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Can you breathe?

Right now, in this moment, can you breathe?

Can you stop scrolling, can you stop your thought train, can you let the phone ring?

Can you take few seconds to breathe in and out and really feel and maybe observe your breath. Can you take a sip of coffee and really taste it and smell it. Can you look above your computer screen and see piece of the sky, can you notice how vast it is.

Can you understand that this exact moment in time someone can not. Cannot breathe. Maybe lying on a ground, maybe is being shot, maybe is being bullied, maybe is being abused on some other way. Actually, that someone is many more we know.

And, what if I tell you that we are all connected. That there is universal connectedness within all existence. And what if I tell you that you can make incredibly powerful impact to everything that is happening in the world - by catching your breath first.

So, in case you are experiencing burn out, overwhelm, stress, lack of energy, physical pain, mental exhaustion… Please, do catch your breath. Now. I believe that you are trying to help overcoming gender, sexual, racial gaps and that you are triggered by everything that is going on. And, I believe that you, as a leader, feel responsibility to do something more, to act, to share, to support. I also believe that you are very busy with your every day responsibilities.

I also believe that there is only one way that world experience true healing, power balance and freedom. And this is by saying no to collateral damages. Since I remember there is that term, that phrase that is making me really angry – collateral damage. Children in wars, women in fight for their rights, minorities in fights for their rights, in organizations that are restructuring collateral is a great worker, during pandemic collateral is a great medical worker or senior citizen etc.

In Oxford learners' dictionary you can find explanation: People say ‘collateral damage’ to avoid saying ‘innocent people being killed’. And the key word here is innocent. I am asking now at what point we started to take this for granted. At what point we all collectively decided that collateral damage is just a phrase that describes natural phenomenon.

I challenge that. A call it BS. I am inviting you, as a leader, to say no to collateral. I am inviting you to start saying no to collateral in every step that you take. Say no when official medicine tells you that there is no known therapy that can help you. Say no when your company degrades you because you have health issues. Say no when teacher pulls your daughter for hair because she doesn't want to take a group picture. Say no to being collateral damage to every system, structure and person you possible can.

And to be able to do that, you need to catch your breath first and take time to understand this bigger picture. To understand that everything you do or don't is affecting everybody. Universal connectedness, remember?

You see, I don't know how is it to be a black woman in USA, I don't know how is it to be a child from Syria in France, and I don't know how is it to be without water for days. I know some other crisis, but that's not the point. And you know your own crisis, but that's not the point either. The point is that we are all connected and that this creates collective experience.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

For you and me, as leaders, as visionary, this means that we must be absolutely sure that we are not that weak link when it comes to that bigger picture. This is not just about air plane and oxygen musk example - where you take care of yourself first and then to those who depend on you. This is me inviting you to adopt – no collateral – mindset and lifestyle. And lead by example. Like, seriously. No excuses and no - yes, but - language. Just be that example.

That is how you directly impact the world's situation. You can change things. Universal truth that I talk often about is that everybody suffers. And this is collective experience as well. So, if you consciously choose to to catch your breath and stand in your power – you impact that collective experience in empowering way.

That is why I ask you can you breathe?

If not, do catch your breath first. If yes, then be aware and make conscious choices not to accept to be collateral. You can make a difference. So, make it. Post about it, talk about it, scream about it, write billboards about it if you want – just, first, live it. Be the one who says no - I am not accepting to be collateral any more.

This is how we will collectively shift power from damaging to compassionate leadership. This is how we will be able to create society of compassionate authorities.

And, if you think that this point of view is too romantic, idealistic or just a nice story – let me ask you this: What if it is true? What if it is possible to consciously use collective wisdom grid to shift things? Not to wait power figures to sort it out, not to just pray for better tomorrow, not to have only hope?

But to actually contribute.

So, stop feeling like you have no power, like you are just one woman, like you are not important. Stop scrolling, taste you coffee and notice the sky. And then stand up and really change things. Catch your breath so you can help those who are running out of air. Now.

Your Leadership Mentor,

Olja Aleksic

Leadership is a lifestyle, not a job title.

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