31/05/2020 Learning how to flourish in a strange world

I was getting ready for bed last night, and I had one of those moments again. A moment I am certain we have all had. “I wish it would all go back to normal”… moment. The thing is that normal is never coming back though. The one thing that is normal though is longing for the past. We all use the past to learn from to help us model the future. The problem now is that a lot of the rules of the past will not apply now, so we are going to have to be a lot more selective.

When predicting and planning for the future, we use our past as reference points to predict what may happen in the future, and therefore inform our plans. This approach has always been problematic, and now this has become almost impossible. What we need to do now is respond to the present, to help plan what you are going to do next.

You may remember a blog I wrote about being resilient right at the beginning of this crisis, and I have referenced some of this more recently too. It drew on the work of Diane Coutu. She suggested to be resilient you need to be; realistic, purposeful, and creative.

So being in the moment, and responding to the present, ensures you have a realistic view of your world. You are not relying on blind optimism or dreaming of a lost better world. You are very aware of the circumstances you are in and what you have at your disposal. This is a neutral viewpoint and should involve all that is happening not just the good, or the bad. If you like a sense or realism gives you an inventory of all you have good and bad to move forward.

To provide stamina and will power, it is vital to have a strong reason why. A purpose that is more than you have. Something to strive for such as supporting people to live up to their potential and for them in turn feel empowered enough to support and encourage those around them to reach their potential (This is one of my reasons why). Your purpose should not be achieved it should be something you live up to that keeps you going, something that is worth getting up for. When life gets tough, just like it is now a purpose will help you get back to working for it. If you are struggling to think of your purpose, it is worth spending some time thinking about what is important to you. Another way of looking at it is is there a cause that you support? Is there something that someone stands for that you can get behind 100%? If there is make that your purpose, your reason why, to contribute to that cause. It might be civil rights, or freedom of speech, nationalism, or socialism. Or it could be your own cause. If you want to be resilient it is vital to have purpose.

When times are challenging we do not always have what we need, so to survive and eventually flourish we have to be creative with what we have at our disposal. In business you see this with some businesses changing what they do, so they can continue their business. Like pubs and restaurants offering takeaway services, taxi drivers becoming delivery drivers, grocers moving to home delivery, tailors making surgical scrubs and ppe, engineers making visors. To survive we have to adapt. Being creative is easier if you have a purpose and a sense of realism. If we are clear what we have at our disposal and clear why we need to do it, creativity comes easy.

To flourish in these uncertain times we need to be agile and in the moment, with a clear purpose, and an ability to be creative. So don’t be stuck in the past, and stop wishing for a brighter future, make a brighter future.

Stay safe everyone.


Published by Matt Smith Personal and Professional Coach

Performance and Life Coach

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