The title of this blog comes from one of my favourite movies, said in the gorgeous Spanish voice of Penelope Cruz. It is my tradition to watch Vanilla Sky on New Year’s Eve for inspiration. Every year, I have looked forward to returning back after the festivities of December to greet the dawn of a New Year with dreams, intentions and aspirations.
However, in 2020, I have found myself feeling quite awkward wishing my fellow Australians a Happy New Year amidst the smog and looming inferno across our entire continent. One simply needs to open up their social channels to find the typical inspiring quotes and light-hearted wishes having been replaced by images, words and videos of the devastation that has befallen our beautiful land.
With a mixed bag of emotions shared by all, I too have found myself challenged and caught between intense disappointment, shame and anger on one end or desperation in trying to fix it all through donations, support and even offering our own home while we are overseas as a refuge to those who need it right now. Wherever you find yourself on this triggering spectrum, the one truth I have noted is that our old Australian adage, “She’ll be alright, Mate” followed by a beer and a barbie simply doesn’t resonate with the collective spirit I am observing before me.
As a species that values justice, our immediate human response to the consequences of our collective inaction of change is quite understandably to find the most plausible root cause and assign blame as we have done over the past few years with our Royal Commission into the Banking and Aged Care sectors, as well as the recent Westpac debacle just a few months ago.
Blame without responsibility, consequence or action is like fighting fires with our thoughts and prayers. From climate change and arson to political parties and their leaders, the online blame fest is palpable through the screens of our devices of the moment as we spiral down in circular conversations that get us absolutely nowhere. Even our Prime Minister has quite literally found himself in the hot seat in many a debate.
Once the embers of our fury begin to settle down, a clear pattern immerges which spans years, if not decades. I love to reflect on the definition of insanity.
Just within the last decade, we have allowed corporate corruption within some of our most trusted Aussie brands to be rewarded by systems that encourage corruption. Yet when this is brought to light at a huge taxpayer expense, we reward unaccountable and irresponsible leaders with severance packages to tide them over to even beyond the grave. We sit back as we watch our laws changing to favour some more than others and prevent our trusted journalists from shedding light on the truth. And as our eco-system suffers, we continue to indulge in fantasies instead of following the money trail to the few elites who benefit from it all.
I use the word WE intentionally because as I scramble to find a solution to all of this, I cannot help hearing the voice of my inner change manager asking me what MY part in all of this is. It’s the same question I ask all of our coaching clients, because in my experience when we point fingers, there are always three fingers pointing back at us. If we are truly to make a difference individually or collectively, this is the most important starting point if we are to foster a culture of responsibility. Because that’s exactly what I and my team could use right now… the ABILITY to RESPOND.
Why we started earth2mars was because I got tired of the blame game and decided to take responsibility for the life, career and destiny I wanted to choose. When I got out of serving on somebody else’s goal plan and started focussing on my own, it became clearer and easier for me to find the balance and align my values to having a commercial business that pays the mortgage and living my life purpose of helping evolve humanity through the changes we are facing at a global scale. Profit and humanity need not be mutually exclusive in my experience.
My hope is that we can all realise that the minute we stop tolerating and denying the status quo and start taking responsibility for what is happening around us is the minute our lives change for the better, despite and in spite of the chaos, that is change.
Because the solution is often within the eye of the firestorm.
I am far from a ScoMo fan, having reflected over the past few weeks and processed my emotions, he is simply a reflection of the sum of all the things we have tolerated at a micro-level.
Before we offer our highest levels of leaders up as scapegoats to the fire gods, my question during this emotional time is how each of us played a part in turning a blind eye and tolerating, accepting and supporting cultures of leadership within our own organisations that value authority over compassion, status over leadership and profit over humanity?
Perhaps it’s time for all of us to start a conversation about what leadership means and hold each other accountable so that we can move forward from here no matter what the climate brings.
We have two webinars coming up to assist others in finding balance and aligning values on the 21st of January and 25th of January with proceeds going towards the firefighting efforts across the nation. Register your interest now at firstname.lastname@example.org.