Transparency During Crisis Creates a Healing State of Mind

03/23/2020 06:00AM

We all live with personal issues, either from the past or present, that we would rather not disclose with others. I get it. We don’t want to feel exposed to judgment. We would rather hold it back and let it fester and allow the pain to grow inside of us. We seem to think that “holding it close to the vest” will make us feel better about our own vulnerabilities and insecurities. And that they will magically disappear.

But is that wise?

I was recently reminded by one of my mentors – that we have a choice in life.  Experience pain now or later.  What did he mean by that?

You can either confront the realities of the issues or circumstances that you are faced with and do something about it – immediately (pain now).  Or prolong the inevitable and wait until circumstances force your hand (pain later).

Does this mean that pain is inevitable throughout our lives?  Yes, of course.  That’s why we must do what we can to prepare ourselves for the ups and downs.  But this doesn’t mean that when we experience pain - the intensity will always be extreme or traumatic.  Again, it’s how you prepare, and anticipate for the unexpected.  If you don’t anticipate and just wait for the inevitable pain, it will hurt a lot more than if you would have addressed it when you knew it was there but decided to ignore it.  

This is how many people live their lives.  They wait with the hopes that the pain will go away.  They wait for those around them to take the calculated risks that they were hesitant to take themselves.

People fear the inevitable pain - instead of taking action to eliminate and/or reduce the severity of the pain and inconvenience associated with it.  This is why we live with so much pain all around us – both in work and in society.  It’s an accumulation of people not being transparent about what they are afraid of because they don’t want to be vulnerable.  As a consequence, people make the decision to live an inauthentic life that in turn makes them fear more -- putting them on a track of potentially experiencing more long-term pain.   

Managing pain is much like managing crisis.  Are we willing to accept the reality that it exists or wait until the pain reaches a threshold that forces one to eventually take action – that may be too late.

Knowing something’s right isn’t enough to start doing what’s right.  And knowing something’s wrong, isn’t enough to stop doing it.

This message is not intended to bring you down – but rather – lift you up.  It’s a reality check to what we have been experiencing before and now experiencing during this seismic crisis.  People are afraid.  That’s how most people have been conditioned to live. But during this crisis that has become personal, we must turn fear into transparency.  The truth is, this crisis is exposing all of our personal vulnerabilities as individuals.  It’s making us realize that we are all human.  And that we need one another.   

“We fear the inevitable even though many act daily as if we’re immortal.  Avoiding what should be done to extend a reasonable mortality.” -  Robert N.  Johnson, Philanthropist & Connector

Vulnerability should not be interpreted as a weakness, but rather a strength. It’s what makes us more resilient, and much more aware of how much we all have in common. This is why we are all so drawn to “human stories.”  We relate to them. They give us hope. They open our eyes to what’s possible.  They help us appreciate our own personal journey.  They inspire us to act. And stop us from comparing ourselves to others.

Open yourself up now – or get exposed later.  Allow transparency to guide you.  It will empower you to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.  Transparency during crisis creates a healing state of mind for the betterment of a healthier whole. 

Be brave to help slow down the magnitude of today’s crisis for a more peaceful tomorrow.

It’s all about people.


Additional Perspectives, Wisdom and Thoughts from Senior Executives:

Dr. Jack Cox:  Doctor of Medicine (MD), Master of Medical Management (MMM)

Get centered, take a breath. I’ve had a number of friends call in a panic. First thing I tell them to do is take a deep breath and get centered, then look at the incoming information and view it through the lens of what it means for them right now, then tomorrow, then next week.

In a time of crisis, it helps to have a ‘weight bearing’ structure to lean on.  In an article by David Brooks he talks about the nuclear family. For many of us, the extended family he references has been replaced by a voluntary extended family we have chosen to participate in (could be a work group, a military unit, etc.). The weight bearing of these volunteer families are increased when the individual is recognized. Reaching out to this extended family is a great thing to do. 

Since many of us have time, what can I do to improve myself. We all have projects that we put off, now that we are hunkering down, good time to break these out and get busy. 

Tim Alba - Partner, Caldwell Butler

I lead an amazing team.  Just this morning I followed the advice above on transparency.  

I could no longer say to them that our business was okay or was going to be okay.  I had to tell them that our business model is changing due to the current pandemic and with all the unknowns I am concerned for our future together. 

Each one of them asked, “What can I do…, what can we do together.” 

After a brainstorming session, we moved from possibilities to defined actions, “like soldiers, not victims”.  


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AOP Summit Series - Season 4 - Navigating Uncertainty