We are honored to introduce Orelle Jackson, President of Limitless Growth Strategies as our guest for this episode, part 1 of 2 episodes.
During these two episodes, Orelle will review the skills needed to be successful: maintaining leadership; moving through difficult situations mindfully; digging deep down to raise the skills and meet the needs; leading ourselves through transitions and crises.
Orelle has over twenty years of executive leadership experience and is recognized for developing and optimizing strategies, delivering high-value solutions and building strong relationships. Orelle served as the System Director of Community Health, Wellness and Development for one of Central Ohio’s largest Health Providers.
Her areas of expertise include: Executive Coaching, Diversity & Inclusion, Leadership Development, DISC Assessment, Career Transition Coaching, Facilitation, Strategic Planning, and Focus Groups
Now as the President of Limitless Growth Strategies, she is guiding individuals and organizations to successfully maneuver through changes and transitions with the goal to help unleash potential, just like the acorn growing into a mighty oak tree.
Today we are going through so much uncertainty. We want to explore the phases we move through to reach emotional well-being and learn how can we creatively stay connected and move forward. Orelle gives us an overview on what Liminality is, and help through the various stages of crisis transition.
Everything Worthwhile Is Uphill
John Maxwell has created a vision regarding personal growth journey. He describes principles of moving through a crisis, beginning with the notion that “Everything worthwhile is uphill.”
There is Always an Answer
It seems that whenever we meet a challenge or crises we “react” --- we may panic or become stymied – or we think clearly through the situation to a conclusion. How is our through process leading us to – or – away from a solution?
Allow Adversity to Help You Discover Who You Are
We are not always comfortable with change and often prefer to stay in our “known” world. How can these situations allow us to expand ourselves?
Realize that Motions Influence Emotions
Our conversations today are very different than in the past; our emotions are high, often paralyzing. We are striving to be positive in our attitude and thoughts, but there is just so much pressure weighing us down. How do we keep on a positive path?
In Navigating Through Crisis, Pt 2, Orelle joins us again to complete the various stages of crisis transition.
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I'm not suggesting by any means that we don't acknowledge our feelings, our emotions, but we don't have to live in them. They don't have to own us. One of the most obvious ways to do that is to take action, which is the motion. I always tell my clients, you need to almost have a game plan around this, and this is way before the pandemic is. Have an idea of what the action is that you can take based on the emotion that you have. So if you are feeling sad, what action can you take to make you feel less sad?[:
We are looking forward our way. Hi, i'm Brett, and with me is Carol.[:
Hi, Brett. How are you today?[:
Doing great. We've got a great episode today. Go right into it.[:
We do. I am so honored to introduce Orelle Jackson, who is the President of Limitless Growth Strategies. Orelle has over 20 years of executive leadership experience and is recognized for developing and optimizing strategies, delivering high value solutions, building strong relationships. She's served as the system director of community health, wellness, and development for one of central Ohio's largest health providers, and her areas of expertise include executive coaching, diversity and inclusion, leadership development, disk assessment, career transition coaching, facilitation, strategic planning, and focus groups. Aurel, thank you so much for joining us today. You're welcome. We've been together before, and we really wanted to make sure that we had you on our new podcast program. One of the areas of her work as President of limitless growth strategies is guiding individuals and organizations to successfully maneuver through changes and transitions with the goal to help unleash potential, just like the acorn growing into the mighty oak tree. I had to get that in there because I love her logo with the acorn. So I really wanted to talk about that notion of unleashing potential. Arael, we are really excited to get going and have you with us on our new podcast, Looking Forward Our Way.[:
So we're going to get started.[:
We are going through so much uncertainty. We want to explore the phases we move through to reach emotional wellbeing and learn how we can creatively stay connected and move forward. You have mentioned the notion of liminality. Can you give us a bit of an overview on what that is and help our listeners through the various stages of crisis transition?[:
