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Thriving in chaos: Adopting an ASTUTE perspective

​In the current climate of uncertainty and confusion, it seems that many of us are operating in a state of chaos. For some, the realities of COVID-19 are extreme health risks; for others, the risks are economic; for many, it is both. In addition, we need to be mindful of the challenges associated with social disruption on a global scale, where people across the globe are required to be physically distant from most, if not all, of their support network. With the widespread cancellation of almost every “non-essential” activity, it is totally understandable for people to be feeling lost, isolated and afraid. When reflecting upon my response to this situation, and how I can make a positive difference in my circle of influence, I realised that what helps people to be their best in “typical” situations is also what helps us to be our best in extraordinary circumstances. What neuroscience has taught us about the brain and how it responds to the environment doesn’t change just because that environment is different. The knowledge we have about how humans operate becomes more, not less, relevant when the outside world is almost unrecognisable.

With that in mind, I offer my “Astute Transformation Framework” as a way of identifying some guideposts for navigating these tumultuous times. Based on neuro-scientifically validated pillars of a success mindset, this framework has proven extremely helpful in guiding the process of transformation when individuals and/or organisations are seeking to thrive during an important transition. The entire year of 2020 so far feels like a transition on a global scale, so it seems that this is more important than ever.

The Astute Transformation Framework is as follows:

ALIGN: Getting in alignment requires clarity about what matters most. Some important elements to getting in alignment include values, vision, purpose, mission and a personalised definition of success.

Key questions: What really matters to me and how do I define success?

STRIVE: Success in any domain requires persistence, commitment, determination, and a willingness to do the things that need to be done.

Key questions: What do I need to commit to BEING and DOING in order to achieve my definition of success?

THANK: The importance of gratitude cannot be overestimated. Research has clearly demonstrated that gratitude can change the structure and function of our brains, and thus is an essential component of thriving.

Key questions: What can I be grateful for, in this moment?

UNDO: In order to progress to a new level of success, it is important to identify what we need to stop doing. This creates room for the new habits that are fundamental to success and allows us to grow and change in ways that align with our definition of success.

Key questions: What is getting in my way and how can I stop sabotaging myself?

TOGETHER: It has been noted that true excellence rarely occurs in a silo. Identifying the core people with whom we can/should connect is crucial.

Key questions: Who are my people? How can I connect with them?

ELEVATE: The best bit: enhancing outcomes for all involved.

Key questions: How can I contribute so that everybody benefits?

The beauty of these six principles is that they apply equally to individuals and groups, in times of normal transition and in times of chaos. In its totality, the Astute Transformation Framework is intended to promote individual and collective thriving, by recognising that we all do better when we have a clear understanding of what matters most to us, an actionable plan for achieving our own definition of success, and an appreciation of the ways in which we are all inextricably linked.

If the fact that a tiny virus can travel around the globe in a few months, despite vigorous efforts to stop it, doesn’t demonstrate how intimately connected all of humanity really is, I don’t know what will. With that in mind, it is my sincere hope that in these times of uncertainty, we find our best and most “astute” selves, in order to give all of us the best opportunity to thrive through this unprecedented transition.  

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