We have all been affected on an emotional and/or economic level by the impact of COVID-19. This blog explores how we can maximise our strengths and unlock our potential in this crucial time. Tapping into our inner strengths will enable us to survive this difficult situation and come out of it even stronger than before.
Creating Opportunity in Difficult times
If you’re one of the heroic front-liners in the medical, consumables, pharmaceutical, public service and other essential supply fields, you are probably overwhelmed with demand and riding an emotional roller coaster to deal with the increased risks and pressure that come with the job.
If you’re in one of the many industries which has been negatively hit by the crisis, you might have gone from being close to burnout to the verge of boredom in the span of a few days.
This brings about a long list of issues. These can include low morale, anxiety, isolation, fear of the unknown, uncertainty about the future and a general sense of unhappiness.
These feelings can cloud our mind, making it hard to rekindle our motivation and drive. They compromise our ability to think clearly, logically and constructively, blocking our ability to create opportunity in the time you need it most.
So how do you motivate yourself in this VUCA* situation?
*The VUCA concept originated to describe the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of the world after the Cold War. We now adapt it to relevant situations in business. We like this explanation of VUCA from an HBR article : ‘a catchall for “Hey, it’s crazy out there!’
The Carrot & The Stick Theory
Most of us work to earn a living. If we don’t perform as expected we lose our sustenance. This is the simplest form of extrinsic motivation, when the motivation is “imposed” upon us.
However, the ‘carrot’ can also represent the daily goals we choose to set for ourselves. The “stick” then being our disappointment in not achieving them.
For instance: Your goal today is going to the gym straight after work and getting home by dinnertime. If you work late and miss the slot you feel frustrated and tell yourself that you should have finished earlier. If you go anyway and get home late, you get the stick from your partner or feel guilty about messing up the evening.
We often run towards the “reward” and away from the negative consequence, maintaining the “right” pace within that “sweet spot”.
The problem with this is that we are so focused on the “carrot”, we are busy running at the same pace in the same direction. We rarely deviate from the path, speed up or slow down for fear of getting the “stick” or losing sight of the carrot.
The world as we know it has been turned upside down for the majority of us. This forces us to look at what we’re used to in a different light as it is likely to have changed, or is about to change.
In order to get through this, we need to adapt the way we think. Rather than going for the “carrot” and worrying about the “stick”, a holistic approach will take us further.
The 5am club by Robin Sharma, starts by telling a story of a successful entrepreneur at her lowest point: She is on the verge of losing her business and her life is being threatened. She is so overwhelmed by fear that she lost all hope and is just waiting for the means to an end.
Until she attends a personal development event, where the speaker touches a cord and inspires her to at least attempt to regain control of her life. She leaves her daily life behind and joins the strangers she just met on a journey of self-transformation which I will run through hereunder.
Self-Transformation towards Mastery
One conversation in the book on self-transformation discusses the 4 Focuses of History-Makers. This is a great foundation to adopt, and one that we can all include in our daily routine by focussing on the following:
1. Capitalisation IQ
Materialising the gifts you were born with or as we prefer to call it, unlocking your potential.
Genius does not happen overnight, it requires continuous development.
- Create time for yourself to think and reflect, every day – Listening to yourself is the only way you will really understand your strengths, and discover how to maximise them.
- Believe in yourself – Prepare yourself for failure and rejection, as they usually come before succeeding. Be resilient and and apply the lessons from each one.
2. Freedom from Distraction
Our mind is constantly clouded with distractions interrupting our flow.
The biggest productivity killer is attributed to tech gadgets with constant notifications going off. Even when we control the we feel the “need” to check them for regular updates especially during troubled times. Social distancing has shifted all social contact online and kept kids at home so we have yet more “interruptions”
- Allocate a distraction-free time slot free from tech (and kids or anything else) – Early morning when most of your world still sleeps and your mind is still fresh is the ideal time for this. Alternatively late night once you’ve winded down from the busy-ness of the day.
3. Personal mastery practice
A growth mindset, a positive heart, a healthy body and an open soul are the pillars that will enable us to be strong and reach higher.
Developing our growth mindset enables us to see beyond the challenge presented. This opens the “door” to come up with ways to create new opportunities with the tools we already have.
Imagine you are in top health form: you eat well (high in plants, low in fats), exercise regularly, don’t smoke and control alcohol.
Research from a BMJ study in 2018 shows that you are likely to extend your disease-free life expectancy after age 50 by about 10 years (if you are a woman) and 8 years (if you are a man). Exercise also sends happy chemicals to your brain and boosts productivity.
Do you really need any more reasons to get your health in check?
- Heart & Soul
Keeping our spirit strong is a fundamental key in self-mastery. We need to check-in regularly with ourselves, process our thoughts and feelings and let go of what we cannot control. If we allow the surroundings to bring us down, it will limit our ability to do anything positive.
If you improve yourself daily by 1% you would have elevated your life by 365% at the end of the year without too much effort!
- There are 96 X 15 minute slots in a day you can pick from to enhance your learning in a particular area: For instance, you can read a 10-minute tech article daily. This will enable you to make smarter choices when selecting tools for professional or personal use, instantly increasing your efficiency.
Build your own path
Back to the story of the entrepreneur: Our main character practices the 4 Focuses of History-Makers. As she absorbs the teachings towards self transformation, she finds new energy and motivation within her. This helps her succeed in keeping her business and putting an end to the death threats.
Like the entrepreneur, who only found the solution after re-building her foundations and connecting to her inner self. Investing in ourselves during this “low” point, is our ticket out.
I will conclude with this quote by the South Indian author Ashok Kallarakkal, fondly remembered for his quirkiness and innovative thinking:
“If you do not see light at the end of the tunnel, consider it an opportunity to create an opening yourself, wherever you want”Ashok Kallarakkal
We are currently offering a free 30-minute consultation. This can assist you in digging into your inner strengths and finding your motivation to create new opportunities for yourself. To book your no-strings, free session click here or email [email protected]