Never let a good crisis go to waste.
This Winston Churchill quote should tell you something. Does it speak to you? The COVID-19 crisis can be turned into a personal rebirth opportunity. You can use it to press the restart button and reinvent yourself.
It’s the time to upgrade. You can walk out of this massive mess a better person. Even if you are unemployed. Specially, if you are unemployed.
It’s also the time to reinvent yourself if you are surviving with half salary, your business is drowning, your clients are cutting expenses or you are in risk of being laid off. This life disruption can become a personal tragedy or you can turn into a fresh start.
Which will it be for you?
We are all facing change in our lives. It’s a good thing we are forced to change. It’s not optional. We have no choice but to embrace the new reality and adapt. The world as we knew it is gone for good.
Turn poison into medicine.
The suffering, the anxiety and the uncertainty can be used as a springboard to alter your game plan. Start by renewing your mind. The new world needs a better you, because the old you will probably fall short.
There is a great buddhist principle that says we can all turn poison into medicine. This crisis can be viewed as an opportunity. But it requires that you make better use of your mental resources.
This is the time to leave the comfort of whatever you were doing before march 2020. A time for mind renovation, a time to press the restart button.
I have an invitation for you. Change your inner world before you go back to the outer world. Leave the old you in the past. This is the moment to rebuild into a better you, more aware and agile to face the “new world”.
I go into more details of this restart mindset in my upcoming book, to be released in July 2020. I wish to help you, specially if the crisis has left you without a job. We all need a mental reset and a personal reinvention roadmap. I have gone through this process several times in my life.
I will send you free access to my new book; Just write to me and express your interest anytime before June 30. My mail is [email protected] I’m certain it will help you.
With this crisis, let go of your old skin. Part ways with the old you. When you return to the post-pandemic world, you need a new skin, a new skillset, because the game of work and life has changed forever.
Your capacity to reinvent yourself starts in the mind. In the following paragraphs I offer five useful ideas taken from the book I’m finishing.
Start with your thoughts, for they feed your emotional states and actions. Truly believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is a good opportunity for you to start over. Then follow with small actions and secure new behaviors.
These are 5 things that will help you go through the mental shift needed to transform yourself into an improved professional and human being:
1-Raise self-awareness to unlearn.
Start by being more conscious of your behaviors, reactions and bad habits. It’s a necessary awakening. Realize which of the things you have been doing out of unconscious habits are no longer needed. Unlearn bad habits.
To do that, recognize the automatic or mindless you. Your mind renovation starts by taking an honest look in the mirror. Your reinvention can be deployed once you recognize what has not been working and what behaviors might derail you in the uncertain new reality.
2-Embody full acceptance.
Acceptance is the master key to untangle your old mind and free the space for new possibilities. Acceptance of the current version of you and the reality that surrounds you, opens the door for new learning. Accept without judgement what no longer serves you and move on.
Peacefully discard the old and embrace the new. This requires forgiveness and compassion towards yourself. Just let the old new rest in the past.
You start seeing opportunities once you accept that the past has to be left behind. Then comes the other most difficult thing to accept: uncertainty.
No one knows what will happen and when. Make the best out of every single minute of your day. Start early in the day, not at midmorning. Live peacefully in the present and take it one day at a time.
3-Give your mind a new focus of attention.
You need a new purpose or concrete goal to pull you from where you are. Once you define it, relentlessly focus your mental attention on it. If a specific purpose does not occupy an important and dedicated special place in your mind, your automatic thoughts will drag you elsewhere.
Remember, you are what you constantly think. The thoughts you pay attention to determine the type of energy you create during the day. This is a key part of your mental renovation.
Whether you pay attention to stressful thoughts, or to your new purpose, makes a big emotional difference. Thoughts release energy, don’t forget.
Deliberately focus your attention on the learning and discipline needed for the creation of the new you. This means keeping away from distractions. This means an elevated awareness of where your mind is at all times. This means dominating your mental resources.
4-Maintain peace of mind.
Even if you do a good job of focusing your attention on your new goal or purpose, your automatic thoughts of the past (regret) and the future (anxiety) will keep showing up all day. Let them be, treat them as clouds, acknowledge their presence and wait for them to move.
Deliberately pay attention to what you are thankful for. Gratitude is the most effective way to keep your brain running on your good chemicals.
One good thing from the pandemic crisis is that we have learned to appreciate the valuable aspects or our life that we were taking for granted. Most of us have a renewed appreciation for health, family and friends. Keep the gratitude rolling. Focus on what is good in your life to maintain peace of mind for longer periods of time as lockdowns continue to extend.
5-Redesign behavior through new habits.
If you are committed to a new and better you, the restart begins with a better use of your mental resources. And it follows with your commitment and discipline to building new habits. Every day until they stick.
Repetition is key. What you do on a daily basis determines who you eventually become. Your new acquired behaviors have to turn into who you are, but it all starts in the reframing of your stories, beliefs and mindsets.
It takes hard work to turn new behaviors into automatic actions. Building new habits is hard in the beginning, but doing it through baby steps and small changes makes the journey a little less difficult.
What new habits will help you the most in redesigning the person you want to become? These five have worked for me and for my clients:
A) Start your day earlier. B) Sleep better and eat better. C) Exercise at least 20 minutes every day. D) Read more (not news); and E) Learn to silence your mind by using deliberate deep breathing (meditation).
Even if you are fortunate to maintain your job, the economy and all industries are changing. Your work will continue to be disrupted. Do not stay in the same place. The old you is probably outdated. Start by accepting an irrefutable truth: you must grow professionally.
The virtual economy and a new wave of digital revolution is here and moving fast. You are capable of adapting. You can retool, not to survive, but to be better and thrive. Don’t face the new world with your old mind.
Press the restart button on yourself, for the new world keeps evolving every day. And no one knows where it’s going. Start with mind renovation.
The author is a coach, advisor and author of “The Survival Handbook for Stressful Workplaces”.