Sure. Thank you, Brett. Thank you, Carol. Liminality is a word that I learned recently, but it's been around for a while, and it's associated with the study of anthropology. It's really about thresholds. So it's about making transitions. So from an anthropology standpoint, this is about maybe a rite of passage. So going from childhood to adulthood, that thing. But using it in a contemporary framework, we can certainly think about this in the situation we're in. So liminality is like the situation of being betweaked and between. So we are looking at the past in the rear view mirror. We know that we cannot go back. We have to let it go. And we're standing on the threshold of the future. Now, in other situations, we can look to others who have gone through that rite of passage or who have made that transition. But I think one of the reasons why it seems so stressful now is because we have no guide map, we have no idea what's coming. And so this liminality, this ambiguity, really, is very hard for us to live in for an extended period of time. I don't think any of us love ambiguity anyway.[:
But to have no idea of when it might end is really difficult. And so oftentimes when we get into a crisis, we get almost energized. We galvanize our forces. We pull our team together. We sit down with our family and we say, this is a crisis. What's our game plan? And we get going and there's energy around it. And then we get to this place where the energy starts to subside and we get into this liminal space. And that we then start to enter, if we're not careful about it, a period of regression where we start to really feel, in some ways, depressed about the situation, we feel lost, the ambiguity is getting to us. I think a lot of us can relate.[:
Absolutely. Right. And so then to get to the next phase, which would be recovery, would be looking at how do we harness that energy we had at the beginning, acknowledging the liminality, acknowledging the ambiguity, and even acknowledging how difficult it may be moving forward, but making a plan and bringing a support system around you, or even just changing your mindset, which is a lot of what we're going to talk about moving forward, but getting then back into that place of recovering from the regression so that we can move forward.[:
I will bet that every anthropologist in the country is out there dealing with the issue of liminality during this pandemic because this is the perfect case study of being so excited at the beginning. Everybody was going to take care of each other and make sure our elders were taken care of. And the one person who goes to the grocery store for everybody, all of that was happening. And a couple of months into it, and we Americans who have a short attention span kept talking, new normal, new normal. And it became a buzzword as opposed to a situation we were still dealing with. And everyone got very tired very quickly. So I think this is perfect. Thank you so much that we're going to get a chance to really look and move through this and see how we can help everybody continue to enjoy the pandemic, enjoy what it's bringing us as opposed to living in the fear of it. So wonderful. Great. So one of the things that you provided us was an overview of the principles that John Maxwell has put together that really leads us through the steps of dealing with liminality and situations like we're in right now with the pandemic.[:
So let's go ahead and go through those. And there are a lot of steps. We want our listeners to hang there with us, and we'll have information on the podcast notes so they can keep track. So the first one is everything worthwhile is uphill. So Maxwell created this vision regarding personal growth journeys, and he describes principles of moving through a crisis and beginning to put that notion that everything worthwhile is uphill. Well, we're right in the middle of it. So tell us what we're seeing.[:
Right. So I think you're going to hear me say almost with every one of these, this is my favorite. This is one of my favorites because I think it is a really good reminder to us that it's going to be difficult. I know it sounds really glib saying everything worthwhile is uphill, but I think we forget that. I think we used to living in a world of instant gratification. And suddenly that doesn't exist anymore. One of Maxwell's favorite sayings is we have downhill habits and our ambitions and our aspirations live uphill. And so we've got to counterbalance the downhill habits. And so what we're really talking about here is bringing intentional thought and the process of thinking, managing your mindset to acknowledge this is a journey, first of all, and it's an uphill journey. This journey that we're going through right now is a particularly steep hill. I'm a great optimist, so some people will say to me, Well, that doesn't sound optimistic, Oral. And I was like, Yeah, but I think if you want to be a successful optimist, you have to be a realistic optimist. So I keep my view at the top of the hill, knowing that when I get there, it'll be worthwhile.[:
But if I don't acknowledge that it's going to be difficult climbing that hill, it can be very easy for me to let go and say, This is too hard. And I'm not kidding you, I don't feel like that every day. There have been a lot of days where I've acknowledged how steep the hill is, but but hanging on to the knowledge that my dreams and aspirations live at the top of the hill, and I have got to, if I want to get there, I've got to make the journey. And it's not always going to be easy. And it's I think the acknowledgement of the fact that it's going to be a challenge. It doesn't make it easier, but it makes it easier for you to mentally manage the process.[:
