We are just a few days into 21 days of Lockdown and we still have a LONG way to go. I am a naturally exuberant, energetic and positive person but I know that I am already having to feed my body, mind and soul to keep myself motivated and to keep perspective during Lockdown.
Keeping my cup filled so that I can continue to give to others over this time, while also taking my business completely online, requires effort and commitment, especially when there is no-one close by to cheerlead me in person.
Isn’t this one of the most challenging things about Lockdown – the lack of human face-to-face contact (especially if you are an extrovert or social butterfly)? Thank goodness for virtual video platforms that enable us to actually ‘see’ each other. It’s not the same, but it helps.
One of the things we will come out of this crisis appreciating is other human beings, in person – maybe some of the very same people we have brushed aside as we have been in such a hurry going about our business.
I had a most amusing online book club on Friday evening, with a glass of wine in hand and using the House Party app. It was hilariously messy in that everyone was talking over everyone else. That alone was enough to get us laughing. Laughter at this time is important to lift us.
Humour masks our fear
Have you noticed how people use humour to mask their fear? Just look at all the memes and jokes doing the rounds on social media and instant messaging apps. That is the level of fear we are dealing with.
After my husband’s shocking death at the hands of those who invaded our home, it was most bizarre and yet so normal to be weeping with shock and sadness in one breath and then laughing hysterically about something in another, with tears running down our faces with mirth.
It’s how we keep the balance, or we would be overwhelmed and paralysed by shock or fear.
How to keep perspective in difficult times
I know that things are getting messy out there: that many of you are fighting for the survival of your businesses, that many of you are dealing with the challenges of working remotely for the first time and that many of you are now parenting full time while you work from home.
None of these are easy transitions to make, let alone the fact that they were made almost overnight.
Here is a practical exercise that I believe will help you enormously to keep perspective. It might even surprise you too. It’s part of the Collateral Repair Process© I developed while I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death, loss and trauma. First the background explanation, then the exercise.
We need to identify all the Collateral Damage and acknowledge it. Some of it is very serious and will have long-term consequences, I know. The feelings that go with it are also very real and should not be suppressed. However, if you get stuck in Collateral Damage, you will become frozen in fear, anger, frustration, irritation, despair and so much more. There will be no room for growth and reinvention. So, go there, but don’t get stuck there!
To actively balance this out, I urge you to look at the Collateral Beauty too. Anything you can think of that is positive or potentially good that could come out of or has already come out of, this Covid-19 Lockdown situation for you. This is where growth, opportunity and hope live. I promise.
The exercise: Collateral Damage vs Collateral Beauty
- Take an A4 piece of paper and fold it in half vertically or draw a line down the middle
- In the left-hand column write a heading: Collateral Damage
- In the right-hand column write a heading: Collateral Beauty
- First, start writing in the Collateral Damage column – literally stream of consciousness writing – do not judge or critique, just write, vent if you will
- When you run out of steam, switch to the Collateral Beauty column and see how much you can find to capture here
You may be as surprised as me. Every time I do this exercise over any issue at all, I always find that my Collateral Beauty column is usually twice as long, or more, than Collateral Damage! That’s why it helps you to regain perspective when you find yourself falling into a dark hole.
That’s how this exercise is going to help you find and keep perspective.
Just before doing a radio interview last week on which I discussed the exercise above, I spent ten minutes, yes, just ten minutes, doing the exercise on the back of a piece of paper before going on air. This is what my two lists looked like, and I will continue to add to them once a week moving forward to keep perspective:
- Social distancing
- Social isolation
- Unknown future
- Feeling out of control
- Loss of freedom to move about
- Loss of choice
- 13 presentations cancelled or postponed
- Cash flow issues
- Working from home with the boys at home
- Not having a dedicated room I can convert into a recording studio
- Can’t celebrate my sister’s 50th birthday with her
- No big family gatherings
- Potential illness
- 247 negative news reporting
- Fake news
- Poor role models in the current situation
- Panic buying
- The disparity between rich and poor
- You could mention people who are adding to the negativity in your life
- Appreciate people more
- Value relationships
- Gratitude (you could detail this in so many ways – health, specific people, acts of kindness, etc)
- Time at my disposal because I am not racing around
- Slowing down
- Reset opportunity
- I’m ready for this!
- Expression of human emotions
- Unity with others
- Getting real
- A reminder that we always have a choice
- Our power lies in each moment
- Adventure of the unknown
- Curiosity about the future
- Gaining self-knowledge
- Test my resilience
- Prove my adaptability
- Flexible mindset
- Brush up on tech skills
- Learn new skills: lighting, cameras, webinars, etc
- Using new tools
- Quality family time
- Time to tie up some loose ends for peace of mind
- New ways to exercise
- Creative cooking with the ingredients I have
- Doing some online courses
- New mindfulness and meditation practices
- You could mention people who are adding to the positivity in your life
- Prioritising – what’s really important?
These lists are not complete or exhaustive, they were just my first quick download from my head and my heart and I will be adding to them. It’s also better to visually be able to see them in two columns next to each other, then you get perspective.
Take up the Collateral Damage vs Collateral Beauty Challenge
- I challenge you to do this exercise as soon as possible for yourself.
- Then, if you are a couple, do it together.
- Finally, if you are a family, do it as a group exercise.
- Revisit and add to both lists on a weekly basis
Make sure that you keep talking to people beyond those in your own household at this time, particularly if things are looking bleak emotionally or financially, and you feel you are not coping. Talking helps.
Use a therapist or a coach (online of course) if need be, to help you work through big decisions. Most of the time I find we actually know what we need to do but by verbalising it to someone else we talk ourselves forward, finding our way.
Bouncing ideas and decisions around with others is invaluable. Don’t let shame, anger or embarrassment get in your way. We all need cheerleaders!
From the Collateral Beauty column will come your new goals, projects and even new ways of showing up, of ‘being’ in the world, with yourself and each other. It’s your personal narrative to inform the way you are going to move forward, how you are going to re-frame this Covid-19 experience and how you are going to keep the flame of hope alive.
It is proof that there is hope and there is a future. All is not lost. But it will be different.
Pull yourself out of shock now, and move into the present to find perspective at this overwhelming time. Yes, we have never been here before. The Collateral Repair Process© is the beginning of your roadmap into the future.
Much love and keep safe.
Speaker and author
Helping you win @ work and life
PS. I’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org about your experience with the Collateral Repair Process