Do You Want a “New Normal” or Are You Ready for a New Reality?

Yes, we are experiencing major disruption and uncertainty. We are in a time we’ve never experienced before.  Many are calling it a “new” normal. Some are calling it the “next” normal.  I call it “never” normal.  Why?

Normal is an illusion.

“Normal” does not really exist in the physical world. It’s a structure in language that was created along the way to “label” a state of being; in fact, it originally came from a carpenter’s square and morphed into a state of being.

As the phrases “new” normal and “next” normal started popping up everywhere I noticed myself cringing every time I heard it. Being the word freak that I am I was drawn to look up the word “normal” in the dictionary.  Here’s what good ‘ol Webster says:

nor·mal /ˈnôrməl/ “the usual, average, or typical state or condition.”

Then I got to thinking…why on earth would I want “normal”? Or, even a “new” normal…or “next” normal?

“Yes, I would love the next average condition, please.”

Yet, we continue to hang on to words that keep us small, keep us safe, and keep us playing in the same idea pool.

The buzz “out there” is that in order to get through this pandemic, we need to create a “new” or “next” normal. We need to adapt. We need to be flexible in order to get through this. Yes, those traits are great to help move through a transition, but they will simply recreate more “normal”.

If we want to truly innovate and come out of this time in a different state for the better, it will take beyond transformation.

What it will take is to TRANSCEND. If we truly want to create a new world in which we live and a new place in which we work, we need to create something that hasn’t existed before.

We need to create a NEW REALITY.

Those who are ready to shift their reality during this time are the ones who will transcend. This doesn’t require voodoo spells or psychic surgery. It requires the willingness to let go of what was and let go of what is, for something completely new to emerge.  Adapting and transforming is still working off of what is.  When we do that, we just get new versions of “normal”.

Words have power. Language has power.  What we speak has power.  In honor of my obsession with words, I had to check out what Webster had to say about “transcend”.

To transcend means to “be or go beyond the range or limits of.”

This sounds a lot more empowering than “normal”, huh?

Normal, no matter what adjective you use before it still has limits. It has limits because we as human beings make meaning out of everything.  It gives us comfort to be able to categorize something in our mind so we can address it.

If we have the ability to believe the story about “normal”, what’s a different story we can make up instead?

I have always been intrigued with creating the new and looking at what’s possible.  Even though I was the “good girl” growing up I secretly wanted to break the rules because I thought they were so dumb. But, I played by the rules so that I could get good grades, get a good college education, and land a great job.  It worked. I ended up becoming one of the founding partners at an amazing high tech consulting start-up in the early ’90s working with brilliant colleagues. At that time, we did something unheard of. We sold fixed time fixed price projects at a time when other big 6 consulting firms continued to sell time and materials. We took the risk for our clients and as a result, we did extremely well.

We transcended the way consulting was sold.

We were in the world of IT consulting but instead of always hiring for direct IT experience we hired for culture fit, character, attitude, and ability.  We knew if we had the right people at the core, we could teach them the technical skills. It was true.

We transcended traditional hiring processes.

We were willing to let go of how others did it.

We created a new reality.

If we truly want to create a world that transcends how we have been living, we have to be willing to give up “normal” and any variation of it.

To transcend takes courage.  It takes vulnerability.  It takes trust. And, it’s not for the faint of heart. It is not for everyone and it is not for every company.

What does it take?

  • It requires having to be ok with the unknown.
  • It requires being open to what does not yet exist.
  • Not knowing is uncomfortable. It’s messy.  It’s scary.
  • But for some, it’s exciting.  It’s exhilarating.  It’s freeing.
  • It’s also the first step to transcending.

Are you willing to let go of what you already know?

Are you willing to unlearn what you’ve been taught?

Are you willing to explore a new way of working with your team, your departments, your organizations, and communities? Are you ready to create a new kind of business, a new kind of community, a new kind of world?

Are you ready to shift your reality? If so, let’s chat.


Jean Marie DiGiovanna
Jean Marie DiGiovanna
Jean Marie DiGiovanna is an international keynote speaker, leadership trainer, and certified executive coach with over 25 years of experience inspiring leaders and their teams to expand their perspective and shift their thinking. She is a disruptor, a change catalyst, and an innovation maven who helps leaders and their teams ask new questions and by making new connections others don’t think to make. As a result, her clients uncover hidden talent and unlock new ideas among their teams and across departments allowing them to excel beyond what they thought was possible. She has an insatiable appetite for learning, a keen sense of curiosity, and a natural gift for honoring uniqueness in others so they bring all of who they are to what they do. No talent is left behind. She brings her body of work on Renaissance Leadership helping leaders inspire leaders and helping organizations foster a culture of curiosity, authenticity, and innovation. She brings the heart and soul back into business and the “being” back into human. She is the co-author of "Success is a State of Mind", author of "Wake Up To Your Life: Monthly Workouts for the Mind, Heart & Soul" and author of her recent Amazon best-seller, “Stop Talking Start Asking: 27 Questions to Shift the Culture of Your Organization.” In true Renaissance Spirit, when Jean Marie isn’t working, she is busy working in her art studio, skiing fast, or dancing to live Latin music. To learn more about her experiential keynote speeches and how her high-impact in-person and virtual leadership development programs could benefit your organization, visit her website at

