This may be the first time – certainly in my lifetime, and possibly in recorded history – that the whole of humanity is united in pursuit of a common goal: to keep each other safe and well until we emerge from this crisis, hopefully a little slower, a little wiser, a little kinder, a little more grounded and a little more connected.
There’s loads being written at the moment – words of wisdom on staying safe, remaining healthy, being positive, coping with isolation, filling in time, and keeping connected while we grapple with a world-wide crisis. Please choose carefully what you listen to and what you read in order to keep informed and to manage your personal and our shared challenges.
I’ve distilled my thoughts about staying resilient down to three simple messages; An ABC if you like:
A Act on what is important
We can’t do everything. The external restrictions placed on every one of us mean we actually can’t do many things. So we have a choice. We need to focus on only the things that are most important – those things that support the essential aspects of our business strategy and personal values – and act on those. That means getting comfortable with stopping some things that are less critical, saying no when needed, putting a hold on projects when appropriate, and not beating ourselves up with guilt for doing so.
B Be thoughtful
Everything we do and say impacts on others – the people closest to us (both physically and socially), our workmates (whether virtual or not), our community and ultimately across the globe. Remember the butterfly effect (derived from the metaphorical example of a tornado being traced back to a butterfly flapping its wings on the other side of the globe). Think about how your actions will affect others, and do what you can to make sure that impact is positive, or at the very least, not negative. Of course we all need to be mindful of physical and health guidelines, but emotion, like the virus, is also highly contagious. Do you want to be responsible for the rapid transmission of negativity across your workplace, or can you find a way to spread positivity including kindness, gratitude and hope?
If the crisis has taught us anything, it’s the importance of connection. Our species survives and thrives through physical, social, emotional and intellectual connectivity and interdependence. Connection is the core of well-being. With everything else stripped away, we now have the opportunity to make deeper, more regular and more thoughtful connections to build and sustain more nurturing and fulfilling relationships. Take time to get to know your colleagues, be open and available even when there are pressing work demands, and whether you’re across the room from them or across the country on a video screen, be fully present in each interaction.
On the days when I wake up and wonder how we’re going to get ourselves out of this, I can feel despondent and overwhelmed. So my resilience touchstone is my ABC – Act on what’s important; Be thoughtful; Connect. That’s me doing what I can, no more, no less, to stay personally resilient and as a leader, support my team to be resilient, so we can all be part of the solution. And so then I feel a bit more hopeful. Hope that not only will we all get through this, but we’ll actually come out the other side better for it. And I feel hopeful that this pandemic could just be the circuit breaker the world needs to stop us burning ourselves out.
Jo Saies, South Australia
PB Performance and Development