Designing Our New Normal

Normally, this would be the season of renewal – at least here in the northern hemisphere. In the past, expectations of new beginnings have been as vibrant as the daffodils and camellias that are still blooming in gardens despite stay-at-home orders. In today’s current atmosphere, these setbacks can seem overwhelming. Most of us, in our lifetimes, have not experienced this new reality in which we find ourselves. Today, let’s talk about how to begin to bounce back.

When adversity strikes, whether it be loss of your job, an illness, a natural disaster or when you take a big hit that really knocks you off your feet for a while, how fast you get up again depends on a number of things. Consider how good your support network is; how solid your self-esteem is; the extent to which you believe that you can control your own destiny, and your experiences at overcoming adversity in the past.

If you want to shorten the time it takes to get back on your feet, try this: Ask yourself how it will look when you no longer have your current problems. What would your design for this “new normal” look like? Spend time visualizing yourself in that picture and imagining how you will feel. Do it over and over, day after day, week after week. While you are at it, list your strengths and past accomplishments and add to this list on a daily basis.

At the same time, set and prioritize some immediate, short-term goals to improve your situation. Write a detailed plan of action for the top three, including day and time. (By the way, this works as well for organizations, departments and teams as it does for individuals.) Help those close to you to do the same, for these times have affected nearly everyone. We are definitely stronger when we work together.

Once you have accomplished a few short-term goals, you may feel ready to do some long-term visioning and goal-setting. Getting a few wins under you certainly provides a stronger foundation from which to move forward into conquering bigger challenges.

Finally – and this is very important – no matter how much you have lost, take time to help someone else who is struggling. Even the worst adversity can be used to learn and grow.