It has been interesting chatting with people over the last few weeks about how they really didn’t like the idea of working from home when we went into lockdown and now they don’t want to go back into the office – they prefer to work from home! The human psyche is very interesting, isn’t it? Initially when things change we push back against it, it causes stress, worry and concern. This is perfectly natural because, believe it or not, we’re designed like that. Our brains create ‘maps’ or schemas to help us navigate through life and when everything aligns with those maps we feel a sense of comfort, a sense of psychological certainty.
However, when something doesn’t line up with our maps it gives us a feeling of unease. It catches our attention and, rather than effortlessly changing our maps to suit those changes, we push against it for a while; we enter into a state of denial. Denial is one of those defence mechanisms for dealing with the sense of discomfort we feel when faced with unexpected change. Gradually we move toward acceptance and that then becomes our new map so that, for example, we’re now much more comfortable working from home. So why is this a problem and what can we learn about ourselves from the COVID-19 experience?
One thing that is really apparent is that we, human beings, are not in control. Life is. And life is a variable event. It’s going to continue to throw things at us out of the blue, it’s going to continue to upset our plans, it’s going to continue to challenge us in ways we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies! So what’s the solution? How can we best prepare ourselves for what life throws at us? The answer lies in our life choices. We can choose to step out of our comfort zone even when we don’t need to. This way we build up greater resilience, we develop more skills, we create a degree of discomfort when ‘it’s comfortable to do so’… when we have a safety net to fall into. This greater resilience and these additional skills make us more prepared for what might come our way. Evolution has always taught us the organism that is the most flexible in a given environment is the one that is going to come out on top.
So what does this mean for you? What skills can you develop to withstand the effects of a redundancy, for example? Could you continue your education in a field that will open up new opportunities for you in the future? What scares you? Perhaps it’s public speaking or networking? What is it for you? How can you build your skill base? How can you develop more resilience against the whims of life?
If you’d like to know more about how to achieve more in life or business, or if you’d like to explore how coaching can help you become a better leader (of others or yourself!), or even if you’re just generally curious about what professional coaching can offer you, please contact us at any time for a free consultation.
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