As I mentioned in my last blog post I caught myself in the act of over-functioning. This was in response to the changes that COVID had brought and was my vain attempt to regain some control. This being busy approach left me feeling flat and burnt out last month, and I know I have to make some significant changes if I want to reconnect to a better version of myself and get ready for what will come next. I believe that what COVID has started will become a period of intense change, growth, and innovation.
I don’t say this to drive a sense of fear into your hearts. I say this because it is an opportunity for us all to start thinking about what opportunities might come our way. After all, the conversations that have been ignited around, leadership, connection, creativity, flexible working, well-being, and mental health are finally at the forefront of our minds and our businesses’ minds. I think positive change is going to accelerate in these spaces, but how do we get ready to jump on board?
It starts with intention
I am not in the camp who think: ‘Let’s just write off 2020.’ I am in the camp who believe: ‘What could the rest of this year hold?’ Perhaps new beginnings, transformation, or much-needed change…which way are you looking at it?
For me, this starts with setting an intention. In my case, my intention over this time is, to reconnect with my unique strengths and clarify my purpose with the aim of ‘re-fuelling’ my internal energy tank. This to me seems like the best place to start as I know there are going to be leaders and their teams that need fresh inspiration and insight to create the changes that are demanded of them now and into the future.
Have you thought about what your intention for the rest of the year might be?
With this in mind, I wanted to ask myself a few questions that might hold the key to me moving forward in a totally different way:
What if I gave myself permission to fully re-calibrate my business expectations and plan for the year?
What if I slow right down, stop being so busy, what would change?
What if I re-engineer my personal wellbeing plan to focus on firing back up my creative energy?
You’ll notice I’m using the ultimate creative question here: ‘What if?’ I realised there are a few routines and things I’ve been holding onto that are not going to get me where I want to go. I need to challenge them! What are some of the ‘what if…?’ questions you may need to ask yourself?
What have you been holding onto that you could release or re-engineer? What if you could let this go?
Now, I’m normally a very structured person and I love to put a good plan into action, but I realised, only now when writing this to you, that there hasn’t been a point when I have sat down and authored a plan to set this intention into motion. In fact, what I have actually done is to be very ‘UN-planned’.
What do I mean by UN-planning?
I have allowed things to unfold as opportunities came my way or ideas sparked in my mind, but all I have really done is to give myself permission to go where I want to and to slow things WAAAYYY DOOOWWWN so that I could tune back into doing things because they feel good and energising.
Here are some of the things I have been doing:
- Deepak Chopra’s 21-day meditation challenge around abundance
- Re-connected with my mentor community led by amazing trainer Alice Haemmerle with a bunch of other dear friends and businesswomen re-learning some classic NLP goodness
- Classpass ‘on-demand’ – I’m doing a yoga or strength training (30 min) class every day
- Saying yes to interesting webinars and online workshops – I’m up to around 2 per week
- Making ‘check-in’ calls with people I have not spoken to since COVID hit
- ‘Relaxed outcome’ days – less about ticking things off the ‘to-do-list’ more about ‘being’ which for me looks like reflecting on the business, my purpose, reading on topics I love
Now, I appreciate, that many of you may be looking at this list and going: ‘Man, come on! I don’t have time for this’ (especially if you have been homeschooling). But, maybe, there is this sweet spot of time as the kids go back to school and when most of us still don’t have to commute, that we could plan to UN-plan?
Are you game?
Some questions to ask yourself:
- What would this look, sound, or feel like in your world?
- Who could you connect or re-connect with?
- Which communities do you want to tune in to?
- What do you long to study again?
- What might support your wellbeing even more?
- What might you need to give yourself permission for?
And as you ponder some of these questions, perhaps notice right now what opportunities are under your nose.
Or, what opportunities you could say ‘yes’ to in the next week that might nourish you or feel like something out of the ordinary that would feel good to you.
If you need some convincing of my approach, here are some of the results I’ve noticed so far:
- I can feel my energy levels returning
- My mind is quieter and more focused
- My mindset has shifted to be more open and new ideas are sprouting again
- Clarity is re-forming around my true purpose
- I’m feeling more decisive and I’m taking some actions in the direction of my future both in a life and business sense (more on that to come)
I feel infinitely more optimistic about what’s to come and frankly, I’m loving this UN-planning business! As Fabienne Fredrickson says;
“When you have clarity of intention, the universe conspires with you to make it happen”
Before I get too ‘flowers and rainbows’! I also want to point out that, operating in this way may feel unfamiliar, perhaps unmotivating. I have also had some guilt pop in for not striving and running at my usual place. It might feel different to you and that’s perfectly OK. As Alice Haemmerle has taught me, you have to take some different actions if you want to create some new outcomes…
So, in closing, my wish for you is that you give yourself permission to find a little more space and time to nurture and reconnect with yourself. Think about your ideas, your creativity, your wellbeing, your relationships, who you want to be as a leader, whatever you need… And who knows, you may just see the shoots of some new ideas coming into being that could just mean that this COVID situation was not in vain…
To your health and happiness,
Founder & Head Coach, CLARETY