Adjusting to the new normal
The last time I updated this What I’m up to page was February 28, 2020. Well, a lot has changed since then. The world came to a screeching halt due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Who knew that the world economy could come to an almost complete stop with a universal threat of a tiny, tiny virus?
Next came the massive protests following George Floyd’s death captured on video for the whole world to see. Who knew this particular video would be the tipping point to prompt people all over the world to question where they stand regarding racism and diversity and have them contemplating systemic racism?
Within those contexts, humans are trying to navigate stay-at-home orders, family life with or without family close by, where to call home, how to best earn a living and more. It’s a lot!
I ended the last update with:
“Phew, I am just never bored! Life is good.”
That hasn’t changed and I roll with it. Let me offer you a glimpse behind the curtain of my current life, in no particular order:
I enrolled in several courses that I probably would have enrolled in regardless: SEO Optimization with Copyblogger, Email Marketing with Copyblogger, and two poetry reading workshop series with David Whyte. I also continued to deepen my coaching skills by participating in WBECS continuing education. My daughter taught the rest of the family how to make sushi and pot stickers via Zoom calls from Berlin. And my son showed us how to play new online games. In addition to that, my dad taught me about his life in a 60-minute online interview I conducted with him. In order to contribute one way in this moment, I learned how to sew face masks. There is probably a lot more learning that I engaged in that I can’t think of right now. I am a life-long learner, part of why I am truly never bored.
Prompted by protests and a lack of knowledge and understanding, I heeded the call from a friend to read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander followed by an online discussion about the book (Please note that the link is for the audible version, since the hardcover is currently sold out). At the same time my daughter encouraged me to read Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez. I started connecting the dots to the systemic issues we are dealing with. I have come to really like my Audible subscription and look forward to a new book every month, which I can listen to while I am walking and exploring my neighborhood. Another worthwhile book was Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas. I have also recently subscribed to three awesome newsletters: The California Sun, a snapshot of what is happening in California, and The Hustle, an insight into the Zeitgeist with a tech twist. And then there is New World Same Humans, also about trends, technology and society. Much to ponder …
To make sense of what I am reading, hearing and observing, I turn to the dedicated writer in me. I have taken to writing an entire page of gratitudes just before I go to sleep and three pages of morning pages right when I wake up. It keeps me in a state of appreciation and reflection to make sense of what is happening around me, even though I live by myself. I also wrote a free 5-Day Email Mini-Course on leading yourself and others through change. (Sign up here if you are interested.)
For six weeks I have offered complimentary group coaching sessions for past clients and for three months now I have offered weekly ‘At Your Service’ calls for my community. We are transitioning to the next phase. Stay tuned.
These calls helped me realize that there is a time and a place for Zoom sessions, but intimate connections can be established on group phone calls that strengthen listening skills and empathy.
The flurry of initial Zoom calls has slowed down a bit, thankfully. We are all finding a new rhythm, it appears. But the connections are deep and meaningful.
I am very conscious of people falling off the radar during these challenging times and I am hyper focused on circling back, following up, calling, texting, and engaging people in my orbit. I want you to know: I’m here. I’m listening. I care.
Unlike so many who either had to lay off employees, fear being laid off themselves, or are worried about keeping their businesses going, I have been very fortunate. My business is flourishing with the natural turn-over of clients just as before COVID-19. New clients show up and new opportunities are created. I don’t have employees, minimizing the responsibility and exposure. I am employed by CoachSource as part of their coaching pool (1000 executive coaches worldwide). The stream of clients has been steady and strong. And even my other clients have not wavered and missed much of a beat. I am grateful for the trust and confidence my clients have in my guidance in tumultuous times.
The one thing that seems to have changed significantly is the amount of decision making. Unlike before the pandemic, where you could book a flight six months down the road, it appears we have to consistently re-evaluate and decide anew. It’s exhausting and unsettling at times. My family has had to let go of two international weddings, a reunion and the illusion of the good health of a friend. I tend to be very decisive, but this has been challenging me. Leave home or not, wear a mask or not, fly or not, which new source to trust and which not to trust so much. I have found that if I need to make a decision, I walk 30 minutes up the hill to ‘my’ overlook of the Monterey Bay. By the time I am back at home the decision is usually made. I am appreciating the power of being in motion and being able to see the horizon from a higher elevation. Works every time for me.
Something is working me: Conversations with my clients, associates, friends and family are stirring within me. I feel called to contribute in a bigger way, see potential connections, do my part to reimagine new systems that serve us and the planet better. I am contemplating embarking on a new challenge, just like the New Shape Prize to design a new global governance model I did in 2017. This time I am intrigued by the XPrize seeking to reimagine work. Email me directly if you want to be part of the journey [firstname.lastname@example.org]
See what I mean? Never bored! Life is good.
Updated July 15, 2020, from Monterey, California.