They were mailed by my dad's best friend, uncle Malinowski. He was the chief engineer on a ship and the only person I knew who was allowed to travel outside of Poland.
For years, I’d run to the mailbox the moment I spotted the postman. He didn’t always bring a postcard. But when he did, I’d clutch it as if it were the most precious object in the world, rush back home and demand that my grandma or my parents tell me about the place that the postcard was mailed from.
At night, I’d take the postcards to bed. I’d look at them in the dim light of my nightstand lamp again and imagine that uncle Malinowski’s greetings contained a secret message, a message written in some sort of code, a message that would help me figure everything out.
Those postcards were my window into a better world, into a better future. Without them, I felt lost and directionless.
The antidote to lockdown blues
40 years later, I’m in lockdown again, this time in Italy - the place to follow China as the largest outbreak of Coronavirus in the world.
But this time, we are not alone - there are billions of people in the same situation, all around the globe.
I know that it can feel dark, scary, and uncertain. And in my experience, in times like this... getting mail helps.
And so I thought: what if we started sending postcards with messages of hope and solidarity, with messages on how to start figuring this all out? The sort of messages that contain all that we need to hear to stop freaking out and start moving in the right direction?
We’ll keep posting these messages as long as it feels like we need them.
Humanity has been through worse than this. I know that we will pull through this - and we have a chance to emerge stronger on the other side.
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Stay safe and healthy.