This is being written on March 24. When you think back to March 1, it’s amazing how much has changed in just 24 days. Virtually all of the counties our Family of Companies operate in have a “stay at home” order of some kind. Even if you are still able to go into work, life in general is slowing down because there’s less you can do outside of work.
And, while this can be a source for frustration, disappointment, and dismay (which are all valid reactions), you can also re-frame it as a chance to grow by turning your mindset into your most valuable asset, not only to get through Coronavirus but also through whatever the future throws at you.
Look Back to Move Forward
One of the great benefits of reading about historical events is that by knowing what happened, when, and why, we can hopefully find our way to a better future. The same is true for your own mindset. If you don’t know where you’ve been, how can you best determine where you’re heading, if this fits with your long-term goals and core values, and if you need to correct your course by changing your thinking and or actions? With the frenetic schedule most of us have (or should I say, had?), it can be easy to fly through one day and move right into the next, rarely pausing for thought.
This transitional time that you now find yourself in gives you the chance to downshift from go mode to slow mode. Author Carl Honoré writes, “The great benefit of slowing down is reclaiming the time and tranquility to make meaningful connections – with people, with culture, with work, with nature, with our own bodies and minds.”
Focusing on that last word is important. Today, set aside just five minutes to look back at your last year.
- When did you perform at your best and how did it feel?
- What was holding you back from being the best version of yourself?
- What’s a lesson you learned that you can apply moving forward?
Then pair reflection with gratitude and give thanks for the experiences you got to share with your co-workers and family, for your health, and for anything else that comes to mind that’s positive. Then commit to doing the same thing tomorrow and the next day. Calendar it if you have to. Soon, you’ll have created a new mindset habit that will serve you well not only in the short term, but also for years to come.
Be Brilliant with the Basics
In athletics, some players get cool nicknames, like Michael “Air” Jordan. Others aren’t so lucky, like Tim “The Big Fundamental” Duncan. But the latter was called this because he came into the NBA more pro-ready than any other draft pick in history, and proved to be a model of consistent excellence as he won five NBA championships, two MVP awards, and had 15 All-Star Game appearances during a Hall of Fame career. So often, athletes (and non-athletes) get mired in complexity that they forget the vital importance of nailing the basics that lead to long-term success.
This slow down that our nation is going through is gifting you the chance to dial in not only on your mental fitness, but also the basics like physical healthy, mobility, nutrition and sleep. Seize it with both hands!
Team Up for Support
Keeping the rest of the world at arm’s length is understandable right now, and even desirable if you have certain coronavirus symptoms or a condition that compromises your immune system. But the danger is that self-isolating and social distancing might lead to true loneliness, which is never a good thing. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, make it a priority to reach out to your supervisor and/or co-workers every day. This could be as simple as sending a message through Teams or text to ask, “How are you feeling today?” or “What are you doing to break out of the monotony of sitting at your computer all day?” Don’t be hesitant to ask for emotional support, and freely offer it to others.
Build Solid Habits
I get it…this the life we were living came to a screeching halt and a lot of things are being missed. That’s a huge bummer. When things are put on pause or come to an end, it’s difficult. But, you can also consider it a new beginning. When things are busy, it’s hard to make changes. This whole slow-down period can allow you to develop a new mindset and habits that weren’t possible before.
You have the opportunity is a change your structure. Maybe you complained about your old schedule because it kept you on the run and too busy. But, now it’s all gone. To prevent drifting into bad habits, I suggest a simple, three-step protocol that many people use to push through tough times and come out stronger and more resilient on the other side:
- Talk about your challenges
- Get the facts
- Develop and execute a plan
This isn’t a one-time deal. Instead, throughout the Conronavirus disruption, you might cycle through these three steps several times. The point is that to get a worthwhile destination, you need directions and a map to guide you. If you just resolve to fly by the seat of your pants, eventually you will crash. So, even if you don’t consider yourself to be an organized person, take a few minutes each evening to plan out the next day. Then stick to this schedule as closely as you can. You will feel purposeful and will accumulate at least one small win each and every day. As part of this strategy, ask yourself in the morning how you’re going to be successful today, and then in the evening, consider how you were successful. This way, you’ve established a framework for both intentionality and self-accountability.
Choose to Be Intentional Every Day
Consider how you will want to reflect on this time in a few years. Do you want to think back and question why you let your mentality slide? Or would you rather take pride that you did your absolute best to grow, develop, and progress, in spite of the obstacles that were placed in your way? Eventually you will return to “normal life.” The only person who can choose if you return more physically ready and mentally prepared than before is you. Go for it!