It’s day 3 of severe restricted movement in the UK (and across much of the world) due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Schools are closed so our three children are all at home. My work continues running workshops and one-to-one coaching sessions via Zoom, but with far more gaps in the diary than at any time I can remember.
In short, it’s a very different world and we are adjusting fast to a new normal with new routines.
Part of my new routine will be to write every day. Just for 15 minutes. I’m not sure exactly what will come out but I’ve learnt that the practice of reflection and processing thoughts and emotions is an extremely healthy one and for me the best way to do this is in writing.
Feel free to ‘listen’ in. More than ever I’ll be up for engaging with comments, discussions etc if you want to join the conversation.
So to the first of these journals.
I find myself oscillating between feeling courageous and purposeful and then drained and deflated. I read a helpful article yesterday on HBR about recognising that what many of us are feeling can be described as grief. It’s worth a read – I won’t say more than that in this blog except to recognise that we are not immune emotionally to the magnitude of what is happening.
I operate in the world of leadership where there is lots said about staying positive, and I’m all for that. What I don’t like though is when that leads to a triumphalist, unrealistic outlook that fails to recognise our human fragility and, frankly, the utterly shitty situation that many find themselves in. This applies not just to the current pandemic but to many people all over the world, all the time.
So how do we handle this tension?
I’m reminded of the situation my wife described when undergoing rehab after her leg amputation a couple of years ago. The utterly marvelous staff at the hospital talked about goals in a way that I really like. Everyone they work with is in a difficult situation for all sorts of tragic reasons and their job is to help them face their reality and move forward. To do this, they counselled, you have to set some goals. You have to have something that you want to do, to achieve, to conquer, in order to do the hard and painful work today that will give you the very best chance of the best possible outcome in the future.
Therefore I’m thinking today about vision, purpose, mission and values. What is important to me beyond (and during) this crisis that will keep me focused on doing the work neccessary today that will give the best possible chance of the best possible outcome tomorrow.
One of my colleagues shared some great thoughts on The Stockdale Paradox that you can listen to here. Profound advice on facing truly adverse situations with courage and purpose.