Our collective world has been shaken into a new reality. The COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic has delivered a ‘once in a lifetime’ event and we, the people, are finding ourselves responding to something we have not prepared, studied for, nor have ever experienced. Not even our parents can give us guidance, advice, or offer sage wisdom, as this is new in their lives also.
The sentiments I hear most often through conversations and social media, is a list of things people are going to do when ‘things return to normal’.
It took me a while to catch on. It is a common response to believe that an event, any event, will eventually fade. A return to the way things were is the hope people pin their future on.
As a Life Transition Coach, I want to remind us that experiences don’t deliver us back to the place we were at before the events occurred. If you have ever lost a loved one, you know that the journey through grief takes you to new horizons of knowing, an awakening of spirituality, learning to deal with and accept loss, developing a new relationship with self, and a new relationship with mortality. That is a sacred personal process.
This event however is collective, systemic and pervasive. We have all been thrown in it together at the same time and space. Exactly like a virulent disease that moves through systems, our material world of commerce, business, services, how we navigate, pay for and borrow are also infected. This is creating an echo that will most likely reverberate through the millennia, and in some ways, perhaps from here to our own eternities. This pivot, like any formidable disaster, will shake up old familiar and comfortable ways, or even demolish the institutions we have relied on for our security and stability. The collective question becomes for the one and for all: ‘What about me?’ and ‘What do I do?’ In order to effectively navigate these times with so many unknowns, it is essential to develop a Creator mentality. The Creator orientation offers us internal power and mastery, and prevents us from falling into Victim mode. A victim is powerless and looks for others to provide answers. A Creator uses creativity, ingenuity, and love as a guidepost instead of fear.
What I teach coaching clients and have adopted as a discipline for myself is this protocol when in transition:
- Stay in the moment
- Stay awake and alert
- Become curious
- Exercise thinking ‘Outside the Box’
- Manage your destructive habits
What does that look like in practical terms? If you have lost your job, and if so, you are not alone, research new ways to create an income for yourself. If you were or are in business for yourself, know there will be new services in place for displaced business owners. Small Business loans, credit cards, lines of credit are available if appropriate. Ask yourself if there is another way to do business currently. I was engaging in full on networking for a new service I had just launched in January, when networking events abruptly came to a screeching halt. Every gathering was cancelled into the unknown future. I shifted to digital marketing, and am working on the book I didn’t have time for before we were sent in isolation to our homes.
In an instant priorities can change. Work on flexibility and remain open to new ideas. Instead of getting stuck ruminating about all of the things you cannot do, open up the horizon of imagination and wonder what you can do now. It is the now we have power over.
At this time when we are cloistered and unable to distract ourselves outside the home, it is the perfect time to take stock of our habits. We all have habits we enjoy for pleasure, use as distractions to numb our feelings, to keep from processing our emotions, or to push away pain. For some it is food, others it might be shopping, and many engage in substances to hide from harsh reality. This is a time for self- reflection, self-awareness, and to become an observer of your behavior, your triggers, and to begin to understand your emotional landscape. It is the perfect time to develop mastery of your habits before they begin to run your life.
While I was fixated on the reality that my daily habit was abruptly taken away when my gym closed, I was not open to exercising a new way. I was clearly stuck in Victim mentality. As I stepped into Creator role, I became curious about how I could work out differently. I found online exercise programs and began to run and walk outdoors, which is an overall healthier environment. Connecting with nature lifted my spirits. This is each of our personal as well as a colossal collective Heroes Journey. You are the pioneer in a new frontier. Be brave, and reach out for help when stuck.
Please note: this article was originally published on Elephant Journal, you can view it right here.