Hi Leader,

Do you ever feel as though you have parachuted onto an alien terrain? Do you ever get the feeling, captured by Einstein, who said, “A thought that makes me hazy: Am I or are the others crazy?”

It’s not just the crazies. With escalating geopolitical, economic, and technological trends all around, you get the sense that we are entering a new phase in planetary and human affairs, one filled with exceptional and unprecedented challenges and opportunities. But legacy institutions are incapable of addressing their magnitude and existing tools are insufficient to meet the complexity of the problems. The geo-political, economic, and social systems are ill-equipped to address them, and their response capacity is inadequate to facilitate resolutions that create new futures. This scenario sets the stage for both disruption and innovation.

We humans call ourselves the sapient species, but discernment is not prevalent and wisdom is rare. The challenges we see today reflect our lack of development and the opportunities we may miss if we are not open to seeing them.

In my work with senior teams I encounter very smart people, leaders who are the best in the world at what they do. Yet they are the first to volunteer that, despite their smarts, they are as fully capable of producing collective stupidity as they are of generating collective wisdom and breakthroughs.

As a species, we are prone to producing collective disasters. But right there, nestled inside our dysfunction, hidden next to the absurd and the insane, are game-changing insights and breakthrough possibilities—if we look for them.

Leadership and innovation are about seeing possibility. Leading is about harnessing the radium inside the pitchblende, capturing the power of unrealized potential and releasing it purposefully into constructive function.

10 Practices to Uplift Yourself and Others throughout 2016

Here are ten practices to help you produce extraordinary breakthroughs and uplift yourself and others in times of disruption:

  1. Vitality: Exercise robustly. Breathe deeply. Get enough oxygen to your brain. Hydrate sufficiently. Eat well. Rest well. Your vitality and well-being are the foundation of your resilience.
  2. Appreciation: Realize that every person who shows up in the “movie” of your life is there to help unfold the plot of your journey. Recognize them and appreciate their contributions. Some are here to help, others to challenge you and call upon you to face your fears and embrace growth.
  3. Listening: Extend your presence to other people. We are here to amplify life by witnessing and being witnessed. Listening with presence is transformative for both parties. Active listening can be the beginning of profound breakthroughs.
  4. Jettisoning: Remove outdated material goods. Discard fear-based habits. Dislodge the relationships and emotional baggage that no longer serve you well. Create for yourself the freedom you deserve.
  5. Learning: Become a learning champion. Focus on discovering what works well. Be specific about what you can do better and rigorous in implementing your insights.
  6. Intuition: We need you not because of what you know, but because of your intuition and judgment about what you know. Bring forward the voice of your IGS (inner guiding system) that brought you here. Embrace it by sharing its innate wisdom with us.
  7. Generosity: Summon your kindness. Degrading others doesn’t lift you up. Be the bigger person. Embrace the abundance mindset and you will stand out for your value, presence and generosity.
  8. Leadership: Do not lose yourself by copying others to become a look-alike. The world needs your talents and your unique capabilities. Bring forward your point of view. Find your voice. Discover your own authentic leadership.
  9. Saying yes: Be full of YESes. Let go of habitual NOs. Banish mediocrity. Be relentless about meaning, about love, about possibility, and about making a difference.
  10. Seeing the miraculous: Refuse the feeling of drudgery. Seek the miraculous in simple moments and actions. Be inspired by new connections. Let yourself be amazed by the simple beauty of nature and its colors. Embrace the fortitude of the human spirit and the courage to start anew.

© Aviv Shahar