Congratulations! You survived a once-in-100-year crisis that brought the world to a standstill, and you’ve lived in relative isolation for over a year. The challenges have been many, and finally, with national vaccination rates ticking upward, there’s growing confidence that the worst is behind us – at least for now.
The last 15+ months have been a challenging time; a void filled with separation from friends and loved ones, an echo chamber reverberating a profound sense of loss over the “year of pause.” And even as good news gains momentum, uncertainty abounds as to what the future holds. Just this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classified the COVID-19 Delta strain as a new “variant of concern.”
Thus, it’s no surprise that you still feel disoriented and uncomfortable. It will take time to fully recover from this cataclysmic ordeal. All of us, each in our own ways, are just beginning to reflect on what we’ve been through and to identify the steps necessary for moving forward. The perfunctory question: “how are you doing?” has gained new agency in all of our lives. To borrow a common follow-up in today’s far-from-normal world, “It’s OK, to not be OK.”
Why? Because by not recognizing our OK-ness, we are beginning the healing process. The beauty of the human soul is that it has – at its core, an error-correcting capability that makes us resilient. In World War II, Winston Churchill said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Though this is easier said than done, post-war Britain proved that it could be done. Now, in this early post-pandemic phase we are faced with a similar decisive moment. The question is, are you ready to embrace the myriad possibilities the “new normal” represents?
Re-Think Before You Re-Set
Some describe what we’re all going through as “the big reset;” a fundamental re-thinking of how we aspire to live, work, and play. Now, in the post-pandemic analysis, here are some critical ideas to consider:
- As it relates to your professional life, what’s working and what is not? Do you trust that your current leadership is aligned with your values and aspirations? Are you passionate about your current role and career path? With a red-hot job market for employees and employers from coast-to-coast scrambling for talent, your leverage has arguably never been more substantial. Either improve what can be improved where you are, or move on to greener pastures.
- Prior to the pandemic, everyday life was hectic, work demands and performance expectations were ever-increasing. These coupled with long commutes and continuous business travel rapidly translated to WFH and endless zoom calls. Professional and personal space all blurred into one. In an instant, everything stopped. As someone commented, we moved from “Working from anywhere to working everywhere, all of the time.” Most have now realized that this is neither acceptable nor sustainable for anyone. Have you?
- This is a time of anxiety and uncertainty. Employees and employers are starting to come to grips with how “hybrid” and “in-office” schedules will work. Will leaders co-create work environments that provide the flexibility and motivation that reduce anxiety, support productivity, and serve mutual interests?
- The world has changed, employees have higher expectations of leadership and a broader range of choices. This is where the post-pandemic world offers unprecedented opportunities. The work from home movement has utterly transformed the American workplace and it’s likely these changes are permanent. While some may lament the loss of camaraderie that comes with in-office banter and in-person authenticity, many are taking this opportunity to uproot entirely and choose new leadership and career options. It’s perhaps cliché to say this, but the possibilities really are endless.
The bottom line: Though we can’t “control” the future we can be more intentional in how we help shape it. Our intentions and choices do lead to specific results. Or at the very least, maximize the odds that an outcome you desire comes to pass. So, why not increase the probability of achieving the outcome you want?
It’s Time To Zoom Out So We Can Zoom In
Now is an opportunity to step back and to take a look at the big picture. It’s time to take stock of where you are and to determine what quality of life you want. There’s no denying that the world has changed. Companies, too, are undergoing unprecedented re-organization. Leaders and individuals alike have a unique occasion to reassess priorities, goals, aspirations, and plans. This is a once-in-a-century chance to “reset” and define the path you will choose to fulfill your potential.
It comes down to three simple questions:
- Will you choose to lead or will you follow?
- Will you chart your own path or continually react to the whims and changes dictated by others?
- What works best, being proactive, purpose-driven, and focused or perpetually reactive?
Whether you decide to stay in your current role or to explore new paths forward, help is available. As a business leader or entrepreneur, you may be feeling overwhelmed. I can relate because I’ve been where you are and understand how difficult it can be. More people are engaging executive coaches and or trusted advisors to support them as they reframe, refocus and re-imagine, creating a plan for success. Whatever you choose to do, don’t let this opportunity pass you by. You owe it to yourself to choose your destiny versus allowing unforeseen events or others to dictate your potential.
You’ve proven that you’re more resilient than perhaps you expected. It’s a new day and you survived a once-in-a-century crisis that brought the entire world to a halt.
Now that you survived, it’s time to thrive! I’m an executive coach who works with leaders and teams to excel in times of crisis. If you want to connect you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.