Right. A friend of mine mentioned that he thought the generation of children in school now are going to actually be so much better off at the end of this new normal because they've met a challenge. And for years, our young folks have never had to meet a challenge because somebody was always making it okay for them. And so what a great ending or a great product of this journey that we're going on is that it actually could make us better people overall. So wonderful.[:
The next is there is always an answer. Well, it seems that whenever we meet a challenge or crisis, we react. We may panic or become stymied, or we think clearly through the situation to a conclusion. How is our thought process leading us to or maybe away from a solution?[:
Okay. So this is definitely my favorite one. There you go.[:
Okay. There's no doubt about it. We've got that down.[:
To me, this is... If you can have this mindset, if you can approach a situation, a crisis a problem from the perspective of there is always an answer. It frees you up to think about it differently. It doesn't make the problem smaller, but it makes you believe in yourself. It makes you rely on know that you might not have the answer, but that there is an answer. I always think about a mentor that I had who when I first met him, he said to me, I just want you to know, I firmly believe there is always an answer. So no matter what happens, we'll get through it. And it was one of the most freeing things I'd ever heard. And when we did have any problem come up, it took so much of the stress away and it allowed us space to think clearly and creatively and to be solution focused as opposed to being problem focused. And I think that's just a huge gift to give ourselves, to give ourselves the space to pause and say, you know what? This does seem like the wheels are falling off the bus, but I know that there's always an answer.[:
There's always a solution. So whether you're leading yourself, whether you're leading your family, But imagine bringing this to a team that you lead. What a gift for a leader to give to a team to approach everything from the perspective of there's always an answer. So I think when we can start to really train our minds to make that our default position. So instead of immediately reacting and thinking, Oh, my goodness, what is going to happen? It's more like, Oh, my goodness. Like, breathe. Okay, now there's an answer. We just have to find it. I think what a gift for a leader to give.[:
A team. It really is telling the team that there is an answer and therefore, the process that we're going to go through is going to lead, again, to a positive product as opposed to throwing your hands up and saying, Oh, my gosh. Now it's like chicken little. The world's coming to an end. The sky is falling. Yeah. I thought of one situation that I've always been amazed, and this is perfect, people who are critically ill and they have that positive energy and that notion of as long as there are options answers, as long as there are options, gay thing busters in this life. And you really wonder where that energy comes from. And this is where we're going. Good. Okay. All right. So let's keep moving on here to the next step. Allow adversity to help you discover who you are. So we're not always comfortable with change, and we often prefer to stay in our own known world. How can these situations allow us to expand ourselves?[:
So I think certainly in the crisis we've seen some businesses fail and we've seen some businesses pivot very quickly and become wildly successful. And I think this points a little bit to that in that when you actually, again, using the mindset before about there's always an answer when you bring that thinking to a situation, it allows you to be creative and to see where can I use my strengths and how can my strengths actually make me shine? How do I actually take from this situation and show who I really am and bring that to my family, to the world, to my community? So I think a lot of us, we're paralyzed by this type of adverse situation, but when we allow ourselves to pause, to think creatively about it, we may discover a whole new side of ourselves, very much in the way that some businesses looked at the situation and for some of them changed very dramatically. To respond and to come up with a solution. And so they became what was needed in the time of adversity. And that's, I think, what we could also do is, what do we need to become using our natural gifts and talent and our skill sets and our expertise that we've gained along the way?[:
How do we use it to become what is needed?[:
That pause is almost like opening up the funnel and suddenly all that creativity can actually happen and come through. When we throw up our hands in panic, it closes that down and keeps us from really thinking up new ideas.[:
It leads us to the next one, I think, perfectly, develop a positive life stance. I've always thought about that when you have those negative thoughts, that's all that allows us to come in. So develop a positive life stance when we all realize that attitude can lead us astray one way or the other. What emotional level should we be trying to achieve when we're moving through a crisis?[:
