Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller

Over the last several months, everyone everywhere has lost someone or something. People have lost their lives or livelihood. The coronavirus continues to spread worldwide and impact millions. No one is without some level of risk to their physical, financial, or emotional wellbeing. The global situation is a shared experience, and we are all suffering.

These losses are becoming too much to bear for many, and all are overwhelmed, but there are also lessons to be learned and opportunities to reclaim your relevance, resilience, and remarkableness. 

 If you are only able to grasp one idea right now, consider looking for ways to be of service to others. Research has proven that this is effective in mitigating fear, anxiety and feelings of isolation. Plus, you will get a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.

There are steps you can take right now to illuminate possibilities in both your personal and professional lives. With many of us working from home, these two aspects of our lives are more integrated than before. This is not a good thing or a bad thing, it is simply a reality. 

For me and for most of my clients, simple suggestions are so much easier to absorb during a crisis, when our brains are on overload and our emotions are running higher than usual. So, here are seven strategies for finding your way and tolerating high levels of uncertainty and ambiguity. Following these suggestions will help you begin the process of reclaiming of your relevance, resilience and remarkableness:

1. Strive for social connectedness

It doesn’t matter if you live in Paris, Vienna, Dubai, New York, Hong Kong or Sao Paolo. Unless you are over the age of 90, you probably haven’t lived through a global pandemic. There is no data or research that can show us unequivocally how to thrive through this. It is new territory for most of us. Reach out intentionally. Re-engage with your community to build enthusiasm for your future and all its possibilities.

2. Don’t despair

We all have the ability to pivot, swerve and plot a new course of action. The difference is that now is not the time to focus on long range planning, but on taking small and intentional steps each and every day to find your inspirational courage and commit to incremental changes. Focus on what you can actually change. 

I am a big believer in the concept of Kaizen. This Japanese idea is based on the belief that continuous, incremental improvement adds up to substantial change over time. It was originally implemented in manufacturing plants in Japan, though its applicability to personal change is quite relevant. It’s fitting that the Japanese word kaizen translates to “good change.”

3. Illuminate your possibilities that will drive growth, expansion, innovation and fuel your curiosity

Believe in something bigger than yourself. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I inspired by? What fascinates me? 
  • What problems do I want to solve?
  • What does my community need right now?
  • What unique skills, talents and expertise do I have that I can leverage to solve these problems and be of value to my community (business or social)?

A few weeks back, while I was in a session with a client, I had an insight. We were talking about hobbies and inspiration. I shared with them the love of photographing flowers I have had ever since I was a girl. They reminded me that both my first and middle names are flowers – Rose of Sharon and Iris. I was literally born with this passion. It is interesting that up until that moment I had not put that notion together. Of course I would have this interest. Insights and understanding can come from the places you least expect.

4. Keep calm amid chaos

Look for places and moments that can provide you with much needed cushions of comfort during this time of uncertainty. Confront your negatives and then look for your positives. Follow your moral compass.

5. Show up for your life

The changing landscape of your work and life is now a constant. Reimagine a new mindset for yourself with a refreshed perspective on your future life and work. Continue to learn how to face your fears and insecurities in order to leave a legacy of resilience, contribution and engagement. Growth requires stepping out of your comfort zone and being uncomfortable. You need to find the courage to commit to the challenge of change, because it is never too late to lead a relevant, resilient, radiant and remarkable life. Don’t ask, do.

6. It is not too late, and you are not too old

So if you tell me you can’t or you’re too old or you’re afraid, or whatever your excuse is, I can tell you that you can feel uncomfortable or embarrassed or fearful or less than, and still show up, push your professional boundaries and accomplish something. I learned how to swim at age 60 and completed my first triathlon simultaneously. Remember, learning builds your legacy.

7. Be persistent and be patient

Everything is taking longer now, and everything is a process. Remember it is not you, it’s the time we live in. There’s a lot of uncertainty globally right now and know that you are doing the best that you can, even if it doesn’t feel like it. 

I now walk alongside my own insecurities and fears. I am leaning on my strengths and resilience to do what I do best. This is not about thriving through change. This is not about defining a future vision. It is showing up each day and being present. It is about acknowledging all your accomplishments, no matter how small. Helping people to do this is my work, my passion, and my life. 

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

To close, here are a few of my personal tools and strategies that have helped me during this time:  

  • Saying out loud, each day before I get up, three things I am grateful for, and setting my daily intention.
  • Keeping a schedule or routine (although flexibility is also my friend when needed).
  • Using the ‘five senses grounding technique’ to mitigate my anxiety.
  • Dancing around my house because no one is watching – I have found DJ DNice’s Quarantine Club on Instagram; the dance party we all need right now.
  • Learning in lockdown – I am teaching myself piano and learning new coloring techniques.

Remember, it is possible to create or find magical moments in this time of uncertainty and fear.