The coronavirus has caused widespread health and economic problems; no one has been spared from its impact in some way or another. It has created a daily rollercoaster of emotions.
Yet, in the middle of it all, I am ready to start thinking about the future, about hope and beauty. I am taking the COVID-19 pandemic as a forced break to slow down and reassess, and even reinvent my life. Once I am out of this necessary hibernation, I want my life to align with my dreams and ideals more closely, so I am doing a few things to meet those aspirations.
We rarely take the time to disconnect and truly listen. Sure, we take breaks, and we go on vacation. But even when we do, we are always busy. When we go on a trip, we try to take in all the sights and check everything off our lists or it goes by too fast, and it seems like we never have enough time. Some of us are still probably just as busy now but being in a completely different environment allows us to pause and think.
We can take this time and view it as a gift to listen and learn. Here are some of the questions I have been asking myself:
What do I miss from my life before?
What have I been wanting to change before and have not had a chance to? How can I change it?
What is essential and valuable in my life?
What do I want less of?
What have I been putting off that is especially important to me?
Before, it was easy to avoid taking a hard look at our lives due to our schedules and daily demands. This collective pause is a time to listen.
Creating Visions of the Future
Because our regular schedules are so distant right now, it is easy to disassociate from them and imagine the changes we want to see. Now is the time to dream. Just because you can imagine them, does not mean they will become immediate realities. But at the same time, if you do not have a destination in mind, it will be difficult getting there.
To create my vision, I have been asking myself:
What would my ideal day look like?
What change could I make that would give me the most significant leverage?
What is stopping me from being able to reach this ideal?
What project would I love to launch?
What would I like to be the purpose behind my work?
You can create your visions using different techniques. I like journaling because I can dive into a topic in a way I cannot merely by thinking. In my peer coaching group, the other day, we took turns creating visions for the future for each other. I have also found that drawing and painting can be different ways to unlock your creativity.
Once you have a mission in mind, you are ready to move forward. With that vision, you will be better able to identify what has been in the way or the change you need to make to obtain those goals. Some of the improvements you must make may be complex. They may also be things you have been trying to change for a while but have been unable to, which can make your entire vision seem futile.
However, we have never dealt with anything like COVID-19, and if there is a game-changer, it is this. Your life can be a pre- and a post-COVID-19.
Take Tentative Steps and Prepare the Way
Given that we may continue to be living in a different reality for some more time, you can use that time to prepare for what you want to see. For example, if you are going to start a new business project, start preparing it now. By the time societies and economies reopen, you will have nurtured it from a fragile idea to a healthy stalk with a life of its own, and there will be no looking back.
You can also prepare the way for growth in existing organizations. In my company, Celaque, I want our organizational structure to mirror how we have evolved as a company. To that end, we must make modifications, from moving responsibilities from one department to the next, to creating new roles. I am already taking this time to make those changes so that they will be in full effect by the time we are all back.
Visions take on many forms. One of mine is to make even more space in my schedule for my daughters when they come home after school. To that effect, I already spoke with my oldest daughter, who is eight, and made her a promise to be there every day when she does her homework. The promises I make to my daughters are sacred, so I am sure that at least this vision will become a reality.
You can, of course, cycle through listening, creating, and implementing more than once, especially once you start taking action. You may notice that once you implement something, you’ll want to make adjustments to the overall vision because you learned something new. Iteration and being patient (because time is what we do have, after all!) will help you refine your ideas.
Let’s take the time to invest and plant the seed that will bear fruit that we may have otherwise never seen before.