- Simon Rickman
The two big C’s in our lives right now: Coronavirus & Change
Five years from now, I can foresee students of psychology, anthropology, sociology, history, politics and economics…. studying this period in the life of humanity. Hopefully, they will be using it as a model of how normally disparate individuals and groups came together like never before.
They will see that this was the time when we were able to reflect on what was really important in our lives; when we saw a shift away from the accumulation of material wealth towards enriching our lives by building great relationships with others, despite their race, creed, religion, sexuality, football team….
Hopefully, that will be our story….
In the meantime, we are having to come to terms with what is happening in our lives right now. And with much more time on our hands than expected, it gives us time for reflection….and we are only in month one! So, looking back on the past few weeks has been an interesting one to observe. Watching, listening, and experiencing how other people have had to adjust their lives has been fascinating. And, of course, I’m going through the very same myself.
We are all finding ways to come to terms with our new reality. People want to be helpful and some rush to come up with great suggestions, hints, tips, must dos, which they stick on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. My attitude towards social media is very simple….take it or leave it. It’s about choice; so, make it. No one is forcing you to read anything you don’t want to. It’s your choice if you want to read on, or not.
In trying to come to terms with my own feelings and emotions, I thought about why I was experiencing, doubt, despair and fear. Then, of course, it struck me; I was going through the ‘change curve’. So, please allow me to take you on my 'change' journey. It might resonate with you….
Stage 1 – SHOCK!
The biggest shock for me is that I was even shocked at all. After all, I saw the events unfolding in China, then Singapore, then Italy, then Spain…. But every day I was able to distance myself from their experiences; after all, it was happening over there. I allowed them into my life, but could just as easily switch them off. So, when it started to happen to us, I couldn’t really believe it. I couldn’t absorb the reality or the consequences.
Stage 2 – DENIAL
As reality started to set in, and Boris’s five o’clock broadcasts became the ‘must see’ event of the day, people weren’t taking him seriously enough. It’ll be OK, I know my training sessions are being cancelled, but that really means ‘postponed’, doesn’t it? We were still able to go to the shops, I could still play tennis, we still received our weekly grocery order from Ocado. Everything will be fine; and it will only last for a few weeks, eight at the most.
Stage 3 – SELF-DOUBT
Within a few days, reality kicked in. This is not going to just go away. I am going to have to make some real adjustments to my life, including getting no income, what I eat, where I can go, how I speak to others, if I can play tennis, getting used to no football…. And that’s when the self-doubt kicked in. As a coach, I felt expected to come up with some answers to what is going on and how to deal with it. I couldn’t. This just made the ‘black cloud’ even bigger, and it didn’t leave me.
Stage 4 – APATHY
So, I’d sit at my computer and stare at the multitude of suggestions, thoughts and ideas other people were coming up with. But I wasn’t reading them. Too much information; too many words; what did they know anyway? My head was hurting from trying too hard to be ‘smart’. So, I just stopped trying. There was nothing I could do about the bigger picture. This was happening. It wasn’t going away. And there was nothing I could do about it.
Stage 5 – ACKOWLEDGEMENT AND RESOLVE
Once I began to accept that this was ‘real’, and that this is going to last for months, and not weeks, I began to accept the situation for what it is. A friend told me to, “Stop trying so hard. Let the universe reveal itself to you.” So, instead of trying to find the ‘silver bullet’ or 'magic potion’, I decided to relax. I contacted my clients with a simple message, “I’m here if you need to talk”. I attached a few simple thoughts; nothing too clever. I participated in some webinars to positively distract my thoughts. I even delivered a short learning session to a new group, which seemed to go down quite well. Small steps; planting seeds….
Stage 6 – TAKING STOCK
There will be a lot more of this in the weeks, months (even years) to come. I recognise that we are in the most unusual of situations; none of us has been here before (at least, not on this scale). I do have great things to offer, but maybe not now. What I do have to offer is to keep listening, supporting, and doing little acts of kindness. That’s what really matters right now.
Stage 7 – ACCEPTANCE AND NEW GOALS
Eventually, things will get better, and I want to be ready for that time. So, now is the time to anticipate what people ‘might’ need. How to rebuild our lives coming through major change. Refocusing on what is really important to run a successful business. How to build self-belief and self-esteem after such a shocking experience. Adapting my workshops, so that they are up to date and relevant. I really want to be in a positive frame of mind to help others who may need my support. I know it's not easy in such challenging times.
I will try to use this time to adapt and create….I hope that you will try to do the same. Good luck!