The pandemic has turned our lives upside down for the past couple of months, and though we aren’t out of the woods yet, we’ve started to see signs of the country reopening. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is leading the charge to reopen one of the areas hardest hit by the virus with a “build back better” mantra. What if we apply this to ourselves as well?

My team recently hosted a second webinar on the topic of “Adjusting to Uncertainty” to share certain trends we are seeing as we’re coaching our clients through this crisis. These free webinars are an opportunity for our community to come together and share their thoughts and support one another.

Related: Adjusting to Uncertainty

Be Anti-Fragile

Executive Coach Katherine Lewis brought up the concept of resilience versus anti-fragility. Resilience is when we resist a shock, and we come out okay but remain the same. Whereas being anti-fragile means we move toward a disorder and as a result, we come out better. Apply the concept of “anti-fragility” by looking at the pandemic as an opportunity to become your best self, to come up with your best innovation.

Katherine says in order to do that you must allow yourself to fall into the chaos and uncertainty of today’s world and be okay with that for a while.

Executive and Career Coach Anna Bray agrees that this time can be an opportunity to try something new or experiment. We are human, so we set patterns in our lives. Those patterns are currently being disrupted, but think hard – are they actually working for you?

It’s no surprise that many people are in transition right now. Some people have found themselves unexpectedly out of work. Others are adjusting to working remotely from home, perhaps while trying to balance home schooling their children. Whether you are searching for a job or still working, it’s important to take some time for yourself.

Examine your standards

One participant noted that the non-usual stress of our times is bringing out the best and worst of all of us, which couldn’t be truer. Another participant asked whether it’s okay to lower standards during this time. Katherine admitted to lowering her own standards and joked that her house is not as clean as it used to be. She points out that now more than ever, leaders need to have compassion.

Overcommunication is key right now. When we are triggered, we don’t hear things as clearly as when we aren’t stressed. Katherine suggests leaders err on the side of repeating their message over and over. You’re probably familiar with the “Rule of 7” in marketing and advertising which suggests consumers need to hear a message seven times before they will consider taking action. The same is true when communicating to employees right now. Use redundant communication to get your message to your team and then practice active listening so that your team feels heard.

Will you be a beautiful butterfly?

One participant asked how to find motivation to stay productive right now, and both coaches agreed that this is something they are hearing from their clients and even experiencing themselves. The place to start is accepting that you won’t be as productive in this mode, and that’s okay. Anna points out that you don’t have to emerge from this pandemic as a beautiful butterfly.

Anna stresses the importance of self-care during this difficult time. She suggests building some structure into your day and making sure you include rituals such as reading fiction or exercising that bring you joy in each day.

Remembering the concept of “Build Back Better,” Katherine poses some questions to ask yourself:

  • What will be your legacy during this crisis?
  • What will you be glad about when it is over?
  • What do you want to look back and remember most?

Find gentleness, joy, comfort and love wherever you can find it. And when times get hard, remember the song from Nemo, Just keep swimming!

Coach and Moderator Nancy Scheel ended the webinar with a poem that I wanted to share with you because it speaks to this unprecedented time.

“This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.”

― John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

Stay tuned for more free webinars to come.