By Wendy Leshgold, Fast Forward Group Co-Founder
I attended a board meeting for an environmental organization I am involved with called The California League of Conservation voters. It was held virtually, like everything these days, and the CEO opened with a question:
“What gives you hope right now?”
I thought about that question carefully. In this time of crisis, what is making me feel hopeful? I had to dig deep. When I did, I thought of something that is not only hopeful, but counter to many things I had previously held to be true. There has been a global shift in how people think and behave.
I find this miraculous because, as a facilitator, executive coach and professional who has worked with many thousands of people throughout my career, I have held this to be true:
It is hard to change mindset and behavior.
Many of us fail over and over to replace unproductive habits, like smoking, nail-biting, late night emailing. Whatever your particular vice, it can be hard to put it to the side and pick up with more productive new behavior instead. We cling tightly to our long-held beliefs, even if they don’t serve us, or worse, make us miserable! Research shows that it takes an average of 66 days to create a new habit – it doesn’t happen overnight and it’s challenging. This is what I have always believed to be true.
In a matter of days, there has been a global shift in mindset and behavior. We are doing things differently and we are thinking differently. People are queuing outside the supermarket waiting their turn to shop; Large complex organizations are figuring out how to have their teams work from home; Parents are learning to homeschool their children; People are getting creative, doing without and staying put.
We can change, and quickly. We can change when we have a clear, collective vision. We can change when we dedicate resources to a common goal. We can change when we let go of limiting beliefs steeped in “the old way of doing things.” This gives me hope right now — that we can learn, adapt to change and be resilient in the face of current hardships, and the hardships yet to come.
This is good news. It gives me hope. So, if you are feeling less than hopeful, consider this question for yourself:
What gives you hope right now?