When we were told that one day we would need to learn to ride our own boats through a storm, I don’t think any of us quite saw what was coming.
Every morning with the flicker of the news and newsfeed, I wait to rush to the breakfast table just to make sure the household is healthy and safe. And as I scroll through my morning whatsapps, I feel myself saying a small prayer hoping things are well. And the days they are, I feel a sigh of relief and gratitude.
With every wave of this pandemic journey, each one us is getting even more challenged, above and beyond our comfort zones.
Conversations around vaccines, medicines, tests, antigens, oxygen and IgG antibodies have become so commonplace that it has enabled a new vocabulary to develop among all of us.
And then by the time we pour our morning coffee, despite all that is going on around us, we have to don a new hat and get on with our work and life.
As a leadership and performance coach, I see a number of my clients trying to balance all of these dimensions at this time, while maintaining a semblance of normalcy at the surface.
How do they shrug off the demands of their immediate environment, while staying focused at work? How do they find that inner inspiration to go on, despite everything? How do they find that inner strength and mental agility to overcome their and their family’s difficulties at this time? And how do they motivate themselves and their teams amidst the chaos and the sadness, while being supportive, empathetic and achieving results?
For some this leads to feelings of stress and anxiety, for others a form of disconnect or detachment, for some a sense of demotivation or “languishing” and for others it manifests itself in sadness, guilt, worry, helplessness, frustration and constant over-thinking. And all of this while continuing to power through.
As we navigate this pressure to be normal while dealing with our various forms of emotional turmoil a layer beneath, how do we focus on what we can control to be able to build that endurance that will allow us to achieve some success at this time?
In a world of social distancing and being masked six feet apart, as we try to find a few wins, one of our frameworks for clients is to encourage them to K.I.S.S For Success: Keep Motivated, Improve Time Management and Stress Management, while Staying Present.
Through this K.I.S.S framework, we work with clients on the following:
Keeping Motivated: The first step to staying motivated is to look within. We often attach motivation to external items or big achievements or celebrations and get disappointed if they do not reach fruition. In a challenging world, it becomes imperative to consciously dig deep to find that inner fire. To do something in a day that we enjoy, to take moment and be a little playful, to share a laugh with our friends, family or children despite everything else. It is important to give ourselves the permission to celebrate the little things and to live.
Improve Time Management: In this world of intense and non-stop zoom meetings, slammed calendars and long hours, it is essential to take a step back from the daily transaction and prioritize. It is important to commit to time chunks weekly or monthly for different areas of work and life. It is also essential to reflect on where you are losing time- is it in long meetings without agendas, or poor boundaries, or caving into the feeling of FOMO to be included in everything? Remember, you need to give time to make time.
Stress Management: In a difficult environment it is crucial to remind ourselves to focus on what we can control to be able to stay balanced and motivated. As we move from transaction to transaction, we often forget to throw in some banter as we prioritize the relationship and ourselves. It is particularly relevant to take breaks throughout the day in between zooms, to cut down the exposure to the news, to stay healthy with some exercise and breathing, to allow that sneaky cookie or order in that favourite snack or have a little self-care. And to invest in those relationships within our home or with others.
Stay Present: At a time like this there is a tendency to constantly focus on what is going to happen or dwell on everything that has happened. Converting those feelings of stress and worry into something productive is important to ensure that you are staying present to give each moment its due. For some that may mean scheduling worry times and for others it may mean putting an action item behind a thought or otherwise developing a ritual to let it go. Remember, the more you indulge in these thoughts the less available you are to enjoy and appreciate each moment as it happens.
So what commitment will you make today to K.I.S.S that Success in your work and life?