COVID -19

The Crisis!

A worldwide phenomenon towards introspection.

We cannot stop this virus because science does not have the weapons to fight it. It is novel – we are in completely uncharted waters.

The uncertainty of the unknown, the absolute helplessness, combined with the health risks and the added risk to life create the conditions for the perfect storm. We feel it swelling up inside of each one of us and around us.  Building momentum and gathering speed especially via well-meaning social media. Thankfully it is not as deadly a virus as we have seen in the past, but it is more contagious than we are accustomed to. If science cannot help us and if this is bigger and faster than we are, what do we do? What can we hold on to? What have we left to manage ourselves and our loved ones? 

According to all the “scientific” advice we are left with our own immediate spaces, our very own thoughts and beliefs. Cliché after cliché pops into my mind.

As above so below

Every little bit count

The mountain is conquered one step at the time

How to eat an elephant…

I have no power over others

One Day at a time

… And so on.

All of these are true yet when faced with this truly global threat like COVID-19 it seems all too simplistic. There is a possible permanent change ahead. We have no way of knowing if our norms will stay the same. And all we have left is to sit with ourselves in self-isolation, forced quarantine or in simple contemplation about these times we live in.

The changes we can make seem minute yet every institution in the world is asking us to do these very simple and basic, seemingly unimportant things.

Wash our hands!

Be conscious of what we touch and who we have been in contact with.

Be kind to others and think for the greater good.

Governments, The World Health Organisation, science, medicine, the pharma industry EVERYONE who we have put our trust in for so long is telling us the same thing.  “Manage this crisis on a MICRO- LEVEL.”

“What I do today in my home in my environment WILL make a difference.” That is what they are saying. They are in fact telling us to go back to basics and focus on the space we occupy right now.

So, what about my environment my thoughts and my beliefs?  We have been running in circles cutting our time short because we are obsessing about social media posts, work, finances and what the people on the other side of the planet feel is good, pretty and appropriate. 

This global crisis is indeed an opportunity. An opportunity to self-isolate on a completely new level. A chance to do some introspection about life here and now.  I challenge everyone to take this opportunity and for us to look at our own values, beliefs and environment. We no longer can travel and run away from our own environment. We can no longer flood our senses with distractions because everything is closed.  We are forced to use our waking hours to be truly present in the now.  This crisis is an opportunity to engage in a global prayer session. Turning our thoughts towards ourselves and that which we believe in.  Ultimately this is all that we ever had, we just thought that there was more, but when it comes down to the essence of a life worth living this is what we have.

The only way that we now can be pulled away from ourselves is by sending, reading, posting creating social media posts that promote anxiety and hysteria. No doubt, many of these posts are well-meaning. I too am guilty of exactly this overloading of information.

Know that fear-based posts are like COVID-19 infected door handles. A festering point of ill health. Make sure you clean your devices regularly, be aware of what you read and hear. Encourage the spread of positive interactions. Protect your thoughts and your beliefs from the infestation of the very contagious negativity. Consider the greater good and stop the spread of fear.

Crisis, a chance to change!

I have no doubt that this too shall pass, and we will find new norms. We will look back and remember a time before COVID-19 like we remember the world before 911. There will be many changes, we will get used to them and learn to live life with those changes. Eventually, we will go on and happily do life.

I ask you – what would YOU like to take from this crisis. What change would you like to make in your environment, in your beliefs and in your thoughts that can honour this crisis – this profound, novel and global crisis of biblical proportions?  

What can You do differently to change this world?

What is Your belief?

Do your thoughts haunt you or do they encourage you?

Behaviour is an expression of our deepest thoughts and beliefs. Behaviour changes when we allow our brain to consider new ways to be. The brain can only consider new ways of being if we change our minds about what we truly deeply believe.

More clichés bubble up:

Be the change you want to see| Are you part of the solution or part of the problem| Lead from the front| practice what you preach| Be the change…and so on

Stay safe, Stay healthy Stay positive as you turn inwardly to change the world one step at a time.

A Question of Trust

By Leigh Johnson – Affiliate Parenting Coach at The Family Counselling Centre

At a recent presentation I gave at The Friday Network to practitioners in the Learning and Development field, I was reminded of how fundamental self awareness and growth is in order for us to impact others. No matter what roles we perform in life, there is an essential need to start growth and change with ourselves first. We often look to the systems we are a part of – families, organisations, communities, nations – and bemoan the problems we see there, when the place we really need to start with is: me! The conversation emanating from my presentation on Trust highlighted this powerfully.

My presentation was called ‘The Business of Trust’ and focused on the importance of, and skills needed in, developing trust in the workplace. What struck me was that, although my audience were there in their professional capacity and came from the perspective of how best to support their clients in organisations to improve relationships, the key learning almost without exception was around two things:

  • Our own trustworthiness – can people trust us?
  • Our ability to trust ourselves – how often are we breaking promises to ourselves, thereby breaking our trust of ourselves?

I found it very interesting that, even in this professional context, the importance of self-development and mastery stood out.

The first of these learnings – trustworthiness – considers the fact that a core component of trust in a relationship is our own trustworthiness. By being trustworthy, reliable and operating with integrity, we automatically invite this behaviour in others. It is ultimately their choice to act in the same way or destroy the trust. What is often the most difficult part of behaving in a trustworthy manner is that it requires us to know ourselves deeply, and be true to ourselves with courage and authenticity – which often goes against the grain of what we want to do. How many times do we fail to speak up when we don’t agree with what is being said, or try to fit into a group just to be liked?

The second one, our trust of ourselves, is an interesting one. I often use the work of Vanessa Hall, an expert on the subject of trust, when working with this topic. Hall has created a model that depicts trust as being the interplay between Expectations, Needs and Promises*. When one of these is compromised, trust is destroyed. She challenges with the question: “How often do I break promises to myself?” Every time we do, we erode our trust in ourselves a little bit more, and this results in increasingly poor self-esteem, and increasingly untrustworthy behaviour.

“I don’t break promises to myself”, you say? Or “I’m the only person I can trust”? Well, I thought this too, until Hall illustrated just how often we break little promises to ourselves: “I’m going to lose weight”; “On this project, I am going to delegate more”, “I will spend more time reading to my son”, “When I’m next in an argument, I’m going to bite my tongue and listen before I speak”, ‘I’m going to go to the gym this weekend” or “I will visit him tonight”…. Each of these is a promise. And we break promises like these all the time.

An uncomfortable truth that came up in our discussions at the Network was that most of us are not aware of our own trustworthiness or our ability to trust ourselves, even though it is crucial in all our relationships. Personally, I’ve been reflecting on the fact that all of the challenges I am working through with my coaching clients, are linked in some way to this need for self awareness – and I suspect that in many there is a strong link to trust itself.

We can reflect on Mahatma Ghandi’s famous words: ‘Be the change you wish to see in this world’. I don’t know about you, but I would love to see a more trusting and trustworthy society than the one we’ve got at the moment. And the hard work starts with me…

 

*Read Vanessa Hall’s book: The Truth About Trust in Business; Emerald Book Co.; 2009.

Visit: www.leighjohnson.co.za