The current lockdown has taken me back to the 1990’s I can’t remember which year, (1997 maybe?). I’d be about 20, I was at university and I had discovered the clubbing scene. It was a place that time had forgotten, until the birth of virtual parties online satisfying the extroversion I thrive on here in 2020. Like many of you, finding meaning has been difficult during this time and to fill the void of being around people, I’ve been listening to a virtual DJ and thinking back to 1997 where I would have been spellbound by the flashing lights and crowds of people in a dingy dark building somewhere, naïve but happy feeling a sense of belonging relating to a ‘tune. Fast forward to 2020 and I am dancing in the living room (a wife and a mother) sipping cranberry juice – no longer vodka- and feeling in my twenties. Tip number one google word of mouth (Stuart Ojelay) if you need some ‘Ibiza’.
Stuart has been playing a universally epic tune from that era mixing Tori Amos ‘Professional Widow’ and Lisa Stansfield ‘People Hold On.’ I started thinking about the lyrics and our response to the current crisis organisationally both now and beyond COVID. In particular the lines:
‘Givin’ into life, givin’ into love
Maybe there’s enough for everyone
Givin’ into hope, givin into trust
Maybe there’s enough for everyone.’Lisa Stansfield ‘People Hold On’
I’ve also been reading a wonderful book by Mike Vacanti ‘Believership the Superpower Beyond Leadership’. Mike is a really humble guy who is achieving great things. I feel like I have known him my entire life and importantly that connection comes in part from the fact he shares the view I have (and others) that vulnerability is the key to leadership. I am lucky to have him in my network and his book poses many questions for me about wondering how businesses are responding to our crisis and what their forward plan might look like – has it been command and control or have leaders avoided some of its traps ? Have default behaviours risen to respond to crisis( both reacting to or feeling the effects of?).
Some of these ponderings/fears Mike sums up wonderfully in his book:
‘In pursuit of control and mechanization of human behaviour , we’ve restricted our capacity to meet today’s significant challenges. Yet this is at a time when we need to expand our human capacity. Creativity and ingenuity. What I have experienced and learned to be true is, given the opportunity people will amaze us’
I’ve been fortunate to remain in work through this time and in a team responding to the internal wellbeing issues related to COVID 19. Not front-line but nonetheless a challenging and creative time for the team who have been given freedom to respond to work towards what ultimately matters- the people we work with and supporting them to be able to help our community.
I think we have done some great things. However I know I can do more and I will take a beautiful excerpt from chapter 8 of this book to demonstrate how. Entitled ‘Lift Others’, Mike reveals that he starts each day with a ‘morning meditation focused on two words: ‘lift others [and he ends] each day with a reflection: is it better?’. In my self-absorbed moments I am sure this will help to ensure that I remember the purpose and help others to achieve theirs. We all want the same thing.
So back to the song
‘so who’s gonna give us the answer? Sister and brother!’Lisa Stansfield ‘People Hold On’
My clubbing days may be drawing to a close as I hobble around my living room today from too much exuberance but I think both the book and the song have really reenergised my weekend and when I return next week I want to share that positive energy, despite the challenges we face.
Thank you Tori Amos, Lisa Stansfield and Mike Vacanti and ‘People…. hold on.’ Avoid the traps, practice self care and above all be kind to one another. This too shall pass.
An interview with Mike Vacanti can be found at https://hresque.co.uk.