Control. Alt. Repeat.
April 8, 2020
Three steps to ease the discomfort of looking inward when you can’t go outside.
It’s official, down is up, left is right, and it is very wrong to lay a finger on many things without gloves, masks, and an eternal mist of sanitizer to save us from ourselves. Indelible touchstones of our world are hands off. As global citizens we’ve had a shock to our systems, our industries, and our families. The only way out is through. As the Covid-19 pandemic teaches us how to slow down and reevaluate our priorities, executives and entrepreneurs are best served to consider the dynamics of control, alternative modes of thinking, and mastering intentionality to keep things on track.
Viruses replicate. It’s what they do. But when mother nature goes viral, it is rarely as fun as a meme with Lionel Richie and the caption, “Hello”. The pandemic, closed schools, new workspaces, and solving the algebra of getting your groceries are all out of your control. With each passing day, you may find yourself feeling quite out of sorts, missing your work spouse, and grappling with deadlines while pets and children paw at you. For now, focus your attention on what you can control. A new perspective reveals fresh avenues that reroute you to managing what’s in your power. As one distinguishes between the things they can control and the things they can’t, one gains a sense of direction, self-reliance builds. That is the power of your point of view. Welcome back to the ability to zoom out and see the big picture. O hello, efficiencies, deadlines, and hangouts with the camera on, not off.
With your new found acceptance of change being the only constant, ask yourself if your usual routine and expectations need a shakeup. Odds are something’s got to give. Even the most successful and compulsory personalities benefit from flexibility. If you are too rigid to shift, consider that changing your mind increases productivity and decreases anxiety. Tap into your curiosity, connect with a teammate, and get creative. Think about your usual habits, then rethink your usual habits. New habits and routines can be intentionally developed. By simply acknowledging the possibility of bending the old rules to meet the new normal, you move forward and create alternative modes of handling business. You’ve architected a more productive reality. By embracing agility in these complex times, you’ll find that this crisis doesn’t mean gameover, it means next level.
You must do this again and again. Adversity is a given, overwhelm is natural, and eyerolls are necessary to move forward. Advance one step, one hour, one project at a time. In tai chi, there’s a saying, “Don’t anticipate. Watch.” A zen reminder to stay present and avoid future-tripping. By embracing the opportunity at hand, maximizing options, and reapplying your game plan, you recognize success even when it is in the shadows of stress. Become an expert at shifting gears and letting go. Pretend you’re on a rollercoaster. You’ll be alright and you’ll have more fun even if you don’t like rollercoasters. Eventually, the car slows to a stop and you’re off to the next adventure. You made it. Give yourself a high-five, (that’s very cool now), and get back to living your best life.