We all know about silver linings - a good aspect of a mostly bad event. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded last year, I decided that it was important to boost my ability to cope with the changes forced upon us by looking for some silver linings within the pandemic experience.
Using creativity to be around others safely became fun and exciting - I have a winter tan from outdoor activities! Becoming more consistent in an exercise routine was easier - mostly because what else was there to do? I met more neighbors because we were home more - I’ll also give a shout-out to the derecho for this one - and those relationships remain strong.
So, now there’s a light at the end of the tunnel called a vaccine. As we inch our way back to whatever "normal" will be, what silver linings will we keep with us to improve ourselves and our communities?
How will we leverage them to take back control of our work lives?
What work-life imbalances will we adjust as a result of identifying different ways to find balance?
Working from home was likely one of the biggest changes in the past year. Did you find that in fact you could maintain a close relationship with your work BFF without sitting next to them?
Maybe you have handcuffed yourself to a role or an organization because you just couldn’t imagine days without some aspect of your pre-pandemic world. But, you’ve managed an alternate approach to relationships, probably called Zoom or FaceTime, and you know in your heart that you can move on.
Maybe your role has shifted as a result of the new normal.
This may be a cue that you’re open to managing change.... maybe you even need more change.
Take this opportunity to reflect on the impact and outcome of the past year and use it to your benefit. Where you found that you managed changes like a pro can be an indicator that you excel in soft skills that you may not have had experienced previously. Alternatively, you may really be struggling with some aspects of your current normal and that is important to acknowledge. Taking an inventory of what has changed and how you’ve coped with each one may allow you to identify a few silver linings to apply going forward.
Control what you can
After you’ve done your inventory, you can bring more certainty into your life by controlling what you can. It is really easy to fall into a trap where we feel things aren’t so bad and that we shouldn’t mess with what we have. That may be true, but it doesn’t hurt to explore our options. If your current work isn’t checking most of the boxes, and you don’t feel fulfilled, wouldn’t it be exciting to have a position that does? You can control your career by reflecting on your strengths, your interests, and your areas for improvement and using them to find the best fit.
We need to think of this as a reset year. We don’t have to go back to our old normal; we can create a new and even better normal and we can do that through reflection and controlling what we can.