In the wee small hours of this morning I was lying awake. It’s not uncommon for me.
My brain wakes up and has a bunch of things it wants to think about that it didn’t have time to process the day before.
It’s quiet. It’s dark. Technically, it’s good time to think, without distraction.
Equally it would be a good time to sleep, but as most parents of young kiddies know, sleep is for the weak!
The difference today was that I woke up at 2.57 and realised that today we should hear the results of the American Presidential Election.
I picked up my phone and looked at the news.
OH MY GOD.
At that time in the morning it looked pretty likely Trump might win it!
OH MY GOD.
*Queue a billion thoughts running through my mind*
The thoughts were metaphorically sprinting round the change curve like a relay race, but instead of reaching the other side, my idea batons just got bigger and bigger, going round and round.
Shock; denial; frustration; depression; experiment; decision; integration
It was wearing me out.
Let’s face it, when it comes to the Trump Presidency there are a lot of questions to ask.
There’s the obvious ones around Trump’s racism, sexism, rudeness, inciting violence and all those things the press have made sure we’ve been absolutely aware of.
“The pussy grabbing President”.
Is this what the world has come to?
Then there’s all the questions about the things you don’t know.
How is he going to actually “Make America Great Again?”
Making it “Great Again” infers moving backwards, not forwards. But we cannot rewind the world.
I said a prayer. Then another.
Admittedly, the choice of candidates was not great.
It’s true. The world is not in a great place right now.
There are many disenfranchised people out there.
People who want some radical change and look to someone, anyone, even Trump to deliver it.
Automation, robots, artificial intelligence have meant that many of the jobs people saw as a right, and necessity, once upon a time, are no longer there.
Towns and cities are finding it increasingly difficult to provide decent education, housing, healthcare with the burgeoning population under budget cuts. I get it.
What hope is there for the future?
Some people see (believe) immigrants coming in taking up what space and jobs there are.
They look for someone to blame.
They want change.
I don’t think they really know what kind of change they want, or how it will happen, or what impact that will have on the world. But they want it.
And so here we are. With Brexit trumped by Trump’s own version. I’m sure we’d all love to thank Nigel Farage for his generous contribution as “Trump Advisor”.
So there I was in bed, in my head, with my metaphorical change curve…
Having a brain that is trained in communications and change for a job, means for some reason I just can’t stop the automatic key message generation. So through every stage of the curve, my brain creates a key message.
Sometimes this is brilliant, especially as usually I work through the whole argument in my brain, at speed, and swiftly arrive at decision and integration. Then I can make peace with the change and then help other people do the same.
This time I couldn’t find the peace. Not really. Not convincingly. I didn’t buy it.
So I said to my husband, we just need to try and go back to sleep.
“Stop looking at your phone. It might not happen. We won’t know until at least 5am, let’s try and get some sleep.”
I tried meditation, I tried breathing techniques, I tried repeating affirmations.
It was working a bit, but not enough.
Then my brain did something beautiful. It said:
You aren’t going to know if this is really true for at least another hour. And although it might happen, it hasn’t happened yet.
So pretend it isn’t happening. Ignorance is bliss.
Allow yourself these last couple of hours of peace. A tiny piece of time to savour a time where Donald Trump isn’t going to be the President of the United States.
This is your last chance to enjoy peace of mind.
And I went to sleep.
(This never happens – it was like a Christmas miracle)
Then my daughter woke up having a bad dream, screaming out
“No, I don’t want to” “I don’t want it”.
(There was a part of me that wondered whether she knew something!)
I went to comfort her and came back to bed.
It was 5am.
My husband picked up his phone.
I said “NO, don’t look! I don’t want to know. Not yet.”
TURN IT OFF.
I just wanted to lie there in peace for one more hour.
I just wanted one more hour of the world not facing Donald Trump as President of the United States and all that that could mean.
One more hour where the world seemed a little less scary.
For that hour, ignorance was bliss.
I woke up to a new world this morning.
A world full of people either getting stuck in, or racing around that change curve.
God only knows what everyone in America really woke up feeling today. A real mix of emotions I’m sure.
My brain aches as I think of ways that we all might be able to help each other embrace the fact that more change is on the horizon, and come up with possibilities to influence it for the better.
I’ve not got a solution yet, (and I’m sure Donald hasn’t either).
But what we can do is find ways to encourage people to lead with love, not fear.
To build bridges not walls.
To unite not divide.
We all have the potential to be a great leader. To be the leader we want to be.
Whether at home with our families, in our communities, or the wider world.
Why not become a Leader too?
A world full of people leading with love, not fear, surely has to trump one man with four years?
Sending love to the world,
You can follow Leading Conversations on Twitter @leadingconv for all the latest inspiration and conversations.
Lucy Griffin-Stiff, is the Founder of Leading Conversations a Strategic Communications and Engagement consultancy. Lucy works with businesses of all shapes and sizes to help them create a clear proposition, messaging, and communications strategy to connect with the audience that matters to them.