A beautiful image of Yellowstone, with clear blue water and trees all around.

Finding Good in The Clearing – Our 4 Essential Principles to Nurture Possibility

Quick Story From My Past

I grew up near the border of Yellowstone National Park and it felt like an extension of my home. I have traveled in and out of every entrance of the park more times than I can count. When I was a teenager, I have a distinct memory of being breathless as we drove through the park after the incredible forest fire in 1988. That blaze had burned the majority of the lush forest to a stubble. I stared in disbelief through my car window at the ashen hills with occasional twigs of barren lodge pole pines jutting out of the ground. In distress, I pressed my eyes tightly closed trying to visualize the beautiful wall of tall trees that had been there just days before. Two decades later, as we hiked through Yellowstone on a family vacation, I was surrounded by a seemingly infinite number of new trees spanning out in every direction. I had been heartbroken that the fire had ravaged my beloved park and I couldn’t imagine it could ever be better or more beautiful, but I was wrong. I didn’t understand that huge changes, like that forest fire in Yellowstone, unexpectedly create a clearing effect for new things to come.

The Clearing

The Coronavirus pandemic reminds me of a forest fire. No one wants it to happen, but we are facing the challenge anyway. We have to navigate loss, incredible change, and unforeseen difficulties yet to come. However, as a perpetual optimist, I believe that underneath the burning flames of change is an emerging clearing filled with the potential for new growth. We may not want it, but it will come just the same. In coaching, we are trained to harvest these opportunities when they come. We seek the positive, focus on strengths, and dig for potential. We identify for our clients a time to pivot, embrace something new, and emerge better than they were before. Amidst turmoil, we seek possibility.

It may be that these changes are creating an unintended clearing for you. What new growth will emerge in your life? What will you nurture in your clearing?

Our Coaching 4 Good Principles for Generating New Growth During COVID-19

  1. Generous Confidence: Is your COVID-19 cup half full or half empty? No one is asking for a sunny disposition about being called on to make sweeping changes in your organization, but what are the upsides of laying down the protection of our cynicism, realism, or even pessimism and picking up a mug full of optimism. We’re not asking you to be “Pollyanna Positivity” about difficult circumstances but accessing principles two and three will be a lot easier if your cup contains a generous pour of confidence. Present yourself with an attitude that says “my certainty is greater than your doubt.” This is what small business owner, Jennifer Anderson, did when she confidently moved her yoga studio online ensuring that her customers could continue their yoga practice during a much needed time of stress.
  2. Optimize Your Creativity: If you try to access your creativity through a negative mindset it will be like running in quicksand; you can do it, but you won’t get very far. Optimism provides the fertile soil for creativity to grow and it allows unseen options to emerge. Creativity shines a bright light on new possibilities and uncharted paths ahead. This comes in handy when you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed. Creativity is the life-force of your dreams and aspirations, and it’s ultimately what keeps you moving forward. When faced with monumental challenges, Dell Technologies creatively moved the Dell Technologies World 2020 event from Las Vegas to a virtual platform and said, “The core of what we set out to accomplish together in Las Vegas is still important, which is to deliver keynotes, select breakout sessions and live chats with experts as a virtual experience.”
  3. Operate From Curiosity: Being a leader during a period of fluid change asks for miraculous solutions in a fraction of the time. Curiosity is a precious resource that turns challenges into experiments. As an anecdote for perfectionism, curiosity predisposes a rational yet untethered approach to innovation. An attitude ripe with curiosity softens the rigidity around judgements in favor of a “what if” mindset to problem solving. What is it that awakens the curious explorer within your own mind? How can you approach change and potential solutions to problems with a deeper sense of curiosity? Hongxi Yin, a researcher at Washington University, had a theory that with many people in tight quarters, breathing the same air, the rate of infection increased. Yin is now developing an air purification system to kill the contagious virus before it lands on any surface. The system will essentially suck up contaminated building air; push it through a small, portable heat chamber (which will sterilize it at extremely high temperatures); and release it back into the atmosphere—purified and virus-free.
  4. Develop Your Connections: One of the unintended consequences of mandatory social distancing is the retreat and loss of connection for individuals that need it most. Connection is the bedrock of productivity and it gives life to your essential traits of optimism, creativity, and curiosity. During this period of change, look for ways to maintain the important personal connections, both in and out of the office, that sustain you day to day. Have a virtual glass of wine with a friend and participate in social media groups for your running club. Join a virtual gym and move your workout to the garage. Choose to find ways to creatively maintain the areas that sustain you and keep you moving forward including; friendships, partnerships, coaching, therapy, and personal relationships. I recently read of a business dinner that was hosted entirely online and all of the virtual participants received their hosted meals from Uber Eats.

In the days and weeks to come, we hope you will accept our challenge to look beyond the fire and see the clearing. In moments of solitude consider how you can raise your optimism, cultivate your creativity, engage your curiosity, and retain your connections to give way to new growth and new possibilities in your life.

At Coaching 4 Good we walk the talk. We look optimistically through the struggle and set our sights on what is possible in the clearing. We believe our global community will continue to rally together and find creative resolutions to the daily unfolding of challenges. We will continue to meet people where they are, without judgement, and support them in exploring every potential victory. As a coaching collective, we continually discuss better ways to connect with our clients, engage with fellow coaches, deepen our community resources, and strengthen our families. Partner with us today to explore what is possible for you.

-Written by Cathy Dunford who is a Personal Development and Wellness Coach for Coaching 4 Good. You can learn more about her and book a session to get started on your wellness journey on her website profile or by contacting cathy@coaching4good.com.


, 4 Essential Principles to Nurture Possibility- COVID-19 Leadership-Series Part 2

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