Stretching, deep breathing, strength training, jogging, sprinting and even leaping. Alternating between single and multiple reps. All actions I discovered had more resonance than ever in my life….
And actions that are usually reserved for a workout rather than our work in everyday life. But as we all know – at the moment, life is anything but every day. It is very different and because of this I have realized that I need to be different too. As a result, I am diving into a new kind of conditioning. Not exactly sure what the course will look like or how long it will be; whether it’s 10K or a marathon is anyone’s guess. All I know is, there will be a New Normal and I need to continue to train for it.
As one of the many around the country, I run my own small business; Suzy Wakefield Designs, which is a design consultancy for lingerie, swim, athleisure and apparel. I work from my studio to create, fit and develop collections as well as providing services such as project management and strategic planning for companies to deliver products at retail in the most efficient and effective way possible. This part hasn’t changed, though just about everything else has. My husband, two teenage sons and I are now living, working, and generally spending our lives 24/7 in our house where my office resides. We are blessed that we are healthy and have plenty of room to cohabitate. Nevertheless working, cooking what feels like non-stop (talk about stretching!), cleaning and generally inhabiting a space with three other people who all have their own agendas is a lot. Not to mention that working in the fashion industry at the moment, life as we know it has changed, and most likely will continue to develop into a different landscape as well. The new skills needed are evolving on a momentary basis. This calls for a lot of flexibility and understanding that the skills needed today very well might be different than the ones needed as soon as tomorrow.
I’m luckier than most in that my work environment is actually the most consistent part of this whole unnerving time. I have all the elements to continue doing what I do to support my clients by creating product. However, I fully realize that the world outside is pausing and simultaneously evolving. To be ready for it, I need to be stretching myself and building other muscles. In order to do so, I am incorporating a number of approaches, from taking advantage of new independent learning opportunities and places I could virtually connect with other people to relooking at the work that I am putting into the world whether it is designs or marketing on behalf of my business. Listening to talks like the amazing World Retail Innovation Week summit offered from PSFK, gave me such great opportunities to hear different perspectives and to learn from creatives outside of my field on subjects that were equally beyond the bounds of product. I have been super inspired by thought leaders coming to this situation with many unique approaches, many of which offer support to the community on how to come out of the other side of this better in some ways than we came in.
Previously, I have not spent much time on marketing myself, having gained most of my clients over the years through word of mouth. I wanted to take advantage of this time, free of traveling and going full speed all the time, to focus on establishing a stronger marketing point of view for my brand. As a result, I have recently launched an Instagram account for my business. In the same way that I needed to build in and up scheduling physical activity running outside, on the Peloton or biking around town I quickly realized that I needed to do the same here. Every day, good or bad (and some of them surely haven’t been great), I have made myself post. Just like a Peloton ride, I’ve had to remind myself, it’s not how high that I got on the leaderboard, it’s that I got out of bed to do it at all, that sets my day in a good place. And lo and behold sometimes it’s a PR and sometimes it’s just the act of hitting share that was good enough. As a result of the steady work, this design and planning of posts has become a creative highlight of my day. Likewise, I have made some very interesting connections with other creatives as well as gaining visibility to new great businesses out in the world.
As with an exercise routine, consistency is key, at least for me, in order to reap the benefits of the work. Also, having a schedule grounds me to take on what comes ahead in my day. I recently saw a video from Goal Guys, a share from my son, called Less Decisions-More Planning. It put a lot of the rewards of this work into perspective. More good training, and in this case, some wise advice that I never would have heard had I not been spending some quality quarantine time with my kids. Moreover, taking the time to try new sources of information has pushed me to come up with different ideas and challenge myself to learn new skills since Covid has started. Quarantine has pushed me towards a greater awareness of balancing when it’s ok to jog and when to begin the sprint.
Mixing it up helps too. Prior to this situation, I would lean into my tried and true sources of information whether it was around working out, news, hobbies or work habits. The parameters of being home so much has encouraged me to change other routines. This has been rewarding in its own way and a silver lining to the situation. I’m continuing to venture into new areas and opportunities outside of my comfort zone of creating and managing product. These changes are sparking creativity in many ways outside of my normal paths which is much appreciated in a time when my mind could wander otherwise.
All in all, while I would not have wished this time on any of us, I am inspired to and realize the importance of, stretching and growing as I have not before. I am also reminded of how important this quote is to my own personal journey.
My race has never looked the same as anyone else’s and it’s certainly not going to start to now. My regimen will be different as will my results. And that’s ok. So now I’m off to run or at least start a stroll. Here I go….