The Good Life #7
How to turn your Covid-19 blues into the launch pad for an extraordinary 2021.
Twelve steps to make it happen.
When the pandemic hit, I realized this is the first time in history we could save the human race by sitting in front of a TV all day. Let’s not screw this up.
Psychological flexibility is the ability to adapt to a difficult situation, shift perspective, stay balanced and move forward quickly. If you let go of your emotional baggage attached to this pandemic, you can focus your energy on your future. Like a farmer stuck inside during a cold, dark winter, use your downtime for the next few months to prepare for the summer growing season. Tune up your tractor, organize your barn, order the fertilizer and get your team ready to hit the ground running.
“Resilience is very different than being numb. Resilience means you experience, you feel, you fail, you hurt. You fall. But you keep going.” Yasmin Mogahed
Here are my 12 steps for you to create an awesome 2021.
1) Accept the discomfort. If you get stuck in the emotional drama of the pandemic, it becomes a rut. Denial or avoidance strategies won’t help you move forward. The entire world is stuck with covid-19 till summer, at a minimum. Business lockdowns, restrictions on movement and safety protocols will be lifted in due time. Fighting the inevitable discomfort won’t make it better. Vaccines are being mass produced and distributed. Be patient, mitigate your risk and prepare yourself for the bloom of summer flowers.
“Each time to ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, of initiation.” Dan Millman
2) Process it. Give yourself time to reflect, understand and decouple the experience from the raw emotion with self-compassion. Ask yourself, “How can I learn and grow from this experience?
“Nothing ever goes away till it has taught us what we need to know.” Pema Chodron
3) Let it go. Holding on stifles your ability to move forward. I was overwhelmed by the number of people who were dying. Then I realized, I can’t do anything about it. I still empathize deeply with all the people who have lost loved ones, but I no longer stay up late at night worrying about something I have no control over.
4) Find projects during your down time that get you into a state of flow: fully immersed in an optimal state of consciousness doing something you love. (Sorry, TV and romance novels don’t qualify.) For me, it’s writing.
“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.” Steve Jobs (after being fired by Apple in 1985)
5) Respond to the needs of the people around you. Actively listen and tailor your response to fit the situation. I’m trying to be more attentive to my wife’s priorities since we spend so much time together. When she suggested we give up our master bedroom suite and sleep in my empty workshop when her sister came to visit, I didn’t argue. (although I was tempted:-).
6) Connect with loved ones. Close positive social relations are the single most effective way to maintain both your physical and mental health. Reach out to friends and family. They are your lifeline to resilience.
“Strange is our situation here upon earth. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know — that man is here for the sake of other men.” Albert Einstein
7) Express your gratitude. Expressing gratitude strengthens your friendships. Let friends and family know how much they mean to you.
8) Laugh, especially at yourself. Laughing at yourself allows you to step back and see your situation from a new perspective. This awareness can change your reaction when you step on a pile of dog shit.
“I always crawl into bed with a good book to help myself fall off to sleep, like Eat, Pray, Love or Dr. Zhivago. My latest favorite is ‘Review of sleep studies of patients with chronic insomnia at a sleep disorder unit.’” Tina Fey
9) Set new priorities. Reflect on what changes you want to make to your life when we get back to “normal,” whatever that turns out to be. I realize I need exercise, close friends, daily learning, writing and coaching and not much else.
10) Set new goals. Keep it simple. Use the SMART goal paradigm. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Too many goals will prevent you from making progress on the important ones. My goal is to develop my executive/life coaching business over the next 3 years so I inspire 24 people a year to design, create and live their GOOD LIFE.
11) Learn to say no. To move forward you need to say no to all the distractions we have today. Even though Netflix just released the whole season of “The Great British Bake Off,” and you are tempted to binge watch it this weekend, you must summon your willpower and put down the remote control.
12) Let go of your old identity. Create your new one. I’m no longer a contractor or furniture maker. I’m a writer and executive/life coach. I sold or gave away my tools and workshop machinery. I’ve passed the point of no return. When I jump out of bed every morning, I write down the most important thing I can do today to achieve my DRIVE and I tackle that first.
“Every time you wake up, ask yourself, ‘What good things am I going to do today? Remember when the sun goes down at sunset, it will take a part of your life with it.” Leo Tolstoy
Gary Gilberg is a writer and executive/life coach.