No doubt about it. The coronavirus has impacted us all! With more cities sheltering in place, life as we knew it is changing rapidly. Our health and our finances are likely top of mind. The pandemic is bringing industries to a screeching halt, negatively impacting the economy, evoking fear in the general public and forcing students to embrace homeschooling. Is it even possible to thrive during these uncertain times?
I realize the word thrive might not be in some people’s vocabulary during this time. Some of us are in survival mode! Concern for loved ones is high and medical professionals are in demand and working in less than desirable conditions (thank you!). Parents are struggling with balancing between home schooling and working virtually and some are focused on replacing income after suffering layoffs or cut-backs. I am not glossing over the hardships many people are facing during this time. I am, however, deeply passionate about helping people maximize their potential and achieve their definitions of success. During this time, I feel compelled to share content geared towards making a positive impact. Some of my advice might be helpful, some not. Take what works and leave the rest!
If you are open to thriving during this time, or anytime when experiencing major changes, read below for my top 10 tips to thrive when change is the new normal.
“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.”Brian Tracy
- Control Your Mindset – Change creates uncertainty and reminds you that you can’t always control what happens. Shifting to a positive or achievement mindset is a journey no matter the external influences. You can set yourself up for success by minimizing your exposure to negativity. How much time are you spending on social media and what is the source of the articles you are reading? It’s one thing to be informed on the current situation, but it can be destructive spending hours reading every shared opinion article. Follow people who motivate and inspire on social, read books to grow your mind and practice gratitude daily.
- Learn A New Skill – This weekend we completed a 1,000 piece puzzle. I don’t remember ever completing a 1,000 piece puzzle and probably would have not considered this activity if not for social distancing. I had to tap into my problem solving skills, organizational skills, team work skills with a nearly six-year-old partner and patience to complete this project. Now is the time to try that new fitness class. Many fitness instructors or studios are offering virtual classes. Some universities are even opening up online courses. I connected with a friend last week who is in the beauty industry and can’t see clients right now. She is choosing to respond to the situation by taking the time to build her skillset.
- Find The Opportunity – Aside from school and work, most of us have less commitments today than we did at the start of the month. With our weekends and evenings clear from in-person social engagements we have the space to innovate and create. Is now the time to start the business you have been dreaming about? If your business can’t launch right now, can you draft the plan? How can you think about serving your clients differently? People who thrive during change adapt quickly.
- Do Something Productive Each Day – It might be tempting to binge watch every Netflix series, but that probably won’t help you reach your goals. I get that during times of uncertainty we might need to relax a bit more than usual, but I don’t recommend letting these days pass without making progress in the productivity department. Small daily achievements build confidence and momentum towards bigger goals. That book that has been collecting dust on your nightstand might spark a new idea. Use this time to be poised to be in a position of strength.
- Focus On Can Not Can’t – Right now, a lot of us are forced to work differently and think differently. An example of can vs can’t thinking is the restaurants that pivoted from cooking and serving guests to packaging ingredients and selling their goods for guests to cook at home. My friends in the fitness industry are offering virtual training sessions and classes. What can you offer virtually? How can you pivot? What new relationships can you build? Now is not the time to give up on your goals but to focus on what you can do to adjust your strategies.
- Progress Not Perfection – This is one of my coaching mantras, but I think it is especially relevant during times of change. There are so many unknown variables right now that striving for perfection does not align with the situation. I spoke with a client last week who was feeling guilty because she was struggling to adhere to her ideal calendar. What’s important to remember is that she created her ideal calendar in a totally different situation. When she outlined her calendar she was not working from home with her husband and children. Focusing on progress gives us a sense of control during ever-changing times.
- Give Yourself Grace – Change requires us to adapt our routines and behaviors. My husband is working from home and my daughter is learning from home. Our two bedroom LA apartment is now work, school, home and the gym. It is feeling smaller and smaller by the day. Frustration levels might increase. If I snap it doesn’t mean I love my family any less. Screen time might increase as we all adjust to managing new tasks and that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about my daughter’s development. Some nights dinner might be Mac ‘n cheese from a blue box but that doesn’t mean I no longer care about eating healthy.
- Increase Communication – There are two parts to this tip. 1. Increase communication with those in your household. Given the living situation I described above it’s important that I discuss schedules with my husband so we can juggle the use of the quiet rooms for work. If I am feeling frustrated I have to tell him before I get snippy. I can’t read his mind and I can’t expect him to read mine. Pretending to be “fine” won’t serve either one of us. (Note…this is a work in progress and I don’t have this nailed down perfectly. Tip #7 applies.) 2. Increase communication with friends and family. Social distancing does not mean social disconnecting. Virtual coffee meetings, virtual happy hours, longer phone conversations and face time dates are all positives coming out of this situation. The “I’m too busy!” excuse has been eliminated for some of us so we can repurpose our time to strengthening our relationships.
- Implement A Bounce Back Plan – Life is hard, change is hard, achieving goals is hard. Given the unprecedented times we are experiencing many of these things are even harder. I am not a psychologist so I am treading lightly on advice around emotions. In my experience, people who thrive throughout change don’t dismiss what they are feeling and they have a plan to move forward. They don’t get stuck in the negativity spiral of fear, disappointment, frustration, etc. A bounce back plan is different for everyone so it could be a song that signals the end of your bad mood, a workout that stimulates thinking or a friend you call to game plan strategies to move forward.
- Expect A New Normal – A lot of us are probably hoping and wishing for life to get back to normal. You can spend a lot of mental energy wishing for things to go back to the way they were. Or…you can stay focused on the present as the new normal starts to unfold. The very word change implies different. People who thrive through change grow through change.
What will we all learn from this situation? I believe one lesson is that we are reminded of what truly matters. Our health, our family, our friends. Aside from feeling a bit stir crazy from not visiting a public place since last Thursday, I feel a sense of clarity and freedom. My mind is not working overtime coordinating unnecessary details and logistics for social events and commitments. I can focus on serving my clients, serving my family and serving myself.