It used to be my go-to message. (I think I first read it in one of Michael E. Gerber’s many books.)
Don’t ask me why I had to check myself this way but (certainly) in the early days of trying to grow my second business — 2010-2016 — I wanted to make sure I wasn’t engaged in a plethora of unnecessary and/or unworthy activities. It worked to a point; namely, it stopped me from inhabiting several unceremonious places that would have negated my true self message. That’s longhand for saying: it was out of whack with my soul/role apropos of coaching and/or consultancy or whatever else I did to pass the time.
Well, like so my many mantras, it’s disappeared off the face of the earth, only to be replaced by another and altogether more important one:
Be prepared to stop.
Actually, it’s more apt to say: be prepared to be stopped…as we have been in spades with this virulent and unprecedented virus — at least in my lifetime.
I’ve Stephen Jenkinson to thank for the wording but actually, it’s obvious, isn’t it? We needed to be stopped, perhaps not in this horrific, death-dealing way but at least now we’re asking a few more serious questions — I hope — instead of (and I generalise to make my point): how can I continue with my comfort-seeking ways?
You might disagree.
Sure, we still don’t know how it came about (you have to feel for the WHO team) but sooner rather than later, we were going to have to face up to some of our actions.
Will we take to heart all we’ve learnt and experienced? I don’t know. Certainly what’s massing in the wings is a degree of social anxiety we’ve never witnessed before and as for the mental health issues, well, I can’t even begin to articulate how we’ve been changed and will be for the rest of our lives.
But there’s something bigger, still, that hangs like a dirigible out in the shadows.
The unfolding climate catastrophe.
Put it this way, now that we’ve been stopped, will we emerge ready to make the course corrections necessary to abate the even bigger catastrophe we know is coming? I’m no expert but you only have to surf the web for a day or two to realise that we’ve put the world through the wringer and it’s in a whole heap of trouble. And by all accounts, we’re not doing enough, not nearly enough, to sort out our shit.
I know I’ve not got long left on this planet — perhaps thirty years, if I’m lucky — but something tells me, whether I like it or not, that’s there where I’m going to have to invest my energy, time and love if I’m going to be considered an ancestor worthy of anything. That’s big talk, grandiose even, but I can’t see an alternative.
By the way, I’m sure we don’t need more Summerhayes oxygen blowing into the sails of exhortation — walk your talk and all that — but certainly, in the space I inhabit, there’s still not enough being said, let alone done, to turn the climate catastrophe ship around — assuming that is, it’s not too late!
Onwards, as I say. Not forever, but for now.