Again, I think the pause is probably the biggest thing, but I think this is not about pretending everything is okay. This is about, in many ways about reaching deep inside and realizing what you have, both emotionally, intellectually, physically. What are the gifts and talents that you have? What are the tools, the resources that you have? And acknowledging what you have instead of focusing on what you don't have. So this is not like a Polly Anna type of situation. Of just trying to pretend everything is okay. This is like taking a good, long, realistic look at yourself and your circumstances and then looking for what is good and focusing on that. We know that where your focus goes, your energy flows. And so if you can begin to focus on the positive instead of on the negative, you begin to see possibilities again.[:
I think what's so wonderful about all of these steps is they are appropriate in the middle of a pandemic, and they're also appropriate for whatever the little tiny crisis is at home that day. These are all positive steps that we can take to just keep moving through our life in a fashion that is good for us. So what you just mentioned, though, feeds right back into the next step, and that's feed your faith, starving your fears. We see so much negativity today. Everything is a huge issue, and we are focusing on minding each other's business in a negative way as opposed to just moving ourselves forward in a positive way. So how is that negative impact affecting all.[:
Of us? Right. So this is what I just want to clarify that the feed your faith. If you want it to mean your religious faith, so let's call that faith with a capital F, you can certainly interpret it like that. But this also applies to faith in yourself, the confidence and the knowledge that you will be okay. So I think maybe the best way to explain this is I think we've all heard the story about the two wolves that live in us, and the one is love and the one is fear. Which one wins? It's the one that you feed. So you feed the fear, the wolf that's filled with fear, he's going to win. You feed the wolf that's filled with love, and he's going to win, or she's going to win, whichever wolf you've got. But I think this is important for us to... Again, it really goes to that where your focus goes, your energy flows. So if you focus on the negative, that becomes elevated. That takes up all of your creative space, all of the space where you could be thinking about solutions, where you could be thinking differently. And so I think it is.[:
This sounds really easy, but in the world we live in where we're saturated with information, and a lot of the information is negative, or can create a sense of negativity, we have to, I think, take responsibility for what we listen to, what we read, what we look at, who we listen to, and choose wisely and decide whether we're going to feed the fear or whether going to feed the positive side. And that takes self discipline. I'm not suggesting anybody puts their head in the sand and hides away from the situation. But to spend your time wisely, spend your energy wisely on things that are going to be helpful for you, that are going to help you move forward, instead of dwelling on the things that are negative, that are not going to really get you any further because it'll make you feel worse.[:
Right. Well, and as you mentioned earlier, this isn't Pollyanna. We're not ignoring issues. We're taking off the rose colored glasses and seeing things for truly what they are. But again, using our own energy to make us better as opposed to miring ourselves down with all that negative, woe is me? How are we going to get out of this?[:
And I think particularly, this is really important for us as individuals, but this is important for us as families and as leaders, if you're leading a team or even just with colleagues at work, understanding that you have the ability or the power to influence people And if you are in a group that is looking, feeling very negative, use your influence, use your creativity to help them to shift the way that they are viewing things, to look at it maybe a different way, and to shift them towards that more of a solution focused frame of reference as opposed to dwelling just in the negative. And I think we need to do that more for each other so that when we need it, somebody will help us out. Because it's hard to keep this up 100 % of.[:
The time. Sure. Absolutely. But there have been some individuals, and I want to say probably Hollywood stars, who have been out there trying to keep people positive, getting interviewed and a lot of social media. But a lot of them have said, I want to get through this process and look at my kids and say, we did this together as a family. We did this in a positive way. We're better because we did whatever. And I think that really says a lot to those who have been trying to keep us on the right track during this pandemic.[:
Well, next is realize that motions influence emotions. So our conversations today are pretty different than in the past. Our emotions are high, often paralyzing. We're striving to be positive in our attitude and thoughts, but there is just so much pressure weighing us down. How do we keep a positive path?[:
