Signature Thoughts by Carol Seymour

Carol Seymour

Forward Momentum
is in Our Own Hands

by Carol Seymour 
Founder, Signature Leaders
Founding Member, Paradigm for Parity

If you’ve got a dream chase it ’cause a dream won’t chase you back… The lyrics floated out of the country music radio station, and I took a moment to pause and write them down. I know what it’s like to have a big dream but still hesitate or hold back. I also know that we are in a unique moment, coming out of a global pandemic and re-entering the fullness of our lives.

So much of the current discussion is about how we move forward – with our lives, our “new normal,” and all the big plans or fresh goals we have for ourselves. How do we change the energy and re-capture the momentum we had before we all got blown off track?

Lean on your humanity
Author and speaker Simon Sinek had some words of wisdom to offer in a recent appearance for TED. The leaders who navigated the pandemic best, he explained, were the ones who leaned on their humanity. His definition of a good leader? Someone who asks, “How are you?” – and genuinely cares about your answer.

However, as the pandemic progressed, Simon began noticing that asking, “How are you?” always elicited the same response – “fine” – even, or especially, when the person clearly was not fine. So, when he observed a friend acting off, rather than ask an open-ended question, Simon started making statements: “Something’s wrong,” “Something’s different,” or I’m worried about you.” A statement directly engages the recipient, and Simon found that he started getting real responses. He recounted more than one phone call that was just giving a friend time to cry.

Being able to share what was really going on was critical for Simon and his friends in progressing through the pandemic. COVID-19 caused real mental anguish, and everyone needed an outlet. We still do. Parts of our daily lives that we never would have thought twice about before are now notable, maybe even challenging. “I used a public restroom for the first time in three years,” a friend told me recently, “it was really strange.”

Creating a new normal is exhausting, and I hope we all give ourselves grace as we discover what that looks like. Learning how to be there for each other, reaching out and sharing those gut-wrenching feelings, is so important in working through the frustrations and fears.

Build your muscles
As we work towards regaining momentum, expecting to be back in the thick of things right away is unrealistic. For example, I was so excited for Signature’s first in-person session held since the start of the pandemic. I loved being back in-person, but I have to admit, I felt rusty. Zoom had become my normal. Now, once again, that had to change.

Finding your new normal is a little like working out. You can’t go for a run once and be in shape. Getting fit is a process that builds on itself if you keep pushing yourself. For me, after a few more in-person Signature sessions, and I could feel my skills becoming habitual again. I just needed that practice to make the transition.

If you find yourself really stuck, that same sounding board of trusted friends that helped you through crisis can also be critical as you enter this time of growth. Going after big goals – or even using the public restroom – can be intimidating after years of being in lockdown mode. While only you can chase your dreams, we all need a nudge sometimes.


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