We all have many dimensions to our personality, to our soul, to our lives. According to many models such as the Johari Window. We have sides we don’t even know about. The sides that others see and we don’t see, or even sides that no one ever sees. The blind and the unknown areas. I learned about those sides of me, those areas, during the COVID era March 2020 – March 2021.
I was lucky
Compared to others, I was very “lucky” in my COVID experience. Fortunately, I did not lose any of my close family due to the virus. Many of my friends lost husbands, best friends, lovers, and family. My heart breaks for my good friends who lost loved ones. I try to support them as best as I can.
My COVID experience brought out the worst in me. I am not proud about it, and I would like to share my experience because I don’t want it to happen to you. If you do have an experience like this in your life, maybe my reflections in this story will help you in some way to make it better. That is my wish.
Best Year Ever
January 2020 was going to be my best year ever. I even took a class called, “Make this your best year ever”. Of course, I read all of the material, completed the worksheets, and did all of the exercises. I was ready and I had a great January – February. Then it hit. March 2020 and lock down. I could not work. All of my clients stopped. Just stopped. They did not want to put their in person classes online, they stopped online classes. It seemed like the entire world was afraid. At first, I didn’t get it. I thought we would all just go online and continue leadership trainings. My clients would see that zoom works well and we could still get good discussions and benefits from the classes. That did not happen. My world shut down.
Pivot! That is what I was hearing. Do something different. Figure out how to help my clients a different way. Change direction quickly. Do a 180. However, it seemed that no one wanted my “help”. They were all trying to help themselves deal with something that these generations never had to face before now. I did what I never thought I would do.
I gave up.
Maybe I could wait it out and things would go back to normal soon. Days went by, then weeks, then months. I tried to update my website, write blogs that dealt with how to have a good attitude during COVID. How to be positive. That was my thing. But, I did not feel that way, personally, so I could I really help others? I stopped working and started watching Netflix. Yes, I watched every episode of the Tiger King. Everyone said it was a good show. It was terrible, but I kept watching thinking it would get better. It did not. That was time I would never get back. But, who cared? What was I going to do with my time? I was sad, so watched TV for entertainment. Even the news. It was depressing. I got sadder.
I stopped communicating with my friends. Florida was a new home. There are some really great people in my BNI networking group. They were amazing! I stopped calling my best friends from Virginia. Why would anyone want to hear my woes? Sure, I could have listened to them, but I felt useless. I felt defeated – like a loser.
Journaling helped me deal with my feelings and my situation. I was disappointed in myself for feeling like I felt. For so many years, I was the positive person. Everyone knew that I was the person who helped others get out of these types of funks. Why couldn’t I do what I wanted to do? If I was coaching myself, I would have said, “Let’s go! Just do something different.” Why couldn’t I help myself and why couldn’t I get help?
After much introspection and reflection…
Here is what I would have done differently
Ask for Help
Why was I so proud that couldn’t ask anyone for help? There are so many smart, creative, and accomplished people in my network. I am a coach! I work with coaches! The coaches I know are incredible. Why? Why couldn’t I ask for help?
One of the reasons, I am sure, is because I had created a downward spiral. I had stopped my momentum and was stagnant. I was ashamed that I had become that way. If I had to do it over again, I would have reached out and I know that my friends would have understood. They would have listened, offered suggestions, tapped with me. That is the first thing I would have done differently.
Do one small step
Sometimes goals seem daunting and everything seems overwhelming When this happens, I start procrastinating or have paralysis by analysis. Nothing seems to work to get me to start. To just begin…
I should have done one thing to move me towards my goal. This is what I would have told my friends to do. Goal getting is so important in my life. I just do one small thing to move me a bit closer to my goal.
Be kind to yourself
I was beating myself up for not doing anything. Blaming myself for the depression, the inactivity, for Tiger King. I was ashamed for being the person I said I would never be – inactive and a couch potato.
Why not just be kind to myself and give myself a break? I would have been kind to my best friend, to someone I was coaching, even to my sisters. Why could I not be kind to me?
In retrospect, I would have had a “talk” with myself and journaled about the good things I had done or how creative I’d been in the past.
Create a list of things you do well
One of the documents on my desktop is called “Things I do Well”. This is a list of all of the things that I think I can do pretty well and it are easy for me to do. It always makes me laugh and feel better after reading this document because I make sure to put some funny or crazy things on the list. For example, I can grow plants and don’t kill them (unlike my mother) or I am bright and shiny (this is an inside joke that always makes me laugh).
Create a quick document of things you do well and put it right on your desktop. Be sure to make some of the entries really funny so you can laugh at yourself.
Laughter is the best medicine is not just a quote. It is a fact. When is the last time you really belly laughed? Did you fall down on the ground and roll around? Did snot come out of your nose? Did you laugh-snort?
Some ways to laugh more are to watch funny movies or to watch comedy shows. On cable, there are so many comic channels. Choose a few and laugh and laugh.
So, the next time you want to give up or feel like the sky is falling, do one or more of these quick fixes. Good luck with your journey and keep on Journaling.