I Have A Secret
Last week I saw a psychic. It felt great. The last time I did anything like that was 15 years ago. The most delicious part was that I got to luxuriate in daydreaming about the future! No kidding. The future. After six weeks of not thinking beyond a week, it scratched a very deep itch.
I’m someone who loves to brainstorm big, lofty (often totally impractical) ideas. It’s what I do. Not being able to anticipate and dream has been hard on me. And it made me realize something. This pause is a chance for us all to get in better touch with the self-care we need. Without mani-pedi’s, massage, the pool, coffees with friends, we have to really dig to figure out what restores us and gives us energy. For some, it’s learning something new. For others it’s service. Maybe for you, it’s connection. Or getting things done.
It’s important now because last week the collective mood seemed to shift from “We’ve got this!” to “Oh shoot, how many more months in this cocoon?” If you’re one of the lucky ones who’s feeling the goodness of humanity, then keep on keepin’ on! But if you’re feeling discouraged, prickly, and unfocused, you’re not alone. I’ve heard the same from other coaches, and friends who are social workers and therapists. A week ago my family even skipped the housekeeping which if you know me, is a good sign that things are off the rails. Right now dust bunnies roll by like tumbleweeds, and I just look away.
The good news is that human beings don’t like to be down for long, but it’s a process. I find that “Be your best self!” platitudes backfire if they are premature. A better way is using four steps that I use with teams and clients all the time.
Self-care. Understand what you need to restore. Write it down. It took me a bit to realize that I’d dropped everything to make my family feel safe and comfortable. While that is an important part of my self-care, some other things were getting sidelined.
Experience your feelings. We like resilience because it sounds positive. But you can’t have resilience without the feelings of loss, frustration, or hopelessness that come before it. There’s a scene in the Matrix where Neo destroys his nemesis by diving straight into his chest. Difficult feelings are like that. If you take a few minutes to be with them and cry or scream, their power weakens. Spend some time there.
Appreciation. Our primitive brain focuses on what’s not yet done, and that’s hard right now. What I love to do is have clients write down all of their accomplishments. Try it. Maybe your kids have actually been following their on-line schooling. Maybe you’ve managed a few heart-to-hearts with them. Maybe you’ve cooked from scratch a lot and can still see your toes without bending over. Maybe like my friend Michelle you’ve been a front line worker by day, and convinced your DJ neighbor to start a balcony dance party by night. Whatever it is, acknowledge your hard work.
Focus on what you can influence. I just created a 4-course program for companies called The Great Pause Care Package, because while you can’t influence when you’ll be able to return to the office or when your clients will come back, you can spend this time up-leveling soft skills and building more cohesive teams. (BTW, if you are interested in this course for your organization, please email me).
I do believe that we are turning a collective corner. We sprinted through phase one. Now we are looking at a longer phase and things aren’t going to snap back. You have a choice — stagnate here, or surrender to the situation, take care of yourself and focus on what you can. That is how we access our deeper creative power.