One-month Lockdown Reflections: Staying optimistic & remaining curious

A full month in lockdown. It has been a whirlwind of emotions and quite an interesting experience.

I miss connecting with people in a face 2 face setting. I miss giving a hug and reading a person’s interpersonal cues in a coaching session. I miss reading the audience in one of my facilitation sessions… BUT, I am also grateful for technology, and to continue to connect with other people, even though it isn’t my preferred choice.

Finding Benefit

One of my good friends, Ingra Du-Buisson Narsai, shared this with me a few weeks back and I absolutely relate with this concept. She says that benefit finding is different from gratitude. It means you are intentional to find something extremely valuable from a situation that is extremely difficult for you. Something that keeps you going… a full force.

With big change also comes big opportunity. The HR & Leader Think Tank community was born. I started this weekly get-together at the start of the lockdown. These sessions have always been a dream of mine. They are giving me a sense of meaning as I continue to live part of my purpose by creating a safe space, where likeminded people can pause, reflect, and grow – without judgement. My initial idea was to keep it small… but it steadily gained interest and traction and I am beyond grateful. I am committed to continuing to host and provide these sessions beyond the lockdown.

You might be familiar with lessons from Victor Frankl, a holocaust survivor, about finding meaning in life.

He said, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

Remain curious

The first two weeks of the lockdown was particularly challenging for me. Each person is experiencing the lockdown differently. For some, it has been a traumatic experience, for others, it has been an experience of growth and a refreshed opportunity to finding new routines.

To be authentic and not to judge others have been key learnings that I have heard in my circles. We should rather remain curious to understand why certain days are harder than others. It is also important to identify the emotion you are feeling – whether it is being optimistic, nervous, happy, angry, grateful, discouraged, or frustrated.

We have all experimented and learned something new about ourselves – personally and professionally. Some of those experiments are by force, others are by choice, but we all have tested different routines and ways to blend our work and life spaces.

As mentioned in my recent virtual 702 interview, companies that adopt an experimentation approach become a learning organisation – where you experiment and learn – that’s the people that will fly. Enhance your learning by starting to write down your daily reflections.

Attitude is everything

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Our eldest turned 21 last week. This might not have been the celebration we were planning, yet, the ZOOM session with the family around the globe was very special. It is true that you choose your attitude. We will certainly remember these times as a family and share the story of how we remained connected.

When you consciously decide and are aware of it, you control your attitude.

And… a smile really does go a long way. Even if it is with a mask on for a quick trip to the local grocery store for fresh vegetables.

Being agile

Whenever I listen to President Ramaphosa, I am proudly South African. His calm and courageous demeanour when sharing tough messages and difficult decisions give me hope. For the first time since President Mandela, I believe in the leadership of South Africa.

When I listened to the last few paragraphs of his latest speech: “We need to be agile and flexible in the weeks and months to come” I could not agree more. Many of us chuckled about his face mask demonstration; his reaction the next day, priceless! His sense of humour is commendable!

By using agile principles, each person can adapt to this change a bit easier. Change happens all the time. The lockdown may feel much bigger due to the number of people impacted and our economy, but change happens daily, and we need to be open to it to embrace it.

How did I adapt? All Agile People workshops are now available online! Agile Fundamental, Agile HR and Agile Leader can now be attended as virtual online courses.

Who knows what the future will really look like?

We can be brave and afraid at the same time. We just need to stay true to who we are, being real and courageous.

Be human and have compassion with yourself and others. When this is in place, we are halfway there! We are in the big reset and I am optimistic about what’s to come, are you?

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