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Be a Beacon of Hope

Black Belt Leadership
Be a Beacon of Hope
John Terry - The Black Belt Leader

Our nation, and the world, is currently gripped in the throes of a global pandemic. A common observation from people I talk to is they have never seen such a high level of fear and anxiety in their local community. In a conversation I had yesterday, an older gentleman I was holding a coaching session with commented he could walk down the streets of a major metropolitan city and it was essentially a "ghost town". No cars in the streets, no people on the sidewalks. Stores closed, grocery shelves emptied out. Zombie apocalypse.

One of my sons works in the banking industry. As we talked last night, he echoed the observations of fear I'm hearing from others across this nation and in other parts of the globe. I took him on a history lesson, reminding him our nation has faced similar crises in the past, and we as a nation have always rallied to win.

Typhoid, Tetanus, Diptheria, Spanish flu, German measles, Polio, Smallpox, Tuberculous, Malaria, AID-HIV, H1N1 (Swine Flu), Ebola, SARS, MERS, Wold War I, World War II, 9-11, the Rise of Isis, the Stock Market crashes of 1929, 2001, 2008 and now 2020. Our nation, and the world, has faced crises before. Coronavirus is just another name to be added to the list.

This is NOT the first time we've faced a crisis like this. Yet we continue to hear people say, "I've never seen anything like this before."

Why?

An interesting observation from neuroscience reminds us that when people become anxious (under stress), the brain begins to secrete hormones that change the chemical composition of the brain. As a result, rational cognitive thinking begins to become clouded. We become more animalistic, survivalist, in our thinking. The fight or flight response system is being primed for action.

As this stress escalates, anxiety begins to manifest itself in fear. This further escalates a chemical dump in the brain that restricts our ability to think rationally. It narrows our perspective and the brain's thinking process evolves into an emotionally charged panic mode of survival. We've seen this recently manifested in the emptying of grocery store shelves. Toilet paper, bread, meat, fresh vegetables, and pain relievers are in short supply.

This is people allowing fear to control their thinking process, which in any society can become increasingly dangerous if permitted to continue for any length of time.

This is where leadership comes in.

I recently heard my mentor, John Maxwell say that in times of trouble, a leader can either hide under a rock, or he can stand on the rock for others to see. In his virtual simulcast, Leading Through Crisis, John talked about leaders being salt and light in the earth.

Salt is a preservative. It protects things from spoiling, going bad. As we remind people that we've faced similar crises in the past, and overcome them, we help them gain a bigger perspective on what's actually happening. We help others see more clearly, so they can make better choices. We help preserve their sanity in a time of trouble.

Light is a beacon. As I heard John talk about light, my mind went to the famous lighthouse on the Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, SC. Over the years, a lighthouse has served a useful purpose. It guided sailors to a place of safety. It cautioned them of dangers that lie ahead and gave them a point of reference to navigate a course to the safe waters of a harbor. The lighthouse guided sailors to a place of calm, peace, and safety.

In times of crisis, we need leaders to stand on the rock, and like a lighthouse, become a beacon of hope. Leaders lead the way. Why? Because that is who they are. Napoleon Bonaparte said leaders are merchants in hope. Right now, the world is in desperate need of strong leadership, speaking hope into the lives of people who find themselves in the depths of despair as anxiety has taken root in their lives.

Leadership starts with YOU. Leading yourself well, not allowing yourself to become the victim of your emotions, is the start of leading others well. Author J. Oswald Sanders said in his book, Spiritual Leadership, that before you can conquer the world, you must first conquer yourself. So take an inventory of where you are. Are you going to allow this pandemic to control you, or are you going to look for the opportunity within this time of adversity to become better, to grow, and to make a difference?

The world has too many people allowing this situation to control their lives. I need you to stand up as a leader and be a light in the darkness, a voice of hope and reason, and a leader who shows the way. Paul Martinelli says, "God did not design you to be on the effect side of cause and effect." Leaders CAUSE things to change for the better.

Leaders are voices of hope and positive change-agents in the earth. Leaders help people think into their situation, gain control over their emotions, and see the opportunity that has been there all along. Leaders help people see the only limit people have is the limit they place on themselves. Leaders lead people through the crises of life so they can come out better (not bitter) on the other side.

If not you, then who?

If not now, then when?

The people around you to be a beacon of hope.

Your leadership is needed TODAY!



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