Stressed Out? Derailed by Uncertainty? Feeling Disenfranchised?

Reclaim Your Internal Sense of Power by Topping Up Your Tool Bag or Sharpening the Tools You Already Have

If you are reading this, you have taken one or more of the courses in the CORE Leadership Series or the original Excellence Series. In my view, this means you are somewhat privileged. Very few people in this world are afforded the luxury of engaging in transformational educational opportunities such as ESI provides. With such privilege, I believe there is responsibility to put the learning to good use. Unfortunately, what I am experiencing in our community does not universally demonstrate intentionality around resolving conflict with integrity or around creating win/win relationships. This tells me it is TIME FOR SOME TO RE-UP! It’s time to get behind strengthening goodwill rather than undermining it.

WOW! I am not mincing words here… WHY? Because I care!

There is a leadership concept called “TIT-FOR-TAT ABOVE-THE-LINE”. The idea is that when faced with non-cooperation or people operating “below-the-line”, a leader will deliver some tough love to support them to move back above-the-line as quickly as possible. Until today, I haven’t really embraced this concept or had the need for it. But the level of division and disharmony emerging among people I love prompts me to speak out.

So what do I care about?

I care about goodwill. Championing goodwill is not just a fluffy, feel-good kind of phrase. It is an intention that is backed by action! It is my hope for everyone to experience it. I hang my hat on it! I take a STAND FOR GOODWILL!

At the beginning of the Pandemic, I experienced a lot of goodwill. In Vancouver and in many communities worldwide, a nightly noisy ritual evolved with cheers ringing out to thank our health care workers, those fighting on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was so moved, and I was so proud to join my fellow human beings in generating such goodwill.

That said, a year and a half later, I am troubled. Where there was unity, there are now deepening divisions. People are feeling stressed, uncertain, disenfranchised, and they are feeling AFRAID. I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t experienced some sort of significant LOSS since the onset of the pandemic. My concern is how we are responding to our circumstances. Conflict is inevitable, but how we deal is not; and having a different opinion from my neighbour does not give me the right to dump all over them.

Graduates of our courses are equipped with tools to engage others in fruitful and respectful conversation. I spent part of my summer specifically seeking out people whom I love who have opinions on vaccinations that are different than mine. I listened and I heard what I judged were well thought-out positions. I didn’t change my point of view, but I expanded my understanding of theirs. I embrace the value of making space for divergent opinions.

So what is my tough love message if it isn’t to come down on one side or the other on vaccinations?

My answer is: Proceed to operate with integrity, regardless of your opinion. Listen with the intention of gaining understanding and really hear what is important to the other person. Listening with an intention to understand provides psychological oxygen so that even when people agree to disagree, in the end, they maintain goodwill and leave a clean wake. Failure to take the high road in the advancement of any cause only serves to create distance and discord and creates ill will.


Right now, you are either on-track or off-track with your own sense of integrity. If you are off-track, ask yourself, do I want to be part of the solution? Do I want to make lemonade out of lemons? Do I really want to walk the talk of purposeful living, above-the-line, creating meaningful connection in community and creating a respectful space for divergent opinions? If so, what tools do I need to sharpen or add to my tool bag and what action will I take towards this end?

“Uncertainty is a fact of life” as Tony Robbins points out. How we deal with it, is what matters. The choices we make will define our future. Will you leave a path of destruction? Or will you leave a legacy of tolerance and love? At the end of the day, it is the quality and quantity of the relationships we evolve over a lifetime that will matter most.