12 Minutes from Chaos to Clarity

When faced with the unexpected, whether it’s good, bad or neutral, we inevitably experience some upheaval in order to accommodate what we didn’t expect. What if I told you that by investing 12 minutes you could significantly reduce the confusion and chaos of the unexpected? 

We admire the leader who can manage what comes their way with a sense of calm and stability that anchors everyone around them even if they don’t have all the answers. This week, I had a conversation with Kristen Evenson, Change and Transitions Coach, about the aspiration of busy leaders to project the calming presence others need, so that together we can move from chaos to clarity. She cites neuroscience research that explores the potential we have to rewire the brain (renew our mind) in 8 weeks if we invest just 12 minutes a day. 

Imagine that! Becoming more of the leader you want to be by investing just 12 minutes a day. Kristin shares the impact of this investment:

  • Strengthen our soul for the demands of leadership and life
  • Leadership guided by renewing the mind and transforming the spirit 
  • Cultivate Christ-like character as we become the leader we aspire to be
  • Deepen our discernment to navigate the unexpected with Godly wisdom

These might seem like lofty goals in 12 minutes a day over the next eight weeks. Yet, what if 8 weeks from now the unexpected doesn’t take the wind out of your sails. Instead, you respond with Godly wisdom that lights your path, and your self-doubts and constant questioning moves to the back seat. Would it be worth it? 

Out of calmness comes clarity.     

~Trevor Carss

Don’t wait, start today!

I remember the date. It was November 17, 2019 and I made a decision to change the way I was engaging in my own spiritual practices. It was a sweet calling from the Holy Spirit that I knew I could not resist. I set aside the time. I took classes. I sought out mentors. I haven’t looked back and little did I know I would need that anchor in my soul for the chaos that  2020 brought to my life and leadership. 

Even if your spiritual practices are solid, your brain needs the jolt that engaging a new practice will offer. So, start something new today. Dr. James Clear breaks down how to start small then add in more over time in his book, Atomic Habits. A few highlights:

  1. Stack your new spiritual habit with something else you enjoy, like a morning coffee.
  2. Start with just 2 minutes a day and add an additional minute every day til you are at 12.
  3. Associate your new practice with a positive feeling (e.g. hope, peace, kindness, calmness) so you are more likely to repeat it.

If you think about it, bringing this new spiritual practice into your life can ground you for what’s ahead.  Rather than reacting to the unexpected you are better prepared to more thoughtfully respond. The unexpected will still happen on occasion.  Now, though, you can leverage what you have been learning through this new habit to navigate these times and move through them. 

Next Steps

  1. Check out some resources to learn more: The Side by Side Podcast with Kristin Evenson on Cutting Through the Chaos or The Busy Leader’s Guide to Sticky Habits
  2. Change it up! Try only ONE thing. Don’t add 10 new spiritual practices at once >> just try one! Get ideas from a short list I compiled that you can even do on the go!

Comment below. What spiritual practices have helped strengthen your soul and guide your steps as a leader? What are you thinking about adding to engage your brain in ways that renew the mind? When will you add it? How will you know it is working?

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Annie Perdue Olson

Annie is founder of Leading Better Together, guiding leaders through the relationship and people challenges that sidetrack ministry. With 20+ years of experience in nonprofit management and pastoral ministry she equips people and teams to work better together. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources and Change Leadership from St. Thomas University and received her coaching certification from the Center for Coaching Excellence.

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