I began the new year by doing something I haven't done in a long time - visiting a drive-thru safari!
Ok, so maybe the "safari" in small town Mississippi isn't the same as a safari in Africa or even a big city would be, but it was still lots of fun and we saw lots of cool animals. Many of them came up to the car and ate from our hands.
I can assure you that while I had some preconceived ideas about what the day at a small town safari would be like, I was not fully prepared for how much fun and exciting something as simple as driving around an animal park could be.
We saw longhorn cattle, deer with large antlers, and a skittish ostrich all sticking their heads in the car and lapping up the food pellets. Definitely a sight to behold.
I realized later that this simple excursion brought with it a chance to forget the disruptions of the coronavirus, the concerns for the future, and the stresses of the day.
I was reminded that the power of change comes from a mindset, not a milestone.
Most likely you started following my weekly email because you were interested in being trauma informed or learning more about trauma-informed leadership. From my own experience, I can tell that my perception of being trauma informed has come from the small incremental moments that helped shape how I see the problems facing the world and how being trauma informed can make a difference.
But I recognize that not everyone feels the same or will be as easily swayed.
I'd like to recommend a short, easily read book that provides a framework for how people are moved to believe in something new. If you've struggled with why people just "don't get it" and can't see the problem the same way, understanding this framework is helpful.
The book by Adam Hammes, Stress-free Sustainability: Leverage Your Emotions, Avoid Burnout and Influence Anyone, has helped me in my endeavors to spread the gospel about being trauma informed.
Hammes' framework consists of three stages:
When faced with a new idea, we often have contempt. In other words, we don't support it and often think its a bad idea or an idea that won't work. Sometimes, we might ask why things even need to change.
If we stick with the idea long enough, we move from contempt to curiosity. In other words, we are open to the idea enough to want to learn a little more. We might ask for examples of where such an idea has worked before.
Finally, and hopefully, we see the impact and necessity of the new idea and become fully committed to the cause. We recognize that we had limited information and understanding before, but now we want to implement what we have learned.
For me, trauma-informed leadership is all about moving from contempt to commitment.
Changing how we think about leadership is not easy and "success" in 2020 has been very, very slow. In fact, I've seen molasses in Canada move faster. However, I am not deterred!
I am ready for the new opportunities 2021 brings to share my trauma-informed ideas, thoughts, and opinions with anyone who will listen. I know not everyone will hear, but I'm confident that over time we will make a difference.
Today, if you support people becoming trauma informed, I hope you'll share your passion and excitement with everyone you meet.
And if I can help you in any way with that message, please get in touch with me.
As we heard countless times in 2020: we are all in this together.