We Make The Road While Walking

We Make The Road While Walking


There has never been another time in my life where I have seen leaders so challenged from so many sides. They are being called upon to lead in the most unpredictable and uncertain times and, of course, unprecedented times.

They are having to make decisions quickly without all the facts. They have to trust their judgement and draw on their inner resources, acting courageously and without fear or favour.

While they are being advised by experts in every relevant field, there are no guarantees that the decisions they make will take us where they want to go.

They have no idea what the road ahead looks like because they can’t see very far ahead at all. They can’t see around the corner.

I recall what Paulo Freire said decades ago when we don’t know what is ahead of us: We make the road while walking. That’s what our leaders need to do in leading through this crisis. They gather all the data, the tracing information, the facts available today and the expert advice and they build the next part of the road and they move forward on it for the next day or days. They then gather all the new data, additional information and new facts and expert opinion and they build a bit more of the road forward and they walk along it. And so it goes on. What we hope will happen is that each day more of the road is built than the day before until the road ahead is clear.

That, however, is some way off and our leaders need to stay the course in spite of the critics who act as if they have a clear vision of the road ahead already.

Personally, We Need To Make The Road While Walking Also.

This is exactly our personal journey also. We are living our personal and professional lives surrounded by uncertainty. For some that is much more intense and frightening than it is for others. To try and plan ahead too far has proved to be devastating, as the road twists and turns back on us. Many here in Victoria are in tough Stage 4 restrictions. Those of us in Stage 3 are facing the prospect of being thrown into Stage 4. We are being told borders may not open for Christmas, which was the road out of this that was going to set us free.

We have to make our road every day from out of our inner resourcefulness. We have to live it fully. We have to discover everything we have that can make it as level a road as possible. Then we walk it. Tomorrow we make the next part of the road and we walk it. And on it goes.

I hear from my colleagues, family and friends who have accepted that there is no clear road ahead and are making their road while walking, that they are managing their personal and professional lives with much less stress and even with some joy.

Stay safe. Stay happy and give our leaders who are challenged beyond imagination the support they need. After we are through this we can evaluate how it all could have been done better.

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