Reflecting on COVID-19 and its extra-ordinary power to stop business as usual, a colleague recently said “You know deep down, we have all been calling for this.” Perhaps not exactly in this form, granted, but think about it. When was the last time you looked at the world, or yourself or your workplace and said either to yourself and someone else: This is madness it has to stop. Something has to shift. There has been a broad consensus for some time that we have to make a change. Few people have believed deep down that we’ve been on track. But it has been difficult to slow the momentum of our habits and dependencies – whether that be approval, fossil fuels, or continuous growth, long enough to enter the foyer of the new.
Enter COVID-19, a virus that has transgressed all the sacred cows that have maintained our social, political, relational and business structures, to bring us close to a complete stop. The virus that on one hand is leaving people fighting for air, is ironically allowing us breathing space.
Now that the first waves of our reaction to Coronavirus – the panic buying and scramble to work from home are settling, we are moving into a new phase in which greater focus is available to us. Those lucky enough to have their basic survival needs met, for now, can start to make sense of what is emerging.
Often our first attempt to deal with disruptive experiences is striving or planning how we can get back to our former way of being. However, when transformational forces are at play, this is usually futile – a form of denial through clinging to what was. Another impulse to try to predict where it will all end. Whilst this is an attempt to re-establish certainty and hence manage our anxiety, it is like trying to read the last page of a novel, without experiencing the plot, or allowing characters to develop.
Our task right now is to stay alive to the emerging story. It is a time to understand what is important to us and what we truly value. These are questions for the heart, rather than the brain per se.
This is a time to track your lived experience. What inspires you? What brings hope? When you do notice that you are most alive?
And what is falling away? What are the skins you are shedding? What parts of your identity are losing their lustre?
What are you discovering about yourself and the world instead?
Allow yourself time and space to explore what is emerging, experience yourself and the world around you. We are experiencing the disruption … let’s make the most of this opportunity for transformation by paying attention.
Over the coming weeks we will be releasing tools for leaders to engage your workforce on the journey. To receive your complimentary COVID-19 toolkit click here