My husband tipped me off to an apparently popular question being asked during work conference calls these days:
“Are you wearing pants?”
This joke goes to the heart of the situation: many of us appear to have it “together” on camera, but whether or not “the pants are actually on” – that’s a different question entirely. One can’t tell the answer from the posts of parents bragging about their kids’ seamless online schooling, or from the photos of elaborate home-cooked meals, or from “we got this” emails by managers and school principals.
If you’re feeling the stress of keeping it together, or the stress of looking like you are keeping it together, can you make time to work through this? When high achievers hit low points, it is the hardest time for them to ask for help, so it is difficult for us to connect. Maybe, you could forward this to them and say that you get this, and help us connect?
This week, I was supposed to be in Glasgow, taking a PhD class on qualitative research methods.
Things are not “what they are supposed to be” for anyone these days. Here’s what I’m observing:
- Medics and their patients are living in a completely different reality than the rest of us. They are at war, in danger every hour of every day. The rest of us have the luxury of complaining about multitasking and overeating. Each reality is legitimate. Don’t feel guilty. Do help the medics, if you can: contribute to the fund run by a good friend and a team of capable people who have already delivered PPE to NY/NJ/CT medical teams. If you’re a medical professional in need of PPE, please, fill out a request form here: https://www.masksfordoctors.org/ .
- Low morale of feeling “not enough”. Many projects seem unimportant and meaningless in light of what medical personnel and other essential workers are doing. Even some medical personnel are struggling with this: some on the frontlines feel the guilt of the burden they are putting on their families, some who chose to stay back feel that they are not living up to a professional ideal. There’s no objective “enough”. What you are and what you feel you can do in peace just has to be enough.
- Private became public. During Zoom calls, we see colleagues’ spouses dressed (or not dressed) in “let’s not mention it”. We hear the managers’ teenagers arguing in the background. Little kids calling c-level executives for help with wiping butts and getting snacks. We see each other’s kitchens, garages, bedrooms, bathrooms – makeshift home offices. We get glimpses of each other’s lives beyond the facades of work personas.
- Still “not enough time”. Priorities may have shifted, but there are still demands on our time and attention. We don’t have more time now – we just distribute it differently. Unfortunately our dreams may still remain unattended, but it’s not surprising, as this is a matter of attention, not time.
- Transition to and from quarantine is tough. It has been tough to adjust to the new routine, and it will be just as tough to go back. It will take a while to re-adjust, and it’s normal. Just be prepared for this.
- Magnifying glass effect. Quarantine made it difficult to pretend to not see all that was broken about our jobs, relationships, parenting, friendships… Quarantine also magnified the beauty of everything that was working well. We see more clearly now, both the broken and the supporting.
We are all just figuring it out, all the time.
P.S.: And if you’re curious about the alligator in our actual bathtub, wait until you see a panda in your living room. Go to Google.com, type in a name of an animal with 3D, like “Panda 3D” (there’s a limited, but long enough list for Google’s AR), and follow directions to virtually place that animal into your environment. Your kids can even take pictures with this virtual animal. If you have an important meeting, teach your kids how to do this, hand over your iPhone to them, and you’re guaranteed 30 uninterrupted minutes.
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FIGURING IT OUT TOGETHER:
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Much of my executive coaching work is done remotely via video conferencing/phone, as my clients are all over the map. While it may not be wise now to stick your hand into the Boca della Verita in Rome, we can still search for your deep truth through coaching, via Skype, Hangouts, or Zoom, http://AlinaBas.com/get-started . We can talk about your priorities, managing virtual teams, co-working with your spouse from a home office, and strategies for moving through uncertainty.
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I did a workshop called “Emergency Coaching Response” for leaders during the People’s Recovery Summit in NYC after hurricane Sandy. I offer a similar program now (remotely) for corporate leaders, lay leaders, and managers. Please email me at Alina@AlinaBas.com if your company or group may be interested. Learn to: Help a person in distress regain focus and calm on the spot, Ask questions without intimidating or frustrating a person in crisis, Shift the person in crisis away from spinning stories and focus on the present, and Guide a person in crisis to allow for new possibilities in a post-crisis life.
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One of my favorite workshops to teach is “Intuition: Myths, Science, and Practice”. I’ve taught it to software engineers, financial analysts, entrepreneurs, lawyers – analytical thinkers interested in developing their sensory capacities to understand and use their intuition more effectively. One-on-one skill development, private groups, corporate workshops. Understand what scientists and practitioners know about intuition, and learn to use the body as a sensor for information that is not accessible through step-by-step reasoning. Please pm me or email at Alina@AlinaBas.com for more info.