If you’ve been reading the headlines, you know this is one of our darkest hours as a nation.
This year resonates with history from other moments of despair – the influenza outbreak in 1918, the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the racial divide in 1968. If you’ve ever wondered how you would have handled events from the past, consider your efforts today.
Together, we’re defining this moment in history. What we do now will become the fodder for social psychologists, economists, historians, and writers for generations – so let’s think about the stories we leave behind.
The question we all must ask ourselves is who do we want to be at this defining moment? How can we show up, so that when we are at the end of our lives, we have no regrets for living well and with courage?
I’m humbled by our individual and collective pain as we first sheltered in place, and then as we make sense of the dying declaration of George Floyd – I can’t breathe.
I’m deeply resolved to help folks who are suffering, including nonprofit employees and workers on the frontline of the pandemic response, to meet this moment head-on. (In fact, I’m offering pro bono coaching to frontline workers, so please contact me for more information.)
I want to help you boost your resilience, even now. Especially now.
Your emotional, spiritual, and physical health have never been more important. The work you do for your nonprofit has never been more important. Our society desperately needs your organization to continue to transform your corner of the world. Keep doing good!
While we must figure out, together, how to make it to November when we will vote, we don’t have to wait for new leadership for us to express empathy and compassion for each other. That act of kindness begins today. In our chaotic world, this is one thing we actually can control ourselves.
Without a doubt, we’re seeing the absolute worst of some people – and of course, the best of others. I get excited because we can choose how we show up, every hour of every day. We can appeal to our better angels, which means focusing on compassion and collaboration, at a time when some elected officials instead promote power and division.
Let’s consider where we unfortunately find ourselves –
What the Hell is Going On?
- Our world changed in a heartbeat, thanks to the pandemic.
- We feel grief-stricken and outraged by the murder of George Floyd.
- We’re anxious about our own health, as well as the wellbeing of our family, friends, and fellow strangers around the globe facing the coronavirus.
- We feel scared by the uncertainty of the timeline of the pandemic.
- Our boundaries between work and home are fuzzier than ever. We need help in taking care of ourselves first, so that we can help others effectively.
- We experience decision-fatigue from constantly weighing the risks of going outside.
- We shame ourselves when we don’t live up to our fantasy that we’re superheroes who can handle everything.
Take a minute to let all of this sink in. We have more reasons to feel overwhelmed than ever before, yet criticizing ourselves (and others) offers only the illusion of control.
Who Do You Want to Be in this Moment?
No matter your core values and deepest passions, you’ll benefit by feeling more resilient. Why is this so important? Keep in mind that some of us will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from our experiences during the pandemic and riots.
Some folks will feel scared to leave the house, even when it’s finally safe. Others will need help addressing addictions that flared up while sheltering in place. Research shows one-third of us are now feeling depressed and anxious. In addition, those who are hospitalized and on ventilators often feel traumatized from their brush with death.
These folks may feel something is wrong with them, for failing to recover. I’m sharing this with you now, so that you’ll feel empowered to seek out a therapist, should this happen to you or someone you know.
Here’s the number one thing to understand –
To Boost Your Resilience, Your Mindset is Everything
When we have a positive mindset, we’re open to new ideas and we enjoy a sense of discovery. We also are more flexible in our thinking, giving ourselves permission to reframe a situation with a fresh perspective that ultimately serves us.
You may experience a positive mindset in your body as well. Perhaps you’ll feel lighter and expansive, as well as more relaxed and flexible.
When we have a negative mindset, we limit ourselves as we live in fear. We see things in black and white and judge people and situations. Our muscles tense, and we feel constricted.
The pandemic is an opportunity to pay attention to our internal dialogue. How are you making sense of your world turned upside-down? How are you attaching meaning to your current situation?
The most successful employees are gifted in expanding their perspective. For example, they probably don’t see their job as just entering data into the database. Instead, they likely understand I’m making it possible to build relationships with donors. In today’s crisis, it’s important to remember I’m helping my nonprofit to fulfill its mission, which makes my country stronger.
