Top Menu

A Personal View: The EU Referendum: A Collective and Personal Wake Up Call

2016.06.30 The World in Space

Written on the 30th June 2016

I voted to Remain. I thought on balance Remain would give us the best chance to change organically from within whilst also appreciating although not always agreeing with the many of the points also raised by the Leave Campaign.

But like many I woke up to what felt like a very new and different world on Friday 24th June 2016.

I was shocked, saddened, tearful, … my head and my heart full of thoughts, ideas, imaginings, wonderings as my ground felt ripped from underneath my feet, as divisions in our society, in our regions, in our politics and with the rest of the world were ripped open.

My BBC 24 News has been on a continual loop as I listen to our unfolding and our collective unraveling before we can put ourselves back together again but forever changed. And this happening just after the brutal murder of Jo Cox the Labour MP as she left her constituency base. Visiting the flowers left in her memory at Parliament Square with my daughter on the 12th June to honor a life cut tragically short was one of the most moving experiences of my life – including as it did my usual extortion to my daughter that she must always exercise her democratic right when she comes of age as many people have died – and continue to die across the world – so that we and they can exercise their democratic right. The campaigns of the Suffragettes – and the images of the Suffragettes chaining themselves to lamp posts and fences – have been indelibly engraved during our dinner table conversations as I was growing up.

I have spoken publicly and privately about the paucity of our national debate over the pros and cons of REMAIN or LEAVE. This has delivered a shock wave through our own sense of self, our communities and our institutions caught and beached by the tides of unceasing and continual change which we are only just starting to understand. Of rapid globalization, of exponential technological change, of ecological danger, of ruptured relationships, of divided families and communities ….

I am a historian by trade and I am not sure I can recall a national debate which failed to serve the core issues in some fundamental way which would affect a generation and more – not only in the UK but globally. Speaking personally I was often left confused as I tried to decipher the statistics, claims and counter claims banded about in the national press which just seemed to confuse rather than clarify.

The reality of our VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) has finally washed up at all of our front doors like the floods of last Thursday’s election night.

I have often thought of going into politics but I have decided that my contribution now lies in helping to develop the capacities and capabilities of leaders and people professionals to support others in navigating today’s seismic shifts. I want to be part of the conversation, part of the solution and part of the action changing todays’ paradigm about how we teach, train and develop others for their organizational and societal roles.

I have also come to realize that it is probably only by developing our ability to be with what is, to be present and welcome all of experience, to compassionately and courageously sense what is wanting to emerge, to see new opportunities and possibilities in our wake up call, and then to act wisely, ethically and with integrity can we harvest the best whilst also reimagining and innovating our way into new territories and new worlds.

This is a personal statement and does not necessarily represent the view of the any of the organisations I work or for.

Elaine is an international Executive Coach, Coach Supervisor and Leadership Developer whose passion is bringing the inspirational, energizing and creative powers of our shared humanity into the heart of leadership, work and business practices.


, , ,