How to Reenter Our New Life
Are you excited about the vaccination rollout? I am. Here in Canada, we’ll be in a ‘majority are vaccinated at least once’ situation very soon. Which means we can begin the reentry process into our new lives.
I have been thinking about that reentry and imagine there will be several circumstances we have never encountered before. Remember the day we learned that to instill a new habit successfully; we need to give it 30 to 45 days of constant practice and vigilance? Imagine how many new habits we now have ingrained into us after more than 14 months of pandemic living!
Here is a snippet of the issues we will face —
1. Probably, the best part of the Covid rules is ‘stay safe and keep to your bubble.’ How many of us have successfully avoided people in our lives and, thankfully so, using this mantra? However, once we begin the reentry process, what do we do?
2. Remember pre-COVID, the mindless, endless, useless meeting-mania that took place every day? The online zooms, the quick chats, and the unlimited texts replaced all that and freed us up to handle the minutia of our jobs in so many cases. Will we have to go back to bad meeting malaise?
3. What kind of etiquette do we now follow for hugging and kissing friends and family and shaking hands, and slapping the backs of our colleagues? Does the elbow bump do it for you — in all circumstances?
4. The sane approach of ‘live and let live so long as you don’t harm anyone else’ seems a difficult road to follow given the proliferation of COVID Judge Judys and the sizeable vocal minority of anti-vaxxers. What kinds of rules do we need in our homes, workplaces, and even our airports to keep everyone safe?
5. For too many, there has been an uptick in daily hours worked. And while ‘worked’ may not be the best verb describing our days, what do we need to do to draw some boundaries between our new family life and our new work life?
6. What are the better ways to meet, engage, and maybe fall in love in the new world for the single set? Will masks become a new kind of birth control or transmittable disease prevention?
7. Will it matter if any child or teenager has a gap year in their education path before university? Does the pursuit of excellent academics in a once-in-a-century occurrence truly matter?
These and many more snarly things are the issues with which all of us will be grappling. And I worry that in the main, most of us are unprepared.
When SARS blew through nearly 20 years ago, I was faced with somewhat similar reentry circumstances. I led a production organization in one of this year’s hot zones and tried to navigate us safely and profitably. As well, having the benefit of some less than desirable operating conditions with other companies since, piled on the experience. Here are a few proven ideas to help make your reentry easier.
1. Admit you need help. Drop the ego part that says you need to be right. Use phrases like, “I’d like your thoughts on how WE can make the right decisions for us.“ Frankly, no one has the correct answers for reentry. However, everyone has ideas. Whatever your position in your personal or professional life, remove the boulder of ‘got do it’ from your shoulders. And invite your family, friends, colleagues, employees, customers and vendors to help you. Asking for help is the most uncomfortable and the most rewarding activity you can do.
2. Pick up the mantle — ‘we are experimenting for a while’ — and give yourself and everyone in your world permission to experiment, play, reject, and adapt. Embrace that it will take time to get it right and get through to the other side. And avoid setting a deadline to have it entirely nailed down. You need slack here.
3. Acknowledge you are tired and exhausted and fed up with the circumstances of the last year. Simultaneously, acknowledge that every single person you know, meet, and talk with is ALSO feeling the exact same way. Find ways to laugh at the plight you are facing together.
4. Have those uncomfortable conversations –especially with the people you have avoided for more than a year. Yes, the discussions will be difficult. And yes, they will never go the way you think they should. But have them. Clear the air. So you both can move forward positively. Disagreements are the first step in bridging to agreements.
5. We always assume our way is the best, don’t we? Begin a new trend and ask the other person to explain what makes them comfortable. This works beautifully in all settings. Because you involve everyone in the ultimate decision. And we both know adults like being invited to be part of the solution.
Most of us are pretty reasonable and decent people. I fear, however, we lack the patience for the long runway needed for successful reentry. We all suffer from some level of exhaustion, fear and lack of control brought on by the pandemic. Yet, our success in making it through to the other side of reentry lies in our ability to continue changing and adapting.
Suppose you (or even someone you know) feel like you could use a jolt of energy or an extra shot of confidence and positivity? In that case, the Reclaim your Personal Power Project might be just the soothing balm you need. Let’s chat!