Are you part of the Great Resignation we’re all reading about as if it’s a new pandemic? Maybe you are noticing that infrastructure has new meaning for you. Your internal infrastructure wants to reimagine your daily life experience to liberate your energy, joy, and enthusiasm for being alive. I know imposed change comes with a great deal of struggle for many. And, change from personal choice through an internal wellspring of certainty about what is most respectful and honoring is another matter entirely.
The American Medical Journal just reported that since April of 2020, about 40 percent of US
adults said symptoms of depression and anxiety, up from 11 percent in the previous year. The
mental health toll from the coronavirus pandemic has heightened our awareness of what most
matters in our life. Whether you lost a loved one, nursed a loved one through to recovery, or
lost a job because your employer closed. You may have experienced housing and food
insecurity or felt the overwhelming feeling from our entire society suffering at once.
Escaping from the impact of this time in our history is not possible.
If you are like most people I’ve spoken with over the year, someone in your life said, “be resilient,” meaning, use your grit to withstand this time and hurry up, recover quickly. Were you wondering if they were giving themselves advice? Yes, at least partially. Human beings spring back from adversity in ways that are unique to their history and circumstances. That means one idea, instruction, or form of support does not fit everyone. Well-meaning, compassionate people in your life want you to feel better and be better so they can stop thinking, worrying, and feeling helpless for and with you. That’s normal and makes us and them weary with the daily burden of finding our way from pandemic stress toward post-pandemic something different.
I remember as a young girl making a shield with a tiny pinhole to view a solar eclipse. The returning light was too bright to see it directly, and yet seeing it, we had to do it! The tiny pinhole was enough to stimulate wonder, amazement, excitement, and a sense of possibility - so much bigger than I’d ever imagined! That experience is a metaphor for what I feel in this moment. The pandemic’s grip is the brilliant light of the solar eclipse occurring everywhere to everyone, and it’s simply too much to absorb all at once. The silver lining in isolation was that I had more time to hear myself think. I let my heart feel and lead me to question my choices. I began noticing my motivation more clear-eyed than my over-scheduled life usually permits.
Reflect on your experience of this time in history. What has been your perception of the experience? Be specific in your exploration to surface the adjectives and descriptions that most express the emotions and sensations when you first learned about the pandemic. How did your self-regard transform over the months? My first emotion was shock, followed by a sense of being startled and on high alert. As I learned more information about the virus, my attention shifted to family, friends, and my team. I became laser-focused on choices and actions to ensure others were safe, taking precautions, keeping informed. We came together, resourced each other, as well as people we didn’t know, who were also seeking support.
At the time, my thoughts raced toward choices to generate well-being for myself and others. While the virus did not impact my family directly, I felt an internal conflict of gratitude and powerlessness. My heart ached for the loss of human life, especially since so much of it was preventable. Months continued to unfold, mounting uncertainty and isolation, all contributing to a wave of internal anger. As if the pandemic were not enough, horrific social injustice and divisive civic events bombarded my senses.
I remembered something from an early teacher in my life: "we fear what we most love". When anger shows up, look for what is loved and allow that vision to guide. Throughout these past 18 months, creativity blossomed in the form of writing a book, Invite Change: Lessons from 2020 the Year of No Return, and hosting a conference for global leaders about social progress. We were able to keep going each day with a bias toward imagining a new future and applying our individual and collective mindset and skills to contribute and cause healthy and constructive choices. I solidly anchored the generative mindset into every fiber of my being. Each person is whole, resourceful, capable, and creative far beyond any given circumstance.
No one person or group of people caused the pandemic, and we all did by our way of living together in the eco-system called planet Earth. Similar to watching the solar eclipse as a child, this idea of being responsible is too big to hold interiorly and be wholly rational. I found the pinhole through which to look, focus my attention, and resources. As M. Scott Peck says in the quote - "propelled by my discomfort, I stepped out of my rut and started searching for different ways or truer answers.” I applaud the courageous who are pausing habits, preferences, assumptions, and biases from the past.
Those moments of pause allowed each of us to hear a voice inside more clearly. We began to discover what our heart and body yearns for that these months of disruption make possible. The discomfort of loosening our grip on the status quo and the familiar allowed a new source of vitality to emerge. Along with that vitality, we strengthened our demand for respect, dignity, and care in our choices. Keep going, keep believing, and keep your heart open, for this is a time of great reimagining and far from resignation.
Experienced with individuals at the Board of Directors, “C” Chair, Executive and Senior Management levels, Janet assists executives in adopting effective habits of perception and behavior to lead and accelerate corporate strategies. Typical engagements address executive development in the following areas: articulate and inspire through clarity of vision, enable respectful challenge, debate and catalyze synergy for strategic business choices, risk/reward critical thinking about investments and shareholder value, plan leader succession and architect sustainable cultural/strategic change.
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