Thoughts from Gretchen – July 2022

You are a brave leader. You are thinking about what is next as well as what needs to be done today. You are paying attention to the development of your organization and your people. You are wise enough to question yourself on a regular basis. You have led through the COVID crisis and see light at the end of the tunnel. You ease up a little on the intensity of your focus, anticipating that you can rest and regroup. But you find that your anxiety is increasing, not decreasing. 

Your inability to regain a sense of grounded confidence may be showing up in compulsively checking email, Slack, the news, or social platforms. It might be hard for you to settle into being fully present, and quiet moments of doing nothing feel like a luxury you can’t afford. Your attention could be fragmented – you could be feeling physically agitated – you could be noticing your brain manufacturing catastrophic scenarios. This is happening because cortisol levels have been higher than usual for an extended period, a result of real and perceived threats increasing exponentially thanks to a global pandemic shifting social norms and public and economic health. Relaxing, which drops cortisol levels, feels unsafe. Okay, now you know – what to do next?

Quick Fix: Take a vacation! Let your staff know that they can break through via text with urgent requests but that otherwise you are offline. Move your email, Slack, and other apps you check regularly to your cell phone’s last screen. Invest in relationships with others and in time with yourself. Anticipate 48-72 hours of discomfort as your cortisol levels drop.

Big Reset: Do something brave with yourself outside your leadership role. Yup, it’s somewhat counter-intuitive since you’re already facing each day with bravery, but overcoming a palpable, immediate fear will remind you of your own strength, self-assurance, and resourcefulness. After you’ve done your brave thing, ask yourself, “What is possible from this place?”  

Everything is changing all of the time – our job is to evolve just as quickly. Every great leader has a perspective-taking practice. Time to regain yours!

Until soon,

Leading a


Check in with your team members. How many of them are having trouble finding a new baseline? Share the insights you are taking from this email, including what you are doing and how it is working.

Leading an


Ask yourself: “What is the bravest thing I can do today?” It has been a long two years of navigating complexity. What adventure will refresh your energy and clarity?

Speaking of being brave…

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