So this is all about taking action. I'm not suggesting by any means that we don't acknowledge our feelings, our emotions, but we don't have to live in them. They don't have to own us. And one of the most obvious ways to do that is to take action, which is the motion. And I always tell my clients, you need to almost have a game plan around this. And this is way before the pandemic is. Have an idea of what the action is that you can take based on the emotion that you have. So if you are feeling sad, what action can you take to make you feel less sad? Because as soon as you take action, you start to limit the power that the emotion has over you. Okay. It's like if you're having a bad day, you're feeling blue and you decide to go for a walk.[:
Right. That actually.[:
Even from a biochemistry perspective, actually changes some of the things going on in your brain to make you feel better. But it's you taking the action that helps you to feel better. You could choose to lie on the bed a sofa and say, I'm so blue. I'm almost magenta now. It's like, really, I'm having such a bad day. And then you could say, Well, now I'm going to feel better. But it's really hard to just, from an emotional perspective, change your mind, right? But if you actually break the cycle of just dwelling in the emotion and taking action. So again, as I say to my clients, have a game plan. If you are having a if you have a really stressful day at work and you feel like you're on the point of snapping at somebody, can you take a five minute walk around the building? Can you do some pushups or something? Whatever. Do something, or can you call a friend? And oftentimes with my clients, I actually help them with their schedules that if they have a particularly contentious meeting coming up to actually schedule time before and after. So before to take literally a five minute walk, or do a five minute meditation, and then at the end of it to take a 15 minute decompression walk, or we'll schedule a phone call so that they can adequately deal with their emotion, but they're taking an action.[:
And I think that's the important thing is realizing that taking an action. So the motion then begins to influence the emotion. I think we always think that our emotions have all this power over us and they influence everything. Well, they can if we let them. But if we actually break that flow, we can actually use the actions that we take, the motions to influence our emotions. So I think it's, again, it's that willingness to take responsibility to do something about it.[:
And what have you got to lose by trying?[:
Absolutely nothing. Maybe you got five minutes of fresh air.[:
Yeah, exactly. I'm sitting here trying to think, okay, what motion can I take when I get mad at the driver next to me who's texting or the driver in front of me who's texting and slowing down on.[:
The freeway? I typically go into another lane, so when there's an accident occurs, I'm out.[:
There's the action.[:
Or you could decide that you're going to start singing. It could be literally something that... So it's not dismissing the fact that you're having that emotion, but it's saying, I don't want to dwell there. I often like to remind people that the physiological things that happen to your body when you are stressed are exactly the same as when you're excited.[:
Really? Okay. So your palms get sweaty, your heart beats faster. All those same feelings of anxiety, the physiological, the feelings, the manifestation of those feelings, the same as when you get really excited. So at the end of the day, it's really what we begin to call those symptoms or those manifestations. I know a lot of people who do public speaking, they use that trick of they may feel anxious. They're having all those physiological signs of anxiety. Here, I'm not talking about serious anxiety that needs medication. I'm all for if you need help, you need to get it. But if you're just preparing for a speech or something, you feel that all the butterflies in your stomach.[:
It's exactly the same as when you're excited. So what if you actually said to yourself, I'm so excited about giving this presentation that I've got butterflies in my stomach?[:
Right. I guess I had my own motion. Whenever I would give a speech when I was the director of the agency, if I just stood up there at the front of the room and looked at all these people sitting there, I'd start getting nervous. If I started talking to them, I would get excited and really look forward to the opportunity to talk to this group. And they, in turn, were feeling better because it was like they were getting to know me. And I wasn't just somebody lecturing and a talking head in front of them.[:
Aurel, thank you for your assistance in guiding us through at least the first six steps in this episode, the process and supporting our listeners in their quest for some personal growth. Let our listeners know how they can contact you and discover more on the principles of John Maxwell.[:
Sure. Brett and Carol, thank you very much. You can reach me at Aurel, that's O R E L L E@ limitless growth strategies. Com. And my website site is limitless growth strategies. Com, and you can find all sorts of information there.[:
Great. And part two of this two part episode of Working and Talking with You will be coming out very soon.[:
Thank you. Thank you for coming and joining us today.