Over the past three months, our world has changed like never before. We’ve found ourselves wearing masks and gloves, washing groceries, and valuing common household items such as toilet paper in an unprecedented fashion. Truly, the COVID-19 global pandemic has altered our day-to-day in profound ways and we’ve had to adjust our routines. As many areas are beginning to loosen restrictions and businesses are starting to open up, we thought it would be wise to outline some guideposts to help orient your thinking as you get ready for reentry. You may be stepping back into your work environment and it will present a new reality for your family or team. These questions and tools will help you resume your business without resuming business as usual.
Take a survey of your life and ask, what do you want to retain? There were things that were part of your life before COVID-19 that you’ve come to realize are critical. These are the practices and routines that you want to keep in your life moving forward even if they have to look different. For some of us, it is exercise. Without access to the gym, we might have built a personal gym area or bought home workout items in order to keep that practice going. Perhaps it’s our morning reading and devotion time. Because days can start earlier virtually, then we may have to wake up earlier to ensure we get the time. The key is that our brains recognize this global pandemic for the trauma that it is and it’s experienced through extreme bouts of helplessness. Sticking to a schedule and enforcing our routines provide a feeling of control that can ground us in times of uncertainty. Our brains desire structure and pinpointing what you want to hold on to will help you develop it.
What do you want to reinforce? To what strategies or courses of action would you like to strengthen your commitment? You may have gained perspective that you never had before as a result of the circumstances. There may be things that you neglected or weren’t part of your life altogether, but have become routine in this pandemic reality and you’d like to commit to them moving forward. It could be taking more walks, having traditional family meals or prioritizing your health through exercise and proper eating. It could be facetiming with family members on a regular basis or videoconferencing with your team with the expectation that the video will be activated so you all can see one another. Perhaps it’s being more transparent by showing the work in progress and admitting what you don’t know to your family or team while you figure it out. Finally, it could just be communication in general. If you don’t double-down on communication, then uncertainty will double-down on you. Make a point to converse with your team and family on a consistent basis, informing and encouraging them, so that everyone stays on the same page.
What do you want to release? When COVID hit, many of us had to suspend our plans and eventually rebuild from scratch. Life, as we knew it, was gone. In this moment, we discovered that some things weren’t critical and experienced the freedom to pivot in ways we thought impossible before. There are things we were forced to cut off and don’t want to pick them up as we reenter. It could be long commutes or long, unproductive meetings. Virtual meetings have created a more focused and clear meeting cadence that you might wish to retain. It could be hectic or jam-packed days with little wiggle-room or margin. Make a conscious effort to spread your to-do list out over the week in a better way. Maybe it’s letting go of the idea that you have to do it all by yourself and inviting others to share the load. Or finally, it might be just giving yourself permission to change more often. We had the ability to pivot BEFORE the global pandemic, but this unprecedented circumstance has created the opportunity to better clarify our focus. Don’t lose sight of that feeling moving forward.
These questions centering around retaining, reinforcing, and releasing, are meant to serve as personal reflections. However, we don’t believe it’s enough to reflect. We must act as well. We have to reengineer our mindset for what’s ahead in order to be successful.
Here’s 3 key action items to leverage your personal reflections to help power you into your plan of reentry:
Acknowledge Your Reality
If we ever expect to move forward, then we have to acknowledge where we are right now. It’s okay to take stock of our current realities for what they are. Schedules are out of whack, routines have been thrown into disarray and a sense of normalcy might be hard to come by. Whether it’s thinking about homeschooling children virtually for the first time or making a meal from depleted grocery store inventory, we are dealing with complex and interconnected business, family, health, and economic-related realities. What areas of your life are being exposed as needing attention by the current state of factors? Do you have a will? Have you met with an estate planning attorney? Are there certain areas of your life that need to be shored up? Acknowledging your reality is the first step taken to move on.
Determine Your Resolve
You may be asking yourself, “How can I be resolute when I’m acknowledging a reality marked by uncertainty?” It may feel contradictory, but the key lies in your willingness to be creative, resourceful, and inventive. You must resolve to get to the other side by shifting your mindset. Make the determination that you’re going to come out of this situation better off than how you entered. The reality is that we have to plan for multiple scenarios because we’re living with way more uncertainty than ever before. We do not have the option to live completely in the moment, because if we do, we’ll be unprepared for what’s coming. We must look out for 90 days, but plan for the next 30 days. We must operate in both realms and reserve the right to tweak our plans accordingly. We understand why you might feel compelled to hold off on resolving on doing anything, but we know there’s power in making decisions. You may even decide to pick and choose which decisions you’re making now as opposed to down the line. However you decide to approach it, you must do it with thoughtfulness and intentionality.
Leverage Your Relationships
If you want to know how, then you have to find the ‘who’. Who in your life do you have a relationship with that can help you navigate the times ahead? It may be that these people assist in the form of providing accountability. Find people that can help you assess and evaluate your plan and next steps. It may be a social network. It’s why we created the MNTR network. Who is your community of business relationships that you can call upon for answers? It’s vitally important and somewhat easier to make connections in our now virtually-connected world. There’s no longer a stigma attached to a virtual meeting and people appreciate being sought after for their value and insight. Even if you’re in need of greater relationships, then you can use this time to build your network. Find people that you’ve worked with in the past and send them a note of gratitude. Let them know that you appreciate them and establish a rapport. It’s a great time to open up the lines of communication and begin constructing a robust network that can help you now and in the future.
Patience is required when we find ourselves in an unpleasant place at an unpleasant pace. These last few weeks have been unpleasant for so many of us. Give yourself some patience and let’s not waste this moment. Just because we’re reentering the life we knew doesn’t mean we have to live the same life. Let’s take it up a notch and turn this challenge into an opportunity for greatness!