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Leaders faced with volatility and uncertainty will benefit from building a keen awareness of both themselves and the operating environment around them.

In their new book, Deliberate Calm: How to Learn and Lead in a Volatile World (HarperCollins Publishers, November 2022), authors Jacqueline Brassey, Aaron De Smet, and Michiel Kruyt investigate a concept they call “dual awareness,” the integrated awareness of our external and internal environments and how they affect each other. With this awareness, we are able to access a state in which we can act with intention and perform at our best no matter what is going on around us. This requires a certain detachment from our feelings and thoughts, where we can observe ourselves having an experience and can observe our feelings and thoughts about that experience. We still feel emotions, and we still may think negative or hurtful thoughts, but we can notice and accept those thoughts without fully identifying with them. We are in a position to choose a response instead of fully identifying with and getting swept away by our emotions and reacting out of habit.