By now most of us are back at the desk, clacking away, wondering what happened to our steely resolve on our new year’s resolutions. I don’t bother setting those anymore. I do indulge in setting a theme for the year — this year it’s IMPACT.
As 2020 merged to 2021 I sipped tea (quite honestly this is rare for me) and made some space to think. I thought about the year that was, and the year ahead and I asked myself what I saw unfolding in the broader environment around me. Outside of my own echo chamber, outside of my sphere of control, outside where abrasive opinions and… the unknown lurks. I remembered why I don’t sip tea in the evening often, and I resolved that I should, could and would.
I thought through what I hear a lot of people saying;
“When we get back to normal”; “when the vaccine comes”; “when we can (insert action) again”.
And I wondered as I reflect on those statements how many of us have considered this, now as a new and evolving reality?
Early in 2020 the catch-cry was the ‘new normal’. You don’t hear that anymore. It’s as if we know things have changed forever, but we don’t quite want to admit it.
But there’s a problem with ignoring the bleeding obvious — it’s like trying to hold a beach ball under water, it keeps bobbing up. Sometimes we just need to look a little further inwards and ask the difficult questions; If this is what normal is like now — What next? What does this require of me? How can I contribute?
Twelve months ago who would have thought that quarantine, self-isolation, border closure, social distancing would be standard phrases. For goodness sake, in November 2019 we used QR codes as a novelty at an event.
Late in 2019, as the bushfires ravaged my community I thought through what normal was going to be like now. As 2019 became 2020 I wrote down these thoughts in an article appropriately titled the New Normal.
Now, a year on my key thoughts (below) remain the same — however, with one extra year of learning and living under my belt I’ve added in a few more which will guide my year ahead.
Curation: Information is coming at us from everywhere. Whatever mode distributes this information make sure it’s a positive one. What the world does not need now is more hysteria. I ask myself who am I spending my time with? What am I reading? What am I consuming online? Is it positive?
Calm: Whatever you need to do to find peace / calm do it. Learn how to calm yourself, even when the whole world is spinning around you. I ask myself am I anxious? Have I walked today? Can I be still?
Grief: Take time to grieve for life as it was. While we may again experience something that looks like the ‘normal’ we once knew, by and large the world is different. We are different. Grieve now and build your strength and you will then be well placed when larger waves of change, ones that knock on your own back door come along. I ask myself am I OK? Am I sad? What do I miss? What do I love about now?
Leadership: The way leadership works is changing. Look for leaders who are kind and resilient. Look for leaders who listen, who will act and who will make the tough decisions for the greater good. These leaders may not come from the places we would usually expect. However, when you find these people nurture them, support them and back them. I ask myself what kind of a leader am I? Am I showing up? Am I being kind? Who do I look up to? Have I made my support known?
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And the 2019 thoughts that still ring true…
Our consumption patterns: The world simply cannot sustain our consumption at the current rate. From energy to water usage, travel to shoving processed calories into our gobs. I ask myself What do I waste? How can I not waste that through recycling, going without, finding an alternate or other means?
The way we care for one another: Whether we are talking about those closest to us, people we interact with in a work environment or those most marginalised in our communities we always have a responsibility as a human to care. Caring does not have to mean giving away all of our resources, it doesn’t have to mean supporting those that do not want to change. But it does mean placing kindness at the centre of any conversation. What resources can I share with others? What can I financially and/or emotionally afford to give? Are my interactions with others kind?
Our understanding of local: Living in a small community it’s easy to see how important local is to our business community. Local is also about eating what’s produced close by and seasonally, it’s about visiting local places and understanding local cultures. If it all goes to hell in a handbasket your knowledge of what is local will be even more critical. What local plants can I eat? Which are used for medicine? Where are safe places I can go to? Where can I meet my community?
Think: In our busy world it’s difficult to find time to think clearly. While we are being encouraged to think on our feet — and that is a relevant skill in many situations, we must also make time to think. To logically think through our options, our future, our new normal. Have I walked today? What questions have I asked myself of late? Have I taken time to think through this decision?
Our ability to remain resilient: The last thing a world in crisis needs is a whole bunch of people losing their shit. Learn how to centre yourself and when the crazy thoughts whisk you into a state of panic understand how to steady yourself. How can I find an even keel? What methods work for me to calm when my mind races? What thoughts bring me back to me?
Our willingness to adapt: Think life as you know it is going to stay the same? Maybe if you’re ready to turn your toes up in the next few years you may be quite correct but if not you’ll note, at least on a small level a world that is changing and I don’t know about you but I’d rather be prepared… Not in a doomsday kind of context but in an emotionally grown up, ready to try something different and let go of something now outdated kind of fashion. What will I willingly release? What do I need to learn? How will I learn that? What changes will I make immediately and which will I embrace over time?
My original article, the New Normal was published on Medium on 21 December 2019. link
Kerry Grace is a passionate advocate of regional Australian communities. She is currently working as the Director of Regional Development for Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast and Norfolk Island.
Kerry is the founder and CEO of Evolve Group Network (est 2004). Kerry’s work focuses on empowering everyday regional leaders (do-ers) to build sustainable communities.
With a strong consultancy background she has worked with all levels of government, not for profits and Aboriginal corporations. She is often called upon for her facilitation skills to moderate pathways forward for contentious and complex issues.
Kerry has tertiary qualifications in business (marketing and tourism), and additional qualifications in life coaching and adult education.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.