Part 1 of 2
by Marcia Elder, CEO, CPI Consulting
Thanks to the coronavirus, big changes are underway in how millions of people across the globe live their daily lives. One of those changes involves the need to stay at home in order to combat the virus.
As the saying goes, “people hate change” -- or at least, many if not most people feel uncomfortable with it and resist it.
But while the cause of this particular change is a terrible one, the change itself doesn’t have to be negative and, in fact, can have some very valuable benefits.
For some -- those who are ill, those who have lost their jobs, those who have demanding child care duties while working at home and other specific circumstances -- the challenges can be much greater than dealing with the need to work from home or "shelter in place". But even in the most trying of times, there can be something good and valuable underneath the surface, if we look for it -- even if it is discovering our own strengths.
This two-part article focuses on the positive, providing a range of ideas and perspectives that others can no doubt benefit from as we all go through the coronavirus pandemic together. It includes a combination of things we can do and approaches we can take to gain the good from this experience while doing all we can to reduce the bad.
As a further note on the good: “Silver Linings Playbook” was one of my favorite movies, despite its dark side -- because I’ve long been a believer in the silver lining benefits of bad situations. See what you can do with the following.
Sometimes stating the obvious is helpful and informative, so here goes …
On a personal level first: catching up on things we’re behind on is an obvious benefit of unexpectedly having time at home -- laundry, spring cleaning, paperwork, taxes, financial reviews, reading, etc. So is doing some nice and nurturing things for ourselves and others that we may have neglected due to being "too busy".
Saving the time of not having to dress for and drive to and from a place of employment is another, along with the costs of transportation. So is the option of working in one’s PJs or other casual attire and even skipping a shower once in a while if we feel like it -- not to mention makeup and shaves!
Add to the list the ability to fix a healthy lunch rather than running out for fast food and the ability to take periodic short breaks in what, hopefully, is a supportive environment.
If you live with family or others, there’s also the opportunity to be together more, in a positive way -- provided that good communications are in place that allow those working from home to get their work done (and good communications of other varieties, along with perhaps some ground rules so that everyone comes out in good shape rather than strangling each other!).
Some examples under the work at home scenario: also catching up on things that there hasn’t been time to do but that are important -- data backups, file maintenance, correspondence, research, reading, professional development opportunities, following up on leads that have been on the back burner, developing ideas for the business that there hasn’t been time to think through, and so on.
For those who have lost their jobs and are now at home, the focus may need to be on evaluating their skills, developing strategies for landing a new job, thinking through the kinds of jobs they would want and identifying those to apply for.
Think about other examples that fall in this category of somewhat (or not so) obvious benefits.
Ask good questions
Under the category of approaches for successfully being at home round-the-clock: purposefully asking good and empowering questions is seemingly a simple task but is one that people simply don’t do. Yet it can make a profound difference in the outcomes that we experience in our lives.
When we’re confronted with negative situations, people, thoughts and feelings, we can immediately turn the tide of negativity away by asking ourselves (and sometimes others) productive and empowering questions.
In the case of “having to work/stay at home” some good questions could include: How can this be a good thing – or even a great thing? What can I learn from this experience? How can I become better as a result of it? What can I enjoy in the process? How can I support others? How can I work even better than at my normal job site? How can I demonstrate this to others? How can I help make the process easier and more enjoyable for those I live and work with?
Knowing that our brains will deliver answers when we put the questions out there, what questions would be good for you to ask yourself? And note that the phrasing of questions is crucial, by focusing them on the positive – not things like, why am I stuck doing this -- or why did this have to happen to me?! Negatively-framed questions produce negative results.
As a fundamental that affects who and how we are at work as well as in general: Our lives are so busy that it’s easy to lose ourselves in the process of attempting to keep up with it all. Having time at home can provide for invaluable reflection -- on who we are, what we want in our lives, and what’s the purpose of our lives, in general and in specific roles. Also asking ourselves, what do we stand for – and what standards do we live by? Plus who and how do we want to be? – and what are we committed to do in order to achieve that? Giving ourselves the gift of such introspection can be worth its weight in gold.
