Our 2020 Theme Book for our members is Emotional Agility by Susan David. Little did we know that it would be so appropriate for the challenges we are now facing with COVID-19. During this time, we have invited our team members to reflect on their own experiences and how the book has been a helpful resource by asking them these two questions: What are you being invited to let go of right now? What are you being invited to hold on to?

Like many of us who like to be on top of everything, plan every detail, know the destination before taking the first step, I like control. Let’s be clear. I am not a controlling person. In my mind, that’s the difference between offense (needing to be in charge of other people) and defense (being really uncomfortable with someone else being able to affect me, my path, or decisions). And like most others who suffer from this affliction of needing to be in control of my environment at all times, this comes from a past hurt and/or having a childhood that felt a little more unorganized or unstructured than felt safe.

Enter the book Emotional Agility by Susan David. Early on in the book she outlines some emotional “hooks,” things that keep us stuck emotionally. One of them that really hit home for me she calls Old, Outgrown Ideas. These are ideas we have had or stories that we have told about our life, that served us well when we were younger but are actually getting in the way now that we are older. As I read this hook, I knew it was time to face the facts: my defense mechanisms that helped me feel safe as a kid are now getting in the way of feeling connected to others as an adult.

What Am I Being Invited to Let Go Of?
COVID-19 is so much bigger than me or anything I can put my arms around, much less control. And that has been a powerful invitation for me to let go of my need to control my situation or circumstances. I am grateful for my mind and body for building up defenses that helped me as a child but now I see it’s time to let go.

What Am I Being Invited to Hold On To?
On the flip side, I am being invited to connect with others in vulnerable ways. So far, my fear of getting hurt or taken advantage of hasn’t subsided. I’m as scared as ever. But I can see the other side. I see a new warmth and connection with those closest to me. If I’m honest, feeling safe does feel good. But if I’m really honest, feeling connected feels better.

Jared Byas

Partner, Family Business Advisor

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