By Anne Harbison
When a part of life that has given us joy is shut down, we’re not just grieving that thing (e.g. the job, relationship, health, the ability to have coffee with friends); it’s the energy and emotion that resulted from that activity that we crave. Of course we all miss the freedom of mobility during a stay-at-home order, but I bet that we each have a very specific “miss” list based on what makes us thrive in more normal times.
Our inner talents, ambitions, and hopes have a way of finding a path when the one in front of us is shut down. I had a client who loved managing others, and when moved to a job where he didn’t have direct reports, ended up coaching little league baseball. He had a fundamental desire to invest in the growth of others; when his “day job” didn’t give him that daily opportunity, he found other avenues to direct his natural talent.
Is there a part of you that is feeling restless? That unsettled feeling...
I’ve gotten pretty lax with television time in our house during this stay-at-home period. My kids are watching a LOT of Disney (giving me some time for Netflix binges). Frozen’s Let It Go has been on a replay loop in my head for years. Now “The Next Right Thing” from Frozen II is playing right along beside it. If you have to have an ear worm, these empowerment ballads are pretty great.
Yesterday I encouraged you to purposely toggle between the big picture and the immediate need (zoom out, zoom in). Taking the next step without a broader frame of reference (and meaning) can lead you unconsciously down a path you never meant to travel. You may be moving forward, but is it the right direction at the right time for the right purpose? Is the decision, action, conversation you’re having today actually the next right thing?
It’s especially hard to discern the next right thing when that “ zoom-out" horizon...
Gallup research shows that our primary need during times of turmoil and crisis is stability. In times of uncertainty, we long to know what is still true, what is expected of us, on what and whom can we rely. In the context of the Covid-19 crisis, when what we do not know is overwhelming, reaffirming what has not changed will continue to be a touchstone of sanity and comfort. If there was ever a time for gratitude for what we do have, it is now.
It has become clear that we are experiencing a global inflection point. Across continents, across cultures, time will be delineated by BC (before Covid-19) and AC (after Covid-19). As the profound scope of this pandemic is unfolding, we all need to strengthen our emotional muscles for tolerating ambiguity and complexity.
So here are two critical questions:
1) What was your relationship with “not knowing” before Covid-19 (BC)?
In more normal, predictable times, have you been someone who...
Once a leader asked me to serve on a volunteer committee, and my immediate response was “Hell No!” I was already overcommitted with work and family and knew with absolute certainty that I couldn’t handle anything else on my plate. The leader laughed and said, “Well, I’d rather have a ‘hell no’ than a ‘maybe yes’.”
This week I’d like for you to look out for parts of your life where you are a ‘maybe yes.’ These may be obligations that grew out of scope-creep in your job; a volunteer position you said yes to out of guilt; a project that you thought would be no big deal but is now sucking up your time an energy.
A ‘Maybe yes’ dilutes your energy, time and leadership brand. Time spent in these areas typically yields mediocre outcomes while sacrificing focus you could be dedicating to activities that are truly important to you.
As you go through your week, pay attention to...
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