Personal Mastery Tools For Thriving In Chaos

[NOTE: A version of this post appeared on my Medium blog in October. The story is even more relevant now.]

In case you haven’t noticed, things are getting really weird. Global newsworthy weirdness aside, just look around your immediate environment. Perhaps you’re noticing a certain disruption in your daily life. A feeling of chaos. The job’s not quite right. Your tolerance for meaningless tasks is non existent. The CEO is in hiding. Some of your relationships feel off. You’re running into people you haven’t seen for years and were just thinking about. More than a few of your closest humans are facing life-threatening illnesses. There are crazy things going on in your head, stories you’ve had in there for ages that are surfacing for a better look. Most likely they’re the catastrophic ones that you always run to when things feel shifty and you need to play out the worst case scenario just to relax. These are all signs of transformation. Signs that it’s time to take the big step into your true essence and be fully who you were meant to be. As we all know, something’s gotta give. Our carbon-based, consumerist economy fueled by distracted tech addicts can no longer ethically sustain us. After all, it only really supports a few of the privileged and is doing immense damage to our minds, our relationships, and our habitat. Our workplaces are soul sucking with so called leaders solely focused on their own survival and a bottomless bottom line.

We’ve reached a critical mass of evolution to a higher level of awareness that all life is connected and we are responsible to the larger picture. It’s no longer possible not to exercise ethical values in our moment-by-moment choices. We are being forced to care and engage whether we want to or not. It can be scary. The very structures we have counted on for our survival are crumbling. Our addiction to instant gratification and our chronic avoidance of pain are being called on the carpet. Many of us have accepted the fact that transformation is happening. To some it doesn’t feel fast enough. To others it’s too fast. It’s hard to know what to do, but most of us have the feeling that we need a better navigation system. We’re hoping someone will show up to show us the way. But we are the way.

Here’s the good news. Change aka transformation doesn’t have to hurt so much. In fact, it’s just a pathway to our highest states of being if we let it. It can be a beautiful process in and of itself. Like the process of death. The highest form of transformation. A pathway to rebirth. The way through is about how humans show up rather than about business acumen or intelligence. In fact, finding smart, skilled people isn’t that difficult. All we have to do is align the humans around a common vision of possibility and help them co-create effectively together. But it starts with aligning ourselves as leaders and eager participants in the cause of our lives.

As a leader, it’s one of the most challenging and opportunistic eras in human history. An opportunity to guide an entire economic ecosystem to transform into one that is sustainable, viable, good for all creatures, the planet, and our galaxy. An opportunity to shed some of the old beliefs that keep us feeling and acting small. An opportunity to feel the most profound of human emotions, the satisfaction that comes from meaning and lived love for life. We now have the opportunity to work across generations of humans, from a wide variety of cultures, who are the force of transformation.

As a woman in this space, I am blessed to be gifted with intuition, empathy, interest in others, and a ripe body of knowledge from my career in tech, an industry that I grew up in and that grew up because of people like me. It’s time to combine wisdom, experience, and purpose with a generation of people who’ve had enough, to grow another industry. An industry that puts technology in service to the needs of life, not the other way around. To lead now takes responsibility to create and hold a powerful creative space to activate the heart and soul of good change. That takes a different kind of energy. It’s not a push. It’s not a “common guys, let’s kill it” kind of tone. It’s much more powerful than that. It’s the power of clear vision, deep listening, integrated awareness, and the courage to act.

So how do we, as transformation leaders ensure that we’re at our best, aligned to our highest calling, leveraging the vast resources available to make our vision for our best world a reality? It’s starts with commitment to fundamental ways of being. Here is my list of priorities and a few of my favorite resources and guides.

Cultivate Self Awareness: To get real with all yourselves, especially your discarded shadow parts. It’s time to stop being what you think others want you to be or what your ego is telling you to be. It’s time to be you. You’re youness is needed now! If you’re still unsure of who you are, what drives you, and what you desire, there are lots of ways to figure it out but it takes focus and a genuine desire to know. My favorite tools include:

  • Awareness work: Get a therapist. See them often and let them in. I’ve worked with a great one for nearly 15 years and we’re still peeling back the layers. I prefer traditional psychoanalysis and I work with Dr. Beth Steinberg in San Francisco.
  • External Personality Analysis: Traditional personality tests like Meyer-Briggs (I’m and INFJ), Enneagram (I’m a 2) provide great general information on your basic personality tendencies. For deeper insight, many people are turning to more spiritual tools like astrological readings. I can definitely vouch for the accuracy and insights of my personal friend and long-time spiritual counselor DK Brainard.

Double Down On Relationship: Life is a team sport. It’s really important that as we learn to see ourselves, we seek to see others for who they are rather than who we need them to be. This talk of diversity and inclusion isn’t just liberal mumbo jumbo. It’s actually good for our world. The more diverse a team, and the more inclusive of that diversity, the more likely we are to navigate these waters of change by finding the answers in each other and doing the work together. Relationship work is incredibly important here. My favorite foundation is the idea of Spiritual Partnership, a term coined and refined by Gary and Linda Zukav. A dear friend introduced me to this notion years ago. I apply the principles to my own romantic partnership and also to spirits I am deeply connected with including my friends, co-workers, children, co-parent, and family. Download the Spiritual Partnership Guidelines for yourself.

Stay In Grace: How I show up is everything. This means surrender, commitment to operate from a heart of love, trusting quiet intuition. I work on the process of continuing to let go of my need to control, manage the outcome, and just allow the moments to unfold in a way that serves. I try to act gracefully, speak gracefully, and treat others with gentleness and respect which is sometimes difficult for a type A personality. We all have a piece of the answer and the best way to connect to those answers is through grace. To assist my grace cultivation process, I spend at least 20 minutes everyday in my own freeform spiritual rituals that integrate astrology, numerology, tarot, ascended masters, yoga, and meditation. My mantra, “I am capable of a more creative, loving, and soul-satisfying way of living. I let go of the way that is too small for my soul.”

Believe: What you desire desires you. If your intentions are to create a more peaceful, creative working environment, or to feel more deeply connected to your partner, or to surround yourself with smart, motivated, like-minded people, all of that wants you too. So watch for signs and count your blessings no matter how small they might feel right now. What you appreciate, appreciates. Make sure what you appreciate has true value, a heart-centered purpose, and a feeling that there is no end to the supply of support we all need to survive.

Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open: There are signs of opportunity everywhere. Like the Greek philosopher Plotinus writes, “The stars are like letters that inscribe themselves at every moment in the sky. Everything in the world is full of signs. All events are coordinated. All things depend on each other. Everything breathes together.” If you want to refine your instincts, check out the work of Dr. Julia Mossberg and Theresa Cheung at The Premonition Code. It’s fun to get to know your future self and listen more deeply to intuition. .

Join A Community of Accelerators: My favorite is the folks at Luman and “Creation Leadership” where I learn and continue to practice the “Essential Skills of Transformation.” In addition, I trained to become a Death Doulah, a toolkit that for me is not just for physical death, but also for supporting people going through the death and transition of old ways of being which can be just as painful. Through this community I’m learning compassion, courage in the face of deep uncertain and certain loss, and critical skills like deep listening, legacy planning, and true acceptance of what is.

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