I greet you in this time of Pandemic and hope you and your family are okay.
It took time to write this down. Each day has brought a new challenge, a new reality, something more I had to adjust to or learn from and I have felt overwhelmed and swamped. At the same time the airwaves have been flooded by cheerleaders telling all of us that we are supposed to grab this opportunity, grow and thrive.
How are you doing?
What have you lost?
How does this make you feel?
It is okay to feel, that is our super-human strength.
By embracing, naming and owning our feelings (not necessarily acting on them, just holding them) we are able to be grounded in the here and now, allowing us to live through this moment in time. To be able to empathize, connect with others through shared emotions and experiences and to work through our experiences. Your memories are attached to your emotions, you remember something from how it made you feel and the more you felt in that moment, the greater your clarity of detail as you remember.
Don’t be afraid to feel.
Emotions do not speak or highlight truth, they just are, what you are feeling.
For example, I could feel anger and get defensive, acting on my anger, but what I am actually feeling is shame or guilt caused by my inability to control what is happening or from my fear that I will not be able to pay you at the end of the month.
It is also okay to mourn.
The world has just shifted rapidly, moving at great speed to the ‘somewhere’ you haven’t been before. We are standing on fragile ground that cracks and moves, just like the staircases at Hogwarts in Harry Potter we are not sure where we will end up.
In my March ‘The Human Leader Podcast’, Episode 13, I spoke to Ryan Falkenberg from CLEVVA on the future of leadership and the future of work. He described a possible way the world of work would look in the future, I challenged him that some would call his vision Utopian and I wondered how the world would shift to this paradigm.
Then the pandemic happened in a big way in the world and I realized that this is how we shift.
What we are living in, is our present reality, making a gigantic shift towards a new reality that we have not experienced before. As my latest podcast guest, Celeste Blackman from the Green Zone Culture expresses, we need to prepare for the future, we cannot plan for it, only prepare ourselves to be able to flow with the changes that come our way. Listen to this in Episode 14, she is incredibly calming and talks about trust and collaboration. I enjoyed recording it and listening to her wisdom, I think you will too.
On Saturday night, my family re-watched ‘The Croods’. For those of you who have never watched it, or have not seen it in a while, it is a great film that is creative and beautiful. It tells the story of a cave-man family who has lived their lives protected in a cave. They only go out for coordinated hunting/scavenging expeditions looking for food and go right back into the cave. Due to the continental drift, the breaking apart of the land to create the different continents, a factor they have no control over, their cave is destroyed. Through its destruction, they have to make a choice of finding a new cave or moving through places they have never been before. Each member of the family has to come to terms with this new reality and to learn to adapt as their environment shifts. Each one has to come to terms with the loss of what they have always known and have to choose to adapt to the new experiences that come their way.
Through this time, they learn new skills, new ways of hunting and a new way of existence that allow them to live into the future in a healthier, wiser way (and therefore survive for the next thousand years). In the beginning they have no choice as they are thrust into a new, scary world but later they have to make the choice to return to living in a cave and be safe or to live outside in the unknown and explore a whole new world they hadn’t known existed. There is still risk, but they are willing to accept this risk, to hold onto uncertainty as they innovate and learn new things. They also learn the importance and benefits of having pets, but that is a something to discuss on another day.
You are a human being who has learnt and adapted through thousands of years. It is through your ability to collaborate and build relationships and care for one another that collectively you came through from cave men to modern day man with his 5G internet and on-line meetings. You have the ability inside of yourself to scan the horizon, to critically think about and to sift through all the information you have been given in order to adapt to this new way of being.
On Wednesday evening, I spoke to a group of dentists via Zoom, giving them words of encouragement and motivation, I got some great feedback that what I had to say to them was helpful and beneficial. Often, we just need someone to encourage us, then we know we are not alone and can keep going with determination and courage.
Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback church in the US, has described 7 phases we go through in a crisis. They are:
- Delayed Acceptance
Which phase are you in right now?
It is okay to be at the beginning, very few people are at the end, we still have a long road ahead of us.
I want you to look at that list again.
Can you see that getting through this is a process? That just like the stages of grief we all go through in times of loss (this present day can be described as a time of loss), you have to walk through and work through each stage?
Perhaps your defiance was small, perhaps it was just going out for a run or maybe it was bigger like demonstrating in the street. ‘
It is okay.
Acknowledge it to yourself.
Hold onto where you are and when you are ready, step forward one step. Each step you take will get you further along this road.
Just like the Crood family, through loss there comes new opportunity and through letting go of what was, you can take hold of what is coming.
As an executive coach, I see my role as a support for you as you live through this uncertain time.
You can find me on Vuselela Davis Coach and my podcast, ‘The Human Leader podcast’.