Three Ways to Think Differently About Your Current Reality

Three Ways to Think Differently About Your Current Reality

I read a post on LinkedIn recently that quickly got to the heart of what’s going on with many people who are on week seven or eight (or more) of working from home…It contained a list of surprising-but-not insights that employees have right now. Among them:  

I don’t know why, but I’m struggling to get my work done.  

I think I should be able to handle this. 

Self-care practices that worked for me before aren’t proving to be as helpful now.  

Some of your employees are feeling one or all of the above, so how can you start the conversation? How can you support? And through it all, how can you also take care of yourself? 

At the next meeting you lead, try telling your team one thing that’s been troubling you and what you’re doing to deal with it. Demonstrate vulnerability to unlock the opportunity for others.

“The Future You” Reflecting on Today 

As you read about in my Regaining Confidence blog, we can all agree that the future will look different. As you post on social media, debate about social distancing and decide how you handle your business and your household right now, reflect on one question: 

One year from now, how will I feel about how I spent this time? 

Will you feel proud of the attitude you had, the way you treated your family, the work you accomplished? Or might you feel embarrassed? Disappointed? Like you missed an opportunity? 

When it comes to your employees, will they remember you as a leader who leaned into organizational values, allowed everyone’s voice to be heard and led with integrity and transparency? 

It’s not all about what you did, but how you did it. And if you’re not happy with your answer right now, change it. There’s still time.

Share your thoughts with your team or with other leaders. Be honest about what you think your future self would say. See if they agree. Consider it an opportunity to evaluate your own performance.  

“The Current You” Reflecting on Today, Tomorrow 

We can all very easily come up with an excuse for why a project didn’t get completed this year. We can blame almost anything on COVID-19. But we won’t because we’re better than that. We understand we need to adapt, to harness ingenuity and to rise above the challenge. At humanworks, we follow the idea of “make the learning greater than the experience.”  

One unique way to do that – and to remind your future self – of the learnings happening right now? Write a letter to yourself. You may have seen local rec departments or schools encouraging children to make COVID “time capsules.” The ideas aren’t too different.  

Take a moment. Write down your learnings – financial, relational, personal. Write down your accomplishments, too.  

What do I want to remind myself of in the future?   

When COVID is “over,” or at least under more control, read your letter. When you’re struggling to make a decision, read your letter. Before you head into strategic planning sessions, read your letter. 

While you’re at it, have your leadership team do the same exercise. Have your organization do the same exercise. You might not know what’s most important right now, but you’ve learned a lot and accomplished a lot in the last few months. Record it. Embrace it. Use it. 

Your Now, As a Picture 

In one of our latest humanworks team video calls, Rebecca shared an exercise from a writing workshop she attended. It goes like this: 

Draw a flower: 

The roots: What has grounded me in the recent months? 

The leaves: What realizations and learnings have I had? 

The flower: What are my biggest wins and takeaways?  

As our team was talking about this, I thought further about what I would draw. My roots probably look the same today as they did a year ago or during the times I’ve struggled more personally. I can certainly add a few realizations and learnings, but maybe some are more “remembering” than learning anew. As for the flower itself, my wins are different because I’m continuing to grow. I don’t have the same wins over and over again â€“ If I did, they wouldn’t be as special. That’s something to be put in my letter to myself.  

So think about it. Draw a flower. Think about what’s grounding you, what you’ve learned and what your biggest takeaways are.  

Let your drawing serve as a reminder to you as you prepare for and maybe head back into the office in the coming weeks. Remember what grounds you. Apply your learnings. Continue to celebrate and look for wins. Help it live on by asking your team to participate and have them post their drawings at their workspaces or create a mural of them when you’re back in the office.

What’s next? 

Reflect. Start the conversation. Demonstrate vulnerability with those around you. Then, choose an exercise to try for yourself. Make it even more effective by having your team do it too. Keep the conversation going.