Adapting to the new norm feels like a more loaded question than first considered. What does normal look like when the whole world seems to have come to a halt and hung a CLOSED for business sign on the door for many? The sudden quiet in everyday life has, for most of us, meant that we spend more time reflecting rather than acting. It’s week three, so I thought to share three key themes that have been recurring for me over the last while:
Gratitude has become a daily, sustaining practice. I am grateful to be working for a business that has realised, some time ago already, that the only way to do business sustainably is to enable everyone, as far as possible, to do their best remotely. That the value of contribution is qualitative output – not quantitative, confined production. When we all started working from home, I was especially grateful that I had the basics of good work-family separation practices in place, and of course, the technological support to enable this. Grateful for space. Grateful for the safety of the people I share it with. Grateful that I can count on a weekly check-in call with the best girlfriends, and grateful that I am in a position to support those around me that have far greater needs than my own. And especially grateful for my husband’s cooking skills!
Empathy is the most crucial currency we can deal in. This sounded very ‘airy-fairy’ to some before this crisis hit, but if you were ever in doubt, we are reminded again how incredibly interconnected our world is. Acting with our clients’ best interest at heart has been the status quo for many of the financial planners I work with, but this extends to suppliers too. ‘Corporate karma’ matters, and will be even more defining for business’ in the future. We really are all neighbours. The human condition all suffers in the same way – despite gender, race, religion or social status. That doesn’t mean that some of us aren’t more vulnerable than others; it means that we truly cannot thrive without looking after each other. And that extends to ourselves too! One of the best pieces of advice I had over the last three weeks was a reminder that ‘we are not working from home, we are home during a global crisis trying to do some work’. It is so important now to keep looking after yourself to be able to look after others. Extend that kindness to yourself – keep doing the breathing, home yoga, or time-out; you need it too!
Control is a myth! Anyone familiar with the Enneagram 8 will know what a complete panic attack this can cause on a daily basis. Working from home is mostly an oxymoron with a four-year-old at home that seems to operate on a schedule entirely spontaneously developing from whatever I had planned! Importantly though, it’s best not to imagine the future when you’re feeling anxious. Humbly, I’m learning to focus on one day at a time – and in that way build the habits and foundations I’m certain will still be valuable in the future, regardless of what that normal looks like from the outside.