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  1. Thank you Jean Marie for a new twist on the word normal -“right angled” as in the 17th century carpenter’s square. I always viewed the word from the statistical viewpoint (Gausian distribution) and while I’ve always been way out on the Tail, I could say that I was still a part of a normal distribution. It was better than being called “not -normal.” I agree. -“Words have power ”

    Trancendence and a new reality -an appropriate topic for today when a large number of people celebrate new beginings – a new covenant -allowing adversity to pass over without absorbing its ill effects.

    I have always thought of trancendence as more an individual journey -but I do like the concept of collective transcendence. We need that.

    Whatever is the catalyst -the isolation we felt while avoiding this virus, the loss of so many lives or that reality that conflict and war and destruction of our environment are still very much with us.

    Change does require insight -knowledge jarring us from complacency -enlightening us that the old way no longer works -we can’t just go back to some mythical point on a distribution of life experience regardless how that curve may have shifted for many.

    As my children used to say on road trips “Are we there yet?” -Dunno, I certainy hope so.

    Thanks for sharing that hope.

  2. I can’t say if this Covid-19 experience will change us and if it will, in what and in what way it is difficult to predict as well. I would say that we could reflect on the fact that we have long learned to live on rights; now the time has come for duties.
    Just as, and this in particular applies to young people, we should have learned to really focus on the important things in life. It is essential to understand what we want to do, what kind of person we want to be, what kind of contribution we want to give, what role we want to play in life. Applies to everyone, and to all situations. We can understand what really matters and build the rest on that. It also applies to the very particular situation we are facing.
    Here, perhaps these are some of the opportunities that this epidemic put in front of us. They would already be important steps forward and I really hope that at least these will be the lessons of this epidemic. Learning something new is positive, even if it matures in an emergency context like this that we are experiencing. It is a matter of responsibility that we will have to learn to assume. If we do it, the consequence will be a beneficial effect not only in the event of a new epidemic, but in the thousands of other things of everyday life.

  3. Jean Marie DiGiovanna-
    Great points, well made! We all must let go of “safe, & comfort” to experience the abundant possibilities. Fear dominates our minds if we allow it. I truly appreciate your perspective and your ability to weave the story to convey the heart of what we are all dealing with in this crazy, amazing, random, and freeing “reorganization” or the order of the world as we have known it. I say, “YES, Let’s transcend!


    • Thank you Catherine! Letting go is a daily act and not always easy in the face of what each of us are experiencing respectively but is so critical if we want to create something new. Lovely to meet you in this community!

  4. What a fantabulous (no no it’s not a mistyping 😁🙃🙈) essay to start with dear Jean-Marie! 👏💙👏

    I loved every single word and couldn’t agree more! I found it so aligned with your beautiful video on YouTube! And I truly believe it’s not really a business matter even if the context is business. Rather about the servant leader we become (again) whenever we decide to pay the price!

    Btw, I had a large smile reading your biography! There is something very special about it 🌞

  5. Great article Jean-Marie, love the strive towards transcendence.

    It is funny inst it. Those that seek any form of normal are clearly attached to what they are sensing they will lose or leave behind, yet as you wonderfully speak too, so much more opportunity exists if we are open to it.

    Here is to more of us realising we are anything but normal. thank you for this piece.

    • Thank you, Garry. Yes, so true. Human nature likes “normal” because there is comfort in knowing the past. As the saying goes, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are for.”

  6. I love this article So Much! You got me when you talked about “normal” meaning average. It is one of the concepts I present when I talk about the value of being weird. It is what I discuss on my blog Passion For Imperfection.

    What really cemented my joy from reading your article was in the final paragraphs. “Not knowing is uncomfortable. It’s messy. It’s scary. But for some, it’s exciting. It’s exhilarating. It’s freeing.

    I am proud to be a member of the second group. The freedom of coloring outside the lines of average is what gets me up in the morning.

    • Thank you Kate! Boy can I relate to all that you have shared. Mark me as one of the “weird” ones, but then again, aren’t we all weird in our own way 😉 I appreciate your work as so many need to hear your message of imperfection and the value of being weird. When I feel stuck, I often ask the question, “What’s possible out of not knowing?” and it brings me to a new place. While ignorance is bliss, knowing too much can be detrimental as well.