Visualize positive outcomes
Wayne Dyer’s book, “Believing Is Seeing” comes to mind here. Vividly imagining something positive and focusing on it can have major bearing on actually achieving it. That’s true with the events of our lives as well as the feelings that we experience. Something else that we can take the time to do as part of our home-bound assignment.
At age 35 I suddenly got the Chicken Pox of all things! The doctor said I would be miserable. I said No I wouldn’t -- and I got to work on quickly devising my strategy which included this very step of visualization. It worked and I was back to work feeling good in short order. Best of all, the approach I came up with stamped out the experience of itching, which he said would be quite intense.
My experience with Firewalking (as a Trainer for many years with Anthony Robbins seminars) is another great example. If you look down at the red hot burning coals you will burn in a heartbeat. If you look up and imagine a compelling positive outcome you won’t even know you walked over fire until it’s all over with and you’re celebrating … following which, chances are, you materialize the desired outcome.
Whether in work, relationships, sports or other aspects of our lives, this technique really works – and it can become habit-forming!
Become a better worker
For those who don’t like the idea of working from home, doing so can build your flexibility muscles -- your willingness and ability to do things you don’t necessarily want to do, but CAN -- even if you don't yet think so.
Working at home involves learning new ways of doing things -- ways of communicating with employers, clients, customers and others; ways of using technology; ways of completing projects; ways of being efficient and productive; ways of being accountable for one’s work. Show your employer (or, if that’s you, show yourself!) that you can do it. Think about what skills are required in order for you to be successful and aim to cultivate them.
“Model what works”, to borrow a phrase from Tony Robbins -- meaning to observe or talk with someone who has done it successfully, find out how they’ve done so, and replicate approaches that make sense for you.
Share positive stories
While there are those out there who are hoarders (at the expense of others), fear mongers and greed-ridden, there are so many more stories of people doing good things … people helping people as well as animals (who don’t know what’s happening and why everyone is so hurried and stressed).
Enough good things cannot be said about the medical personnel, first responders, grocery store employees, truckers/shippers, postal carriers and others who are working to ensure that important needs of the masses are met. Many of them are risking their own health in order to be there for the rest of us. So many extraordinary stories of selflessness, determination, courage and generosity.
Sharing the stories of healthcare workers can have the dual effect of inspiring donations of badly needed equipment and supplies for hospitals and other medical units. Check out the pleas online for help.
There also are inspiring stories about those who are contributing to others through their own creativity -- such as churches holding online services. performing artists hosting digital concerts and museums offering free virtual tours as a way of supporting people in staying home and avoiding crowds. Watching for creative examples may also lead to some that could help your place of employment and be something positive to share there.
Resolve to prevail
Most people have far more ability than they ever tap in a lifetime. Being challenged to reach deeper can be eye-opening and life changing. Now is the time to reach.
Both resolve and perspective are also reflected in a letter that the CEO from a Tallahassee, Florida bank put out, including the following excerpt:
“And to our clients, as uncertain as the coming weeks and months may seem, I hope it helps to remember Capital City Bank has endured the Great Depression, two World Wars, the Great Recession and many challenges in between. While each challenge has had transformative effects on our communities, economies and industry, we are still here. Together. I am confident we will emerge from this pandemic changed, but not broken, because together we are strong.”
These three resources can’t be beat!
1. Coaching services are available for employers and employees on how to implement work at home initiatives. Click HERE for details! No Slots Currently Available. Contact us for referrals through Contact box above.
2. Listening to self hypnotic recordings that bolster the subconscious mind can have a HUGE positive effect in combating stress, reducing fears, increasing confidence, helping with sleep, promoting good health and fostering other positive changes. We swear by this product and have found it to be phenomenal! Check it out HERE.
3. Playing the Ungame is a terrific way to learn about self and others, bond with family, strengthen one-on-one relationships, support children and teens in time of uncertainty, and a whole lot more. We’ve used this game for many years and can’t say enough good things about it. You can get yours HERE.
I hope that the above thoughts and ideas are helpful for you, and lead to still others on your part. We can indeed get through this, as we MUST.
© March 21, 2020, Marcia Elder, CPI Consulting
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