How to Manage Worry During Change and 5 Key Lessons on Change From Successful Leaders Featured Image

How to Manage Worry During Change and 5 Key Lessons on Change From Successful Leaders

It’s February, and many of us on the planet are in lockdown mode. If you remember a year ago, the question at the top of mind for many was, “Do we have enough toilet paper?”

It seems kind of silly now doesn’t it? Yet, it’s a natural reaction to ask questions and get worried about things that don’t seem important now.

Given the current state, I personally know that it’s easy to get worried about the future. It’s normal!

Yet, worries are really just made up stories.

3 Questions to Reframe Worries

In this short video, I share 3 questions to reframe worries to help you feel more in control and be change ready.
(Use your judgment when to apply this to other people. Timing is everything!)

Manage Worry During Change YouTube Video Watch

How to Lead and Work through the Pandemic: 5 Leaders… 5 Questions

Last month we started our series with shifting the narrative in 2021 and with Jim Bartolotta’s insights. Here’s our next leader, Laura McDowell.Laura is one of those leaders that I look at and say  “I wish I could be like that.” She is an engineer by training and someone who I’ve worked with for years, who I feel is one of those natural-born leaders.

Laura is the Director Environmental Promotion and Protection Branch at York Region a large municipal government in Ontario, Canada. Laura has most recently and deservedly won the Top Public Works Leader of the Year Award by the Ontario Public Works Association.

Laura McDowell Profile

Here are Laura’s responses to the 5 questions – with a bonus 6th!

1. What is a daily ritual you have done to stay focused throughout the pandemic? 

I continue to get ready for work, with the exception of getting in my car and driving to work.  I think it’s important to maintain whatever sense of normalcy one can during these unusual and difficult times.

2. What one NEW skill, practice or quality have you developed since the beginning of the pandemic?

Shifting from in-person meetings to virtual meetings and embracing technology in lieu of papers and binders has been a necessary skill I’ve built over the last several months.  I’ve been surprised that I have been able to pick up on the energy that others are giving off when interacting virtually.  Being able to observe and read body language, as well as get to know staff on a more personal level can provide deeper insights as to how they are really doing.  Knowing when to reach out and empathize with others when noticing someone may be struggling is so important in these difficult times. 

3. What surprised you the most about your capability to lead through this crisis?

What surprised me was the focus and commitment of my team and our department to continue to deliver business as usual plus respond to Covid.  While we are all in this together, each of us are experiencing different pressures, some may be caring for young ones at home or homeschooling or caring for elderly parents, or whatever else may be contributing to their personal life.   It’s been truly heartwarming to see the dedication of the people I have the pleasure of working with and their unwavering commitment to ensure we continue to meet the needs of our communities.

Laura McDowell leading through change image


4. What advice would you give yourself, if you had to go through this all over again?

If I had to do this all over again, I would pace myself and my team more and I would invest more in my own self-care.  This pandemic is not a race, it’s a marathon and the only thing is you don’t know how long the marathon is, so it’s critical to pace oneself, nourish and be kind to oneself.

5. What one word would your team use to describe your leadership style?


BONUS: What’s a book you’d recommend everyone read?

Search Inside Yourself (The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness and World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan – Chade-Meng Tan, one of Google’s earliest engineers and personal growth pioneer, offers a proven method for enhancing mindfulness and emotional intelligence in life and work.

Interactive Virtual Keynotes

Looking forward to some fun speaking at ExecSecLIVE Global on March 17 & 18. I’m personally excited to hear Patrick Jephson, the Former Private Secretary to Diana, Princess of Wales!!!! Check out this link for more details.

Shifting our mindset has been a key theme in my sessions lately. Here’s an article with some tips to shift your and others’ mindsets

If you want an interactive keynote or virtual delivery, reach out! They are fully customized – and by now, I can use just about any type of technology!  Some sample titles are here, but I work with you to customize titles, delivery, and content to make it most impactful.

I am so grateful…

To so many of you that have kept me busy speaking virtually. I give you my deepest thanks. I’ve would’ve been very “squirrely” in the last year without you!

Until next time, #BeChangeReady!