It seems that people are torn between the “new normal” and how things used to be. This quarantine period started with panic at the uncertainty, then fear at the financial uncertainty, then rest because of the slowdown and finally acceptance and taking it one step at a time. But then nostalgia seems to be creeping up; the lost travel adventures, the missed social interactions, being face to face and getting what you need out of people and of course, the missed routines in the office. Our eyes are opening up to so many things, habits, expectations we have been chasing after that were just killing us. So why would you want to go back to “normal”? This is another stage in evolution and as it does, there are things that must die to make room for a new life.
There is this idea, I can’t remember who set it up, to break down goals into milestones, keeping to regular reviews to keep the momentum going and the achievements constant.
It’s a harsh reality and, still picking lessons from Staring Down the Wolf, I am evaluating the things that I want to do away with for myself. I mentioned earlier that I have been exercising more in this period. Normal is going back to sitting on my chair for 8, 9 hours a day and gaining 8 kilos in a year. I have been getting some good reviews this week and that’s just my physical health that is seeing a difference. How is your mental health doing right now? I was sharing with a friend that I have a somewhat bad habit of being most productive nearing the deadline than at the beginning of a project. Well, it has its advantages but constant pressure is not an ideal environment for creativity. The second week of lockdown felt like my brain had drunk a glass of fresh spring water. After the initial worry, I realised it felt like a bulb that had been on for a year and my filaments were sizzling. Slowing down was such a relief. The new normal is finding that balance between planning and pressure. There is this idea, I can’t remember who set it up, to break down goals into milestones, keeping to regular reviews to keep the momentum going and the achievements constant. Plan in quiet time for growth in-between wins to keep you brain healthy for when things do get tough because they always will.
Now, I want to sacrifice being busy for my professional growth.
Normal has been a rollercoaster whose rest stops have been switching off halfway and missing out time for growth. I recently went to a dentist for something that I should have done sooner and she asked me why it took so long. The answer and you know that you too have said this for a small task that you have procrastinated: I have just been so busy/ work has been crazy. I have been planning to take my CIM exams for so long but only sacrificing it in the name of being busy. Now, I want to sacrifice being busy for my professional growth. This is actually a real issue that too many people overlook. I was recently helping a friend update their resume and I asked what milestone they achieved in the last 2 years. His response was that he has been working. I have seen this with quite a few people around me. Where your resume stops growing when you started your current job or you hit a certain level then personal growth just flatlines.
So many myths about how we work have been busted. We have to sacrifice the analogue world for this new one. “I’m not a tech person” is not going to cut it any more. I have a friend who works in a local bank and part of their personal development is continuous Google Digital Skills training. For everyone!! The last thing they have to worry about right now is whether or not their staff can cope with online tools. Imagine being that confident about your business right now. Remember when having MSDos, PowerPoint and Excel or ICDL for the really advanced on your resume was cool? It’s nothing now. It hasn’t been for a while really. If your office has G-suite, you had better start training sessions on all the features available. Why are you using Zoom and debating on security issues but you have Microsoft Office 365? The older generation is really going to struggle with this one but as I said, it is evolution. Survival of the dot comm-est.
Which brings me to the ultimate sacrifice: the ego. Why do we hold on to the way we have always done things? Because it keeps us comfortable, it works for me, I can try only as much as I want to and not as much as I need to. For the control freaks like me, many plans have just been thrown out the window. My predictions are off, my sphere of influence has shrunk, it’s not about me anymore. It is terrifying. But also a little freeing. The cards are wide open for new lessons. The loss of power is not a loss in your self-worth. It is a chance to take into perspective that not everything must happen or must happen right now or must happen your way. It is a chance to reconsider your whys, find out the how’s and figure out what you can, will and won’t do about it.
If you just let go of “normal”, you can make out what it could be.
I have to stop myself from singing Elton John every time I think of the word sacrifice. It just plays in my head. Also in my head is facing that the fear of being dragged down for holding on to the past is not as big as my hope of the many ways that life can be better. If you just let go of “normal”, you can make out what it could be.