The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a significant level of uncertainty into our personal and business lives. Schools have been closed, stay at home orders went into effect, and many events have been postponed or cancelled. Finally, in Massachusetts and in other states, the re-opening of non-essential businesses is underway, and we hope that life and business will begin to return to what we knew as normal. What is certain to me is that the “normal” before and “normal” in the future will be quite different.
What we do know about this pandemic is that it has interrupted the flow of our daily habits. It has removed our believe in safe human to human contact, it has taken away our ability to work safely at our place of work, and for many it has taken away our income from which we can enjoy life. These aspects of uncertainty have led many people to feel insignificant as their roles have been altered.
Certainty, Significance, Connection
Normally, living a life of certainty provides a foundation from which we can feel better about our various roles, and it helps to solidify our view of ourselves – our connection. It is important for people to have certainty, significance, and be connected to themselves. Additionally, we are used to having regular routines. Think for a moment about the regular routines you enjoyed that have been disrupted by the pandemic.
I often compare certainty to the foundation of a home. When it is strong, I have a strong self-direction. As I build my house the walls and floors come next; those represent who I am, my different roles in life, and my feeling of significance – as a son, a father, a brother, a co-worker, or a business owner. If my foundation is weak, I might feel a bit insignificant at times, and my walls and floors will creak. Finally, when I put my roof on, I know I am connected to who I am, and who I want to be, or put another way, I will have strong self-esteem. However, if my foundation is uncertain and weak, and my walls and floors are creaking, then my roof may leak, and I might not feel good about myself.
As a management coach I work with clients to improve their certainty, significance, and their connection to who they are and want to become. I have found that I always need to start at the foundation and strengthen their certainty; so, with this pandemic, I thought I would offer a few tips to help readers to regain their certainty.
Identify Your Strengths
First, identify your strengths. Realize that you have a unique set of skills that you contribute at home and at work, for instance: “I get along well with other people,” and then write down at least one way you can take advantage of that skill and use it more in your daily tasks. Feel confident about the items you list, and do not be afraid to practice using your strengths.
Toot Your Own Horn!
Second, toot your own horn! Begin a file in which you keep examples of your successes. Did you create a particularly well-organized and well-received report, presentation to other staff, or service a client very well? Did a client write your supervisor a letter mentioning how well prepared you were for a recent meeting or how you serviced them? Did you win an innovation award, you know – something spectacular? Did you help a neighbor or friend successfully work through a crisis? Keep an up-to-date file and use it to boost your morale when you are having a bad day. Finally, what has been a “success” for you these past 3 months?
I often see substantial improvement in a client’s level of certainty by trying these tips. Feel free to give them a try. Remember, we all have the ability to increase our levels of certainty by doing simple exercises and remembering what it is that we do well. Wonder where you are now? Take this complimentary talent assessment to find out. It just may help you to regain your certainty.