It seems almost all of the positive messaging on social media is about perseverance and survival. A common encouragement is “We’ll get through this.” WHAT????
Don’t Settle for Survival
If you are in the survival mindset right now, I strongly encourage you to stop thinking in this fatalistic way. This time, right now, when everything seems to be turned on its head, is the perfect time to reexamine how you were spending your time a month ago.
Flashback One Month
Chances are a month ago you were lamenting about all the things you don’t have time to do. Whether it is spending time with your children, starting a meditation practice, or setting up a new podcast where you can share your view of the world.
What people seem to talk about is boredom, the fact they can’t reorganize their closets anymore, or the dreaded constant news predicting more doom and gloom. REALLY?
Try to wrap your mind around all the things you really cared about before this pandemic. More than likely, your desire was not to spend more time at the office. You have unfulfilled dreams you thought were delayed because you didn’t have time. Are you pursuing those dreams now? Has this imposed time away from the office created an opportunity to really get after those goals? Of course, it has!
Doom and Gloom Dominates
It cannot be denied the airwaves and social media are obsessed with the (often unfounded) predictions of an armageddon-like experience for all of us. We worry about ourselves and our families. We feel fenced-in by the restrictions to our activity.
A month ago, you were feeling guilty because you haven’t visited your mother. Now you feel deprived of visiting your mother because the officials have told you it could kill her if you bring your germy self into her proximity.
Get a Grip on Yourself
You control how you use your time during this pandemic more than you have had the honor and privilege to decide your time management in years – maybe decades. Are you squandering it away and whining about what you can’t do and what might happen?
Think again, my friend.
It was August 1983, when I found myself doing something similar. My daughter was about six months old and we lived in the country with a well and septic system. We went without power (and therefore water) for two weeks. At the time, the grocery store shelves were not loaded with a couple of dozen types of bottled water. I don’t even remember where we got water, but it wasn’t close by. We washed and filled milk bottles for drinking water because the water we stashed as the storm was coming in was important for flushing the toilet and our “spit baths”.
I was hot, miserable and focused only on keeping my daughter supplied with damp washcloths in an effort to keep her cool. I could not see a better way. UNTIL…. the power came on. We had electricity, running water and the three of us sighed a big sigh of relief.
Then, a lightbulb went off in my head. It suddenly dawned on me I had family in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. I could have easily taken my daughter in my car to stay with them in comfort. They would have been happy to help. My husband could stay with the house and call when the power was restored.
My Fondness for Rose-Colored Glasses
The story I tell above is true. But I think it was a rare thing for me. Usually, I am able to look past the apparent crisis and find solutions. I was a teen when I was first accused of wearing rose-colored glasses. It was not a compliment.
I have heard the idiom my entire life and never questioned its origin. When I Googled the term, I found this story about a little girl who was optimistic before a bicycle rack fell on her and killed her. I think the people who accused me of being pollyannic felt I was too childish to think bad things.
Perhaps they were right. I do annoy people with my optimism. What does their annoyance say about me? Not much. What does it say about them? A lot!
Bottom Line About Rose Colored Glasses
Whatever is happening, in the world or in the little world inside your house, is going to happen whether we are sad, terrified, lonely, frozen, bored or lazy. It happens.
What you can do about what’s happening is another story, if you want it to be.
Getting back to something mentioned early in this article. Can you remember what you wished you had time to do a month ago? Did you want to:
- Write a book
- Start a podcast
- Spend more time with your kids
- Start a diet
- Eat whatever you want
- Research a topic important to you
- Take an online course to make yourself more valuable to your employer
- Take an online course on knitting, knife sharpening, card tricks, photography, art, food preparation or something else.
I won’t go on because we both know the list is endless. I am personally fond of the idea of creating a book. Notice I didn’t say “writing” because I have worked with a lot of authors. All of them who actually wrote their entire manuscript wasted a ton of time. I had to do a lot of developmental editing and rewriting to make the book attractive to their readers.
If you enjoy writing, go right ahead. Just do it for the joy of writing…not as an efficient and effective way to compose a book.
Download Your Story Easily
This is not a pitch for you to hire me. If you want to talk, contact me. This is a pitch for you downloading your legacy in a way it will be valuable for others. Most people download their story best in conversation with others. The language you use when you talk to your kids about your life is quite different than the one you tell at the keyboard.
If your story is about business, reach out to a colleague and have a conversation with them. The truth is, thought leaders are already changing lives one-at-a-time. Reach out to the people who were impacted by your wisdom and interview them about what you told them and how it helped them.
Audio Record Every Word
Even if you never publish this content to a book or even an article, gathering this story will be your legacy. Store the audio recordings or use some cheap transcription service like Temi.com. Save both versions for the prosperity of its value to you, your family or others.
Today is too precious to waste on worrying.
Get out those rose-colored glasses and start making something of this unexpected time.