Game shows and talent competitions have been televised for years. Long before the genre of Reality TV (especially scripted reality…I mean, really?) was affirmed, we looked for the underdog in such shows. These people had studied and practiced for this chance. We wanted their preparation to help them win. Preparation is a necessary winning ingredient for each of us as we stand at the door of post-COVID times.
What we’re experiencing now forces us to either get prepared or to seek out help to do so. I have been overwhelmed at the number of responses from our last blog regarding dealing with denial. Dolvett Quince and I offered a three-part webcast, too. It has resonated with so many of you. And it brings me back to pre-COVID 2020 (if we can remember such a time) when I shared that resilience was going to be the marker for this year, and for post-COVID as well. Little did I know how much so.
Many of you are leading teams. Those teams need to skill up when it comes to resilience. You are an example of how to handle life circumstances, beyond just work, for better or for worse. The application of a process that works will influence thinking, not just yours, but those around you. It will bleed into work, yes, but into so many other areas, too. It’s not a burden, truly, but it does require preparation.
So what are your preparation methods for post-COVID? If we’re going to stop denying the circumstances in front of us and forge a new path of acceptance, a plan is needed. Doing so haphazardly instead will likely lead to failure and discouragement, opening the door to retreat to denial once again. Equip yourself with what is needed for success. Let’s look to a friend from the 90’s, Montell Jordan, to know how we do it.
- Reach for my 40 and I turn it up – Check your environment. With having to work from home for so many, are you still in reactive mode with your setup? It was understandable in March and April to have a make-shift work area, but now that there may be more permanence, establish a dedicated space, even if only a 2 x 2 area. Using a common table for kids to do school work, a significant other doing work and you doing your work on one kitchen table is tough. Maybe do a bit more of a rotation on space. Can it be mixed up a bit? Maybe do two hour shifts between a comfy chair, the dining room table, your front porch, etc. And what things are not working in your environment? If the TV remote is a temptation for you, then ask someone to hide it or make it harder for you to get to it. Address all environmental considerations – space, noise, function, airflow, connection.
- Designated driver takes the keys to my truck – We need accountability. There needs to be at least one person who knows you and with whom you can be honest. Moving out of denial and out of bad habits takes honesty with someone. If you have more than one, great, but find at least one person who will have your back. Schedule a regular time for such conversation. Don’t assume that because your significant other, for instance, is there with you daily that you’ll naturally have such talks. Be deliberate about the time and the topic. Carve it out with specificity.
- Hit the shore ‘cause I’m faded – With just as much deliberateness, set aside time to not work (that doesn’t mean you have to fall down drunk! re: faded). Part of the reason the denial of what work life and personal life have become is because we keep our heads down for longer portions of the day. Many companies are finding that their staff are actually working longer hours at home due to the ease of access. Starting at 8 AM rather than 9, even casually, and then maybe shutting down around 6 PM while having had a working lunch makes for a long day, and even less desire to think once finished. Binge watching in the evenings keeps our day full of distraction and busyness. Find a place and time to center on something else and change the scenery. Maybe it’s the shore, mountains, a bike ride through the park, whatever. Your mental preparedness depends upon clear thinking. You’ll be more innovative by carving out such time.
- Tip up your cup – Celebrate the small victories in addressing your circumstances. Once you get out of the “come post-COVID, we’ll get back to normal” mindset, and you begin your planning for what is real now and to come, set aside time to evaluate your progress and celebrate the smallest of wins. If you’ve gotten better at parts of your schedule, great! If you’ve made strides in your accountability with another, awesome! Recognize your wins.
These principles are valid, not just for post-COVID life, but for most circumstances we have to face. Our deliberate attention and planning are needed. Things won’t get better by just wishing they would. Today is the day to do it. “Throw your hands up and let me hear the party say: This is how we do it.”
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