Likewise, we can expand our perspective on the unrelenting headlines. This point in history feels like an open wound, and yet. . . there is hope for a future where we have come together to heal after centuries of despair. Along with the fear of losing the soul of our country exists the bright possibility of our post-pandemic world.
Keep in mind, resilience is not about:
- Ignoring the suffering of others
- Pretending you are unaffected by current events
- Enduring a toxic work environment
- Expressing aggression over kindness
How can you use a positive mindset to boost your resilience? Let’s consider –
Three Powerful Ways to Use Your New Mindset
People who transcend their challenges choose to learn from adversity. “Failure” doesn’t exist when we have a long-term perspective that gives us the cushion to grow and learn.
Consider a situation that didn’t go as planned. . . perhaps you’re upset about our country’s response to the pandemic. From my own experience, I know it’s easy to point fingers and feel betrayed.
What if we instead reframe the crisis? Of course, the urgency is real, and the science is still the same – we must listen to experts on how to stay safe. What’s new in our thinking is that we have an opportunity to consider what we can learn from this experience.
How can we as a nation be more prepared for a pandemic? How can we as individuals continue to focus on social responsibility and giving back?
We won’t always remember to see tough situations as learning opportunities, but we’ll be more resilient when we understand what helps us find our way back. When you’re feeling scared and defensive, recognize your own discomfort and ask—
- What can I learn from this completely crappy day?
- What can I learn, should I need to make amends?
- What can I learn, so that I come from a place of abundance, rather than fear?
- What can I learn, so that in the future I can help others in the same situation to reduce their suffering?
2. Help Others!
Helping people is the silver lining to all our setbacks. In fact, it’s the shortcut to our own resilience, and it increases our feelings of gratitude and abundance.
Every student in my coach-training class at UC Davis showed up with scars from life’s greatest challenges. It wasn’t a surprise when we discovered our niche as a coach was often what we had overcome ourselves personally – from assisting families burdened by cancer to helping employees who are burning out.
A briefest glance at the news today confirms that people, animals, and oceans need your help. In fact, if you want more of something in your life, share it with others and you’ll discover it comes back to you in unexpected ways. You’ll begin to heal and become more resilient.
What are ways you can help? You could—
- Smile at others underneath your mask. People can tell and they likely appreciate your positive energy.
- Anonymously leave hand sanitizer at your neighbor’s door.
- Mentor a new employee at your job.
- Put away your phone to listen intently to your kids.
- Peacefully march in a rally.
- Mail a care package of goodies to your parents.
- Volunteer on a campaign.
- Adopt a dog from a shelter.
- Encourage everyone you know to vote.
- Share posts on social media that bring joy.
- Check in on your donors regularly and listen to their needs.
We boost our resilience when we take time off from work to rejuvenate. This means having good boundaries between work and home. It also requires that we take a break from the headlines and focus on the present moment.
Here are tips for rejuvenating during this crisis:
- When we worry about the past and fear the future, we become less resilient. Mindfulness practices, such as breathing exercises and meditation, are great ways to appreciate the present moment and handle challenges.
- Pay attention to how you feel when you use different screens. Give yourself regular breaks from the headlines and social media, if they’re not serving you.
- Sleep. Then sleep some more. We’re exhausted and our bodies need to rest.
- We have cycles when we sleep, and likewise, it’s ideal to take breaks during the day every 90 – 120 minutes. The key is to step away and focus on something besides work.
- Consider taking a 20-minute power nap in the afternoon, to keep your brain activity high all day.
- Banish any warrior mentality that leaves you chained to your desk and enjoy a stay-at-home vacay, guilt-free. Don’t check for emails from work, and focus on playtime. What fun things did you love to do as a kid that you can incorporate into your staycation?
We owe it to ourselves, and our country, to bring our best to this moment in history. I believe in you, and that together we’ll exhibit grit, determination, and compassion as we create our post-pandemic world.
We can do it!
P.S. If you’d enjoy a more positive mindset and a boost to your resilience, a coach can help! Contact me for a free strategy session.