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During Uncertain Times One Must Redefine What Is Certain

And these are certainly uncertain times

September has come and gone, October isn’t far behind. We’ve entered Q4 and the world still feels upside down.

When the pandemic began, maybe you decided you would come up with a new plan so that when things do turn around you’ll be ready to capitalize. But things haven’t really turned around.

The world went back to normal, but it’s not normal at all.

My Executive Coaching clients tell me they are feeling alienated, isolated, and grieving the loss of their pre-COVID plans, struggling to make new plans for fear of disappointment.

And Winter is coming… or maybe it’s already here.

But I’m here to tell you I’ve been here before. I was running an enterprise sales team, selling into financial institutions, when the bottom dropped out in 2008.

I had two choices:

1. Make the decision that nothing's going to happen in a recession, keep my head down and resurface after the catastrophe subsides. OR

2. I could reset my goals, think creatively about how I can lay the foundation for success in the coming years.

I chose to focus on acknowledging that the game has changed and took the opportunity to think creatively about how to reset and reprioritize steps that would help me continue to engage and serve my clients. I needed a new plan.

Somewhere over the past six months you’ve likely realized you have these choices too. Which way did you go? Where did that bring you? And what are you going to do about it now?

Chances are that 2020 didn’t kick ass and take names like you had anticipated. It can be difficult when you’re a seasoned professional to reinvent yourself or shift gears. You’re used to being ahead of the trends, the crowd. You’ve been excelling for years and winning with your battle plan. You may not even see your blind spots or habits that continue to shift to your default old way of operating.

Ask yourself what you can do today to lay the foundation for success in this wild new world? And then, if you’re willing, dig a bit deeper and ask yourself what you’re holding onto from the old way of doing things, that maybe isn’t serving you the way it used to? Where are you being rigid because you can’t help yourself? Where do you need to do some work to keep up? The world has changed and we are all living, dreaming, and making decisions in a new way. We are using our intuition more than ever before. It’s not just about stats on paper anymore.

When I look back at 2008 I reflect on those who not only survived but also who came out ahead. They reinvented themselves and thrived. Those who were left behind had stuck to the plan that had gotten them there and had been swept aside in favor of those who rewrote their script and continued to engage.

What does rewriting the script look like?

The answer will be different for each and every one of us but here are a few possibilities.

  • Focus on relationships - everyone feels shitty and is overwhelmed and no one knows what they are doing. Reach out to those in your network for a catch up. Chances are they’ll be happy to hear from you and appreciative sharing what they are going through. It’s time to build relationships in lieu of transactions. It’s time to be curious, instead of intense. Ask questions like, “Are there any places you are stuck or feeling unsupported? How can I help? Where are the holes that need filling”

  • Gratitude - Appreciate where you are and the privilege that you have every day. Maybe you still have your job, maybe you don’t but you have some savings, a great track record and opportunities in the future. When we focus on what we are grateful for we shift our energy to have forward momentum. We become a beacon instead of a black hole.

  • Breathe - Stop and take a deep breath. I’ll wait. Take another, even deeper. And one more… When was the last time you filled your lungs all the way? The last time you really let your body relax and take in all that is around you? I know that sounds simple, but a growing number of studies show that breathing techniques are effective against stress and anxiety. These techniques influence both physiological factors (by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system) and psychological factors (by diverting attention from thoughts). One must get their head on straight before they can move forward with a clear effective plan.

On their own, each of these exercises will make small yet meaningful shifts in your day to day life and relationships. When combined, they take on a new sort of magic. You, and the people around you will notice a shift.

Try it and report back.


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