Never Go Back to Normal

I think it’s safe to say that during a pandemic, life is far from normal. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, most, if not all, of us have dealt with situations that we never imagined.

As we adapt and adjust to new circumstances, there is an ever-present tone that can be sensed, if not actually audibly heard, that the changes we’re making are just “for now,” just until things “go back to normal.”

In contrast, here’s something that I heard a colleague say last week: “I hope things NEVER go back to normal. Why would you want things to go back to normal? We should move forward from this.”

His words hit me hard and stuck with me. Let me tell you why.

Brain cartoon 4-13-2020

You and I have an incredible opportunity right now to grow, to expand, to develop new characteristics which will serve us forever.

It’s like you’ve just encountered something heavy to lift that absolutely needs to be moved. And maybe in attempting to lift it, you found out that you weren’t as strong as you thought. You find a way to move it with help from someone else. But maybe you can’t stop being troubled by coming face to face with the limits of your strength. At that point, you have two choices: forget about it and hope your strength is never tested like that again OR get to work on becoming stronger.

This strange and challenging situation in which we now find ourselves is admittedly more than many of us can handle in terms of our inner strength, our character. We’ve been surprised to find the limits of our ability to stay calm and cool, to control worry, anxiety, loneliness, and other feelings that have come up naturally in the face of the new circumstances we’re dealing with. And like many in my network, many of us have reached out for help with the heavy lifting of those moments.

And now we’re doing well adapting, adjusting, and moving forward.

But if I’m being honest, there were plenty of moments in the last few weeks that I didn’t think, feel, and act like Hero Me, the person that I want to be. Maybe it’s the same for you.

Now we have two choices: We can be happy that we dodged a bullet and just keep hanging on waiting for things to go back to normal, OR we can get to work making sure that our wake up call does not go unheeded. We found certain limits to our strength of character and it’s not too soon to get to work making sure that for us, things never go back to normal. We can make sure that we come through this even better than we were before.

wait for things to go back to normal

In talking with a fellow coach this week about some of the fallout that will affect our clients now and in the future, we both agreed that events like this will create an even bigger divide between those who take personal improvement seriously and those who don’t. The latter will grow by leaps and bounds right now by being pushed out of their comfort zone to seize opportunities to create solutions for new problems and create action steps for themselves to get stronger. The former will fall farther and farther behind, waiting for things to go back to normal.

You’re here because you are someone who wants to become even better.

The situations that came up in business and other areas of life require some heavy lifting.

If you’ve felt like you weren’t equal to moving the load of 💩that was dumped in front of you, it’s OK.

You’re not the only one.

But make sure that you get the message: “You need to get stronger.”

Don’t think for a minute that there won’t be situations in the future that test the limits of your strength again.

If you get to work now, you will be well-prepared the next time we need to do some heavy lifting together.

You can start the personal growth process right now by taking time to design your Post-Pandemic Vision.

If you don’t know what your destination is, how will you ever know what steps to take to get there?

Before you start the self-coaching exercise, let me tell you a bit about why a visualization session like this can be so powerful. In the context of our discussion so far, this is basically just getting a really good idea of what the stronger version of you looks like so you can use that vision to design some action steps for today. An exercise like this is essential in self-coaching because it will give you a standard against which to measure progress, make decisions, edit habits, create action steps, stay motivated, and rehearse for future success.

Resilient-leaders-cover-5

Using your imagination to visualize a future version of yourself activates higher level brain areas than those responsible for intense emotions like worry, fear, and anxiety, allowing those lower level areas to calm down. Further, as you use information learned from the lower levels, you will deepen connections between various areas of your brain. Making those mental pathways stronger will serve you in self-coaching and personal development in the future.

Now, here’s your self-coaching exercise: Design your Post-Pandemic Vision.

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Get a notebook and a pen.

Sit your butt down.

Set a timer for 10 minutes.

Write out your answers to the questions below.

Just imagine that the COVID-19 pandemic is over and you have grown as much as possible during that time, made the best decisions you could for yourself, your family, and your business. Really visualize the person you want to be, Hero You, at that future time.

What does your life look like?

What great things are happening for you, your family, and your work that weren’t happening before the pandemic?

What might be some of the biggest areas in which you’ve grown?

Why is growing through this time so important to you?

Who will be impacted by you becoming better through this challenging time?

Starting today, what might be one of the smallest actions you can begin to create that future reality?

Now, make sure you don’t lose the vision notes that you wrote down in response to those self-coaching questions. Keep it somewhere handy so you can refer to it at least once per week for as long as this present situation lasts.

Edit it as needed.

Focus on the little actions you can take each day to move toward your Post-Pandemic Vision.

Then you’ll be on your way to making sure that you never go back to normal.

make sure you dont go back to normal
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