A reflection by Rita Narayan
As I turned 50 in December of 2019, I remember there was a growing sense of excitement about the new decade that I had entered into. There was a spiritual significance to turning 50. It is the Year of Jubilee where everyone is released from debts and slavery, everyone gets to rest during this year and is able to start off the next year with a clean slate.
I was anticipating change and that things would be a lot better for me in every aspect of my life. So when the opportunity arose to do a Mastermind study of John Maxwell’s book Leadershift in January of 2020, I jumped at it. I had done several Mastermind classes on his books and this was the latest one from the book that was published in February 2019.
My expectation of Leadershift was that I was going to learn to be a good leader at work. Under the guidance of Ana Laqeretabua, an independent certified coach, teacher and speaker with the John Maxwell team, we dived right into the sessions in February 2020. As we mined our way through the chapters, unveiling the gems, it became clear to me that this was not just about me being a better leader at work. It was about how my life was going to influence others in my home, my circles, my city and my nation. As a leader I would be required to take people on a journey, produce other leaders and change, reread the situation and change again. And continue changing.
Leadershift prepared me for what was to come almost a month later in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic plunged the world into turmoil.
John Maxwell writes, “Adaptability – the ability to change (or to be changed) to fit new circumstances – is a crucial skill for leaders.” Unlike conformity, adaptability is a strength based on a confidence in oneself, one’s own judgement and abilities.
Maxwell says adaptable leaders who make leadershifts lean into uncertainty and deal with it head on.
Leadershift taught me to be adaptable and to shift as the situation around me changed rapidly. Zoom calls, WFH, hand sanitizers, masks, curfew and lockdown became the new norm. I learned to get out of my comfort zone and welcome the change. There was also a lot of self-evaluating as I reflected on what I gave meaning to.
A year and a bit on, I ask myself have I got it all nailed down. The answer is no. The journey has been painful and there are times when I have wanted to chuck it all in. After a bit of a self-pity party, I remind myself that life will not go back to the way it was pre-March 2020 and it is best to embrace the change. The self-evaluations continue. What I give meaning to first and foremost is my faith walk, my relationship with my God, my husband, my family, friends and self. Everything else follows after.
The Leadershift Mastermind class created the space that I needed as I connected with an amazing group of women who shared the same values and similar passions. We came together carrying all kinds of baggage but we knew that we wanted to change, grow and nurture others around us. In that safe space, we laughed, disagreed, cried, prayed together and thrived. We got stretchmarks as we learned, unlearned and relearned. We celebrated birthdays and achievements not just of ourselves but for members of our families. That safe haven has now grown and will continue to flourish as we value and hold each other and others up on their journeys.