I was hacked this past week – more than once – on my social media first and then an email from Medibank let me know that some of my personal data has been released to the dark web. Needless to say, I then had to spend time changing passwords, updating data and working out who needed to know and what other measures I needed to take. For the past few months, the amount of attention I have been receiving by the tools of hackers and criminals has increased. It started first with hateful messaging and then escalated to more sophisticated applications of AI tools and a barrage of uninvited follows and invitations, and now in what I hope is the crescendo, being part of one of Australia’s largest ever cyber breaches. Another frontier to manage as I begin a new public role.
Distract and disrupt techniques are being actively deployed and while I am alert to them, I am finding it all a bit tedious. To counter act both my feelings around these behaviours and their intent to be extractive, I am turning to be inspired by other behaviours to keep my focus on who I am trying to be in this world.
I’ve drawn inspiration this week from Lizzo in accepting an iconic People’s Choice award, by inviting activists to share the stage with her and be made visible to a much wider audience. I ‘ve also drawn inspiration from the Coralus community. The end of year review call was a cornucopia and narrative of transformation, moving from being individual centric to community-led across the year. The third inspiration has been the community of leaders at the City of Onkaparinga, which I have the honour to now be in a leading governance role as Mayor. They have shown me in the past couple of weeks their high level of functioning in some dark times from COVID to a significant executive leadership mess. There is a very impressive and visible high levels of consciousness operating. I knew it was in good shape, but it has exceeded my expectations. The activists of Be Love under the guidance of Bernice A King (the youngest daughter of MLK and Coretta Scott King) is a rich source of encouragement, practical advice for transformative leadership and reaches into that influential community of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. The election of Rev Warnock this week drew me back into that space, one which has held me more than once when I have felt exhausted and wondered if I could go on. In Obama’s speech this week to the good folk there, he talked about being tired and why we can’t get tired we have to go on and he located this Georgian generation in a lineage of others who kept going like John Lewis. Great instruction. That’s the gig – to keep going, keep mobilising, keep activating, keep voting. (My local booster shot for this was with the showing of Brazen Hussies movie last week.)
It is easy to fall into the trap of tedium – to be dragged down by the distractions and disruptions – they are designed to wear you out, to have you give up. It is OK to pause and have a rest, take a moment for even doing that you are valuing the gift you are and refuelling for the generative work ahead and celebrating and honouring what you have done. I am looking forward to a break coming up soon after all the energy expended during the campaign and now in getting onboarded and the inevitable forming, norming, storming and reforming …. before we get to the transforming stage of our contribution as an elected body.
The antidote to the dark web and the behaviours of those who choose to make that their virtual home, is light and love. This is the call. Collaboration, partnerships and tools to rewire and create generative and transformational next steps, is the response. First council meeting this week and I plan to be wearing something bright and joyful. I am already under attack on a few fronts there and as I am learning the beautiful constraints of the Local Government Act testing some assumptions, working out what is and isn’t negotiable and discovering where people’s level of consciousness is – all very instructive as I step into leadership in this new way and bring all of myself with me.
December sunrise over Sellicks Beach