People cope with slow change, but suddenness raises anxiety and leaves us floating in uncertainty. “I’m working from home. What’s coming next? Hey, I’m still waiting for reassurance about my future.”
Our stolen daily pattern - remember it? The pattern we spent years creating, connected and rewarding. Our logical-brain craves reliable information; our state-of-mind (and productivity) depends on it. Now uncertainty - we hate not knowing, so we constantly seek food for our thoughts, and there’s time to ruminate and this shapes our mindset.
The result? Our growing uncertainty and anxiety makes us less valuable to others and ourselves. Our ability to innovate reduces just when we need it most.
When our normal is taken away, what do we do with our inquisitive mind?Just as it’s tempting to eat when we are anxious (store energy for the unknown) it’s the same with our minds. We ruminate on:
- Things that are beyond our control and always will be.
- Stories the media find to fill their allotted time slot.
- Concerns about a future that may never happen.
We are never powerless, but we behave as if we were. The right mindset is critical:
1. Back foot mindset = Possum in the headlights, do nothing, react - perhaps respond, but very slow to initiate.
2. Front foot mindset = Initiate, your active mind has something productive to think about, needed for adding value, seizing new opportunities, and preparing for fast recovery.
To halt the slide, take back control. Six suggestions:
1. Make a list of things you’ve committed to do. Prioritize them.
2. Then list what’s worrying you in two columns.
- What I can do something about this week.
- What I can’t personally change or do anything about this week, or ever.
4. Increase self-discipline - plan each day, build in short reward breaks but return to your list. Turn off the TV and news app. Limit media updates to both ends of each day.
5. Find, acknowledge and spread the positive. (Start a counter virus). Get busy becoming mentally and physically healthy.
6. Ruminate on productive plans. For example; how to reach out and offer higher levels of assistance and value.
We are in a period that tests every form of leadership, especially self-leadership. Remember that we are far from being powerless. The outside environment is happening to us. However we can be productive today and this week, and we can strengthen ourselves for what comes next and position ourselves for a quick recovery.
When our normal daily pattern has been suddenly taken from us, don’t wait - initiate and create.
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