What Can the Pandemic Teach Us?
When I walk into any workplace that I have the opportunity to serve, I am finely tuned to see patterns that stress and overwhelm—and get in the way of people doing their jobs effectively and efficiently.
Before the pandemic, my coaching work was a bit different; there were more notable differences between personal stress patterns and work stress patterns. However, after spending two years in the pandemic space as a coach, I see people living in these stressful mindsets full-time. In fact, we have almost normalized the “it is, what it is” attitude. This means people are running the risk of burnout, isolation, and what will lead to high turnover rates—if they are not already present.
I believe that the pandemic can teach us many things. I find that a lot of my work is helping people see what has changed within themselves since the pandemic began. If we don’t know what has changed within us, we will not know how to pull ourselves back on track and create a new future.
Here are 3 things that the pandemic can teach us:
Empathy – We are all relearning that we are human and that each of us has our breaking points. I will say that this painful pandemic time has brought out the best and worst in all of us. I am an avid learner, which means that I believe that all things that happen in life can be used for a purpose. As each of us breaks through what we thought we could handle, we often become gentler on those around us. We slide into empathy. According to Brene Brown:
“Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’”
Empathy is achieved as we lessen the need to be “right” and we try to provide a more peaceful space for another person to process their human experience. That is why empathy is a tool that is used in every coaching session—and a skill that leaders can learn, too. Empathy is one of the fastest ways to build trust.
Patience—The pandemic is making us more receptive to a patient mindset. We live in a culture that has a hard time waiting for things. I have traveled many places in the world, and the US is one of the least patient cultures I have ever seen. Yet, the pandemic has made us slow down and re-evaluate our priorities, both professionally and personally. At times, it has made us rest more, cry more and be more uncomfortable. These are big changes! In a strange way, it’s teaching us the skill of patience—with ourselves and others. We might not like the process, but it is changing us. Furthermore, learning new ways to handle what is happening is extremely helpful for businesses.
Connection—The last big take away I am seeing in people from the pandemic is learning how we all need more connection. We are learning that even though we are having to change the ways in which we see people, we still need that interaction and to maintain those links. We have realized that we need to connect with each other, not only as a means of “getting things done,” but also to build friendships and spaces for creative collaboration. Part of being human is the desire to be heard and seen. The pandemic has reminded us of the important role the fulfillment of this desire plays in our satisfaction and growth.
As we are entering another season of the pandemic, I have found this to be a good time to start the recovery process for businesses and organizations alike. Together, through the coaching process, we can understand what has changed and what we have learned—so that we can each (as leaders, teams, and individuals) start fresh and build our redefined work “space” and handle the new challenges that come our way. Please reach out today for a consultation, so we can deliver a fresh